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        What is the school, college and institution calendar?

The academic year in China normally begins on September 1 of each year. In the case of some private schools, the academic year will begin earlier. The length of the first semester varies because the Lunar Calendar governs the year. The long winter break can occur anywhere from mid-January on into mid-February depending on the dates of the Chinese Lunar New Year/Spring Festival. Normally, institutions end their semester 2 weeks prior to Spring Festival eve and resume for the second semester 2 weeks following Spring Festival day. Length of the second semester is adjusted accordingly; most institutions end between July 1 and July 15 with some ending sooner. Note that it is often difficult to learn exact beginning and ending dates to semesters in an academic year. They simply are not public knowledge until the time approaches.

Length of contract depends on the teacher and can be for one semester or for two semesters…or longer. Many schools have summer programs and wish the foreign teacher to stay for those. The norm, however, is for a ten-month contract that is flexible to the dates as described above. Further note that although a contract may state that the teacher will be paid by the month for the contract length, some institutions will pro-rate the salary according to the days taught if the semester ends early. This is a detail that should be clarified prior to signing a contract so there are no surprises.

A ten-month contract will allow for various paid holidays, including October 1-8 (National Day Holiday), May 1-8 (Labor Day Holiday); approximately 4 weeks during the Winter Spring Festival Holiday; approximately 4 weeks during the summer holiday if a teacher is continuing on at a school for the following academic semester/year.  Most institutions will pay the salary for the long winter or summer break, although some will pro-rate the salary or not pay for those times. This should be clarified prior to signing any contract. Technically, the foreign teacher should be paid for the contracted dates, including holidays; beginning date to ending date as stated on the contract.

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