A public education program for children in remote rural areas of China is set to bring about change in 90,000 rural schools.
In Qingcheng County, Gansu Province, China, there were no English, art, or music classes in primary schools. That all changed five years ago when the program was launched that brings these classes through broadcasts to local children as well as online training for local teachers.
The program, which was launched by the Shanghai-based non-profit foundation U-light with support from government agencies, companies and organizations, began 10 years ago. The relevant internet-related facilities are marketed by the foundation.
“English, art, and music classes were rare at elementary schools in villages in remote areas of China,” said Lu Zhifeng, former deputy director of the Qingcheng County Education Bureau.
“As part of the program, the children in the villages come into contact with the classes at the same time as those in the cities. An online training course on psychological education was carried out for local teachers.”
The program has now covered all elementary schools in the county, and the model has been introduced in Jingyuan County, Gansu, Daozhen County, Guizhou, Xiangxi Village, Jiangxi, and Xiaoyan City, Hubei.
In total, the program was introduced in 16 provinces, from which more than 40,000 students and more than 1,000 teachers have benefited so far.
It has more than 300 volunteer teachers including Jiang Haining.
Jiang applied to volunteer in 2015.
“I have a strong sense of fulfillment as my students have been enrolled in the best local middle schools and, upon my encouragement, my family and friends have also taken the charity class,” she said.
“I have a deep bond with these children,” she added. In addition to online courses, she also attended them.
The Shanghai Hanting Public Welfare Foundation has financially supported 31 elementary schools since 2016 and joined the program.
“Short-term volunteer teachers at village schools are not a good choice, as teachers change frequently and the children on site are only taught sporadically,” said He Bingying, director general of the foundation.
“This program, which can be a standard and long-term program, introduces good teacher and class resources to rural areas through technology.”
The program aims to promote the rural education system, publish an internet education standard for rural areas and, as the ultimate goal, achieve equivalent and high quality education for 90,000 elementary schools in China’s rural area.