"Mini-schools" build foundation for China's rural students

NANCHANG, June 1 (Xinhua) -- While urban students attend fancy parties in big school halls to celebrate Children's Day, observed on June 1 in China, their peers in rural schools may not even have a playground to run around on.

Fengxin rural school, located in Baishui village in east China's Jiangxi Province, features only a classroom, an activity room, a teacher's office and a small grassy playground.

The school has 33 students, including 24 pre-school children and nine first grade students. Fifty-one-year-old Wu Xiaoping is the only teacher in the school.

The students all sit in one classroom, with pre-schoolers on the left side and others on the right. When Wu gives lessons to one side, students on the other side do their homework.

Schools like Fengxin are common in China's vast rural areas. They are tiny, usually with one teacher and a dozen or so students, and sometimes just one teacher and one student. They are incomplete, having only one or two grades, and the facilities are poor.

But these mini-schools have proven to be very important in rural areas.

In the early 2000s, China's educational authorities advocated the merger of schools like Fengxin in rural areas to concentrate educational resources and improve study conditions.

But the mergers made students' journeys to school longer and more expensive, resulting in an obvious drop in the number of students.

Statistics show the number of rural primary schools decreased by 52 percent from 2000 to 2010 and the number of students in the countryside dropped by 27.8 percent.

The dropout rate of rural pupils rose to 8.8 out of 1000 in 2011, almost the same level as in 1997.

The policy was called off in 2012 and mini-schools like Fengxin have recovered in many places so that young children can enroll in schools near their homes.

In these mini-schools, rural children get their first taste of knowledge, and teachers are devoted despite poor conditions.

- Read More: news.xinhuanet.com


Post a Comment

Grace A Comment!