Village in Ningxia benefits from national education poverty alleviation policy
By the year 2020, China has set itself the ambitious plan of lifting some 40 million people out of poverty.
Helping children in poor areas to receive high-quality education has been highlighted especially by Chinese President Xi Jinping.
Ma'erzhuang Primary School in the Ma'erzhuang village of Northwest China's Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region. [Photo: China Plus]
The Primary School in Ma'erzhuang village in Northwest China's Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region was established in 1962 and is typical of many schools now seeing tangible benefits.
"When I was a student, the school buildings were all squat houses made of clay. But now the school buildings are shockproof, which can withstand a magnitude 8 earthquake. And their frames are just like the storied houses," says headmaster Yan Junsen, who's been at the school for the past 11 years.
As a result of preferential policies, students can now enjoy a more colorful campus life, with classroom facilities, including a computer room, music art room, reading room, and an artificial running track, with improvements every year.
"Now the government offers the three-free policy to the students, this means the government pays for the textbooks, accommodation, along with partial tuition and fees for the students. Thanks to this policy, students can also receive cost-of-living grants, transport subsidies, and free lunches. This is really a policy that benefits people," Yan says.
Students taking a Chinese class at the Ma'erzhuang Primary School in the Ma'erzhuang village of Northwest China's Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region. [Photo: China Plus]
As the local economy improves, so more and more young people are choosing to return to their hometown, and engage in a variety of activities such as production and management.
"After I graduated, the school here was just hiring teachers, so I came here. I really like kids and can get along with them, that's the reason I decided to become a teacher," says Yang Xiaofang, who teaches at Ma'erzhuang Primary School.
But, Feng Lizhen, the head of Ma'erzhuang village points out, the lack of pre-school classes and kindergartens, is the main reason why the school has very few student numbers.
"Better off villagers prefer to buy houses in the city. After their kids receive their pre-school education there, very few of them want to send them back to primary schools in the village. Actually, now our primary school teachers are very dedicated. In recent years, with government investment, our school has a very good quality of teaching and is safe."
Students at the Ma'erzhuang Primary School in the Ma'erzhuang village of Northwest China's Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region. [Photo: China Plus]
Last month, Ningxia Education Department officially introduced an action program, supporting the construction of kindergartens in poverty-stricken areas.
As of 2020, there will be 15,000 new places for kindergartens in the poor villages across the region.