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Liaoning village aims to break cycle of poverty

Reporter: Guan Yang 丨 CCTV.com

11-30-2016 12:47 BJT

China still has millions of poor and illiterate people, and most live in rural areas. In a remote village in northeastern Liaoning province, better education can help break the poverty cycle.

In ancient China, education was the only way out of poverty; in recent times, it has been the best way. Zhang Baozhong has been teaching in the small village for nearly 30 years. He knows the wide gap between rural and urban education.

“Before the renovation, in the long and cold winter, the classroom was often so full of thick smoke from the heating stove, the students could not see what I wrote on the board,” Zhang said.

Such conditions are what most rural students here have to cope with until the school received help from the poverty alleviation fund.

In China, rural children in remote villages often go to school in deteriorating buildings where materials are poor and education is substandard. So when competing with their urban counterparts academically, rural students stand almost no chance.

Families that live in extreme poverty often see school as an impossible cost, which is what creates a cycle: poor people who grow up without education are less likely to send their own children to school. What is worse, uneducated parents usually struggle with tutoring their children after school.

“Parents from rural villages tend to have high hopes for their children’s studies. But they can’t help much with after-school tutoring, so we need to fill this gap,” said Cai Wenzhu, volunteer teacher from Tukouzi village of Liaoning province.

Thanks to the poverty relief fund, the school now has all the equipment and materials that urban schools have. But the problem of maintaining better educational resources, like qualified teachers, still exists.

“When we sent our teachers away for training, the school would not have enough teachers while they were gone. It’s an issue for us. We want our teachers to be more qualified through training, but at the same time, we need more volunteers to cover the teaching while they are away,” said Zhu Xu, school principal of Tukouzi village of Liaoning province.

Over the past 30 years, China’s government-funded nine-year compulsory education has helped millions who tried to climb out of poverty. But as the gap between rural and urban education widens, more support might be needed to bridge it.

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