Students given help to stay in school longer

By Yuan Shenggao (China Daily)

Updated: 2020-12-11


Chang Mingchang (center), a professor from Shanxi Agricultural University, teaches farmers in Linxian county how to grow edible fungi. [Photo by Jia Lijun for China Daily]

Education is the fundamental solution to poverty alleviation. That idea is a consensus reached by education officials, teachers and students in Shanxi province.

To make sure students are educated, teachers and officials will not allow any student to drop out of school.

At the No 4 Middle School in Shouyang county, teachers and school officials noticed that one student, Du Wenhui, had not attended for several days after the new semester began in September.

They realized something had happened with her. So they drove to Baiyun, Du's home village some 40 kilometers away.

During their visit, the teachers were told that Du is from an impoverished family, which cannot afford to support the schooling of its two children.

In Shouyang, as well as the rest of the country, tuition is free. However, students need to pay for their meals, lodging, extracurricular books and commute.

They were told that Du offered to work so that her younger sister could continue her education.

The school's management held a meeting to discuss assistance to Du. The school and the local government later offered a tailored financial support program for Du and she soon returned to school.

In Zuoquan county, a student called Cao Ruyue was faced with a dilemma similar to Du's. She was enrolled at Zuoquan Middle School in 2017 but decided to give up because her family could not financially support her education.

Once local poverty relief officials learned about her situation, they offered Cao financial assistance to support her three-year high school expenditure.

With the help of the government, Cao entered Shanxi University of Finance and Economics this summer.

In Shanxi as a whole, the province has mapped out multiple measures to help impoverished students continue their education.

For instance, there is a provincial education loan program to help students in all its 117 counties, cities and districts to pursue their education from preschool to postgraduate study.

Between 2016 and 2019, the province granted a total of 9.5 billion yuan ($1.46 billion) in loans to nearly 1.5 million students.

In Shanxi, education-related poverty-relief measures are not limited to school education.

Local universities and vocational schools in the province are using their resources in professionals and technology to help rural residents get out of poverty.

Shanxi Agricultural University, for instance, recently signed an agreement with Lyuliang city to help local farmers modernize agriculture.

In Lyuliang's Linxian county, SAU professor Gao Peifang recently launched a recycled economy park. Featuring integral operation of farming, orchards and animal husbandry, the project is expected to add an average annual income of 1,000 yuan to each farmer involved.

Li Yali contributed to this story.