Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region in south China has made remarkable progress in compulsory education since its establishment over the past six decades, especially since the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC).
Guangxi has regarded education as its top priority by making increased investments. Against this backdrop, education has become a strong driving force for the development of the region.
So far, its gross enrolment rate in preschool education has reached 82.7 percent, compulsory education 94 percent, high school education 88.5 percent and higher education 35.9 percent. The average years of schooling of labor force in Guangxi have reached 13.3 years.
The following are the historical achievements made in compulsory education under the leadership of the Party committee and government of Guangxi.
At a primary school in Yancun, a remote mountainous village in Guangxi, children have access to a new teaching building and sports field.
"The children also take lessons in music, drawing, computer and experiments and learn with the help of whiteboards and LCD TVs, which was beyond our imaginations," said the school's principal.
This case is an epitome of the progress made by Guangxi, which has given its highest investment to education in spite of its weak economic foundation. In 2016, Guangxi was ranked 13th and 3rd respectively in China for its total investment in education and ratio of its public education budget to its total expenditure.
In 2018 alone, the acreage of new school buildings constructed in Guangxi surpassed that of the total from 2006 to 2015 combined. This means that the gap between rural and urban areas has been narrowed to ensure that each student has an access to high-quality compulsory education.
Ya Maoquan, a teacher from Dongli Primary School in the county of Binyang, capital city of Nanning, has witnessed the changes in his work unit over the past 20 years.
"We used to teach students in an idle work camp, but the school took on an entirely new look in 2009 when new teaching buildings, basketball court and sports field were built one after another, along with a 50-meter-long poetry corridor and a 50-meter-long Chinese classical culture corridor," said Ya.
From 2009 to 2011, Guangxi launched a project to demolish school buildings that could pose a danger to the students. It then set about improving the basic conditions in schools offering compulsory education in impoverished areas. In 2012, it set its sights on promoting balanced development in compulsory education. Thanks to these efforts, the conditions of primary and secondary schools in rural areas have made substantial improvements.
Since 2014, Guangxi has raised more than 100 billion yuan to build over 1,000 schools, which have offered education to over 940,000 children of school age. Rural students who board also have standard dormitories to live in.
High-quality Education, Healthy Diets
Guangxi has made continuous efforts to offer quality education to each student.
In the spring semester of 2006, over 6,310,000 rural students were exempted from tuition and fees. Of them, 1,310,000 students received free textbooks and 230,000 boarding students from impoverished families were granted living subsidies.
Starting from the spring semester of 2017, some 580,000 urban students at compulsory education stage were also exempted from tuition and fees.
Besides bringing students benefits in education, educational authorities also attached great importance to students' healthy diets.
Since 2011, Guangxi has made strenuous efforts to ensure that each pupil in boarding schools from its impoverished areas has a healthy diet. Now, students can eat meat at each meal in the school canteens in mountainous areas.
Over the past seven years, the nutrition improvement program has benefited 1,700,000 students from 8,064 schools in 63 counties of Guangxi. The malnutrition rate dropped from 29.4 percent in 2013 to 20.7 percent in 2017.
As one of the major poverty regions, Guangxi has shaken off poverty through education. It has invested 30 million yuan to improve school conditions in poverty-stricken areas to improve students' living and education status.
In 2003, Guangxi thoroughly implemented a modern distance education project in rural primary and secondary schools.
In 2013, Liuzhou, a city in Guangxi, adopted four new models of running schools, which greatly enhanced the education in low-performing schools.
In 2014, Guangxi launched a pilot program to explore school district management models to better promote the development of compulsory education.
Through this program, it expected to allocate education resources and teachers to the primary and secondary schools in each school district in a balanced way and narrow the gap between the schools, which was good for the balanced development of compulsory education in the region.
In pushing forward the reform of school district management, Guangxi has invested 37.4 billion yuan in promoting the standardization of compulsory education, and as part of the efforts, some 487 new schools are built, and over 10,000 schools are renovated or expanded.
So far, some 94 counties in Guangxi have passed the region's assessment on balanced education development and 51 counties have passed the assessment made by the state.
(Source: Guangming Online/Translated and edited by Women of China)