Online education

Online education brings teachers to rural China

A student writes in a notebook. / CFP

A student writes in a notebook. / CFP

In its mission to eradicate extreme poverty, China has identified education as a key strategy. The idea was that improving educational attainment, especially in rural areas, would ensure that future generations did not fall into the same poverty traps as their parents.

However, even after the end of absolute poverty has been declared, there remains a disparity between urban and rural education. Many people believe that online learning is one way to bridge the gap. But is distance education really the answer? Can it make a real difference in preparing students for exams and give them more opportunities in life?

According to government statistics, 99% of China’s rural areas had access to the internet by the end of 2020. This greater connectivity, another element of the war on poverty, means better business opportunities for people living in the areas. rural. It also provides a link to better educational resources.

Eleven-year-old Dolma lives in Nangqian County, Qinghai Province, northwest China. / CGTN

Eleven-year-old Dolma lives in Nangqian County, Qinghai Province, northwest China. / CGTN

11-year-old Dolma and her family live in a small village in Nangqian County, northwest China’s Qinghai Province. They have been raising yaks on the set for generations, and Dolma has been helping them since she was seven. Like many girls her age, she dreams of becoming a famous singer or actress.

A small village in Nangqian County, northwest China’s Qinghai Province. / CGTN

A small village in Nangqian County, northwest China’s Qinghai Province. / CGTN

But village life remains firmly rooted in the past. Shepherds make up the majority of the population, living in houses still heated by the burning of yak manure and charcoal. Until recently, many children did not go to school.

In my generation, hardly anyone in the community went to school, Dolma’s father told CGTN.

Morag Hobbs (3rd L) with students from Qiqu Prefecture Boarding School. / CGTN

Morag Hobbs (3rd L) with students from Qiqu Prefecture Boarding School. / CGTN

But he has bigger dreams for his children. Five years ago, the family moved to live closer to the Qiqu Prefecture boarding school. Dolma and her siblings are among the 300 students who attend classes Monday through Friday. The school has just added English to the sixth grade exam. While this addition means, in theory, that children will have more opportunities, it has put additional pressure on teachers.

Desperate to improve the environment for students and teachers, in 2019 the school started working with a charity to have English lessons delivered directly from Beijing. Despite occasional connectivity issues, these classes open students’ eyes to a world beyond the mountains, to which their parents had little or no access.

To find out how online classes are changing the lives of children in the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, watch Moving Mountains Online on CGTN at 2:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. GMT on October 10.


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