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Targeted approaches adopted in 2017 to alleviate poverty through education

2018-02-24 14:14:00

Since the CPC Central Work Conference on Poverty Alleviation held at the end of 2015, which for the first time added education-driven poverty alleviation measures to the national poverty reduction program as the fifth path for eradicating poverty, China has adopted specific and targeted approaches to alleviating poverty through education, especially in 2017, in a bid to achieve its 2020 strategic goals.

The State Council launched comprehensive efforts to improve basic conditions in disadvantaged compulsory education schools in poverty-stricken areas at the end of 2013. By the end of 2017, new and expanded construction of school buildings nationwide had covered a total floor space of 186 million m2, which represented a 90% completion of tasks set by the five-year plan, exceeding the 2017 work expectations and reaching the 2018 work objectives in advance, said the head of the Supervision Bureau of MOE.

With a national investment of RMB 2.6 billion, the finished construction of school buildings for teaching centers totaled over 13 million m2, which brought substantial improvements to the school conditions in remote and depressed areas. The head of the Supervision Bureau of MOE stated: “There were oversized classes packed with 80 or 90 something students in some counties when we inspected in 2012. Now the conditions have much improved through construction of new school buildings and adjustment of class sizes. In 2016, the number of oversized classes in compulsory education schools dropped to 140,000, down 90,000 or 39% from 2012. In a word, the issue of overcrowded classrooms has been alleviated.”

The year of 2017 also witnessed the full coverage of all key counties in the national development-oriented poverty reduction program by the nutrition improvement plan for rural compulsory education students. The plan was implemented in 1,596 counties, more than half of all counties across the country, benefiting 36 million students, or nearly a quarter of all students in compulsory education. The head of the Supervision Bureau said, “Student malnutrition has been alleviated, while their learning ability and school attendance rate have improved.” He added, “The MOE will continue to steadily promote pilot implementation of the plan, to further increase the provision of school meals, strengthen information dissemination and supervisory assessment, and enhance nutritional health education.”

In addition to improving “hard” factors such as the learning environment and nutritional health, targeted measures were also taken to address “soft” issues in the work on education-driven poverty alleviation. In 2017, a total of 560 counties achieved balanced development of compulsory education, accounting for 81% of all counties in China. As reported by the head of the Supervision Bureau, the MOE plans to step up its efforts in faculty deployment, school conditions, education quality, caring for special groups and more aspects, to promote integrated development of urban and rural areas and deliver development outcomes to all people. “Education funding mechanisms and policies on the officially budgeted posts for school faculty and staff will be tailored to promote a more balanced compulsory education system in urban and rural areas, targeting the most deprived areas and underdeveloped disciplines first.”

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