At the Fourth Session of the 13th National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), the Central Committee of the China Association for Promoting Democracy (CAPD) submitted a proposal on developing and improving libraries in rural primary and secondary schools.
In an interview, Zhu Yongxin, Vice Chairman of the CAPD Central Committee, introduced the key points in that proposal. He said that reading should be considered as important as nutritious meals in primary and secondary schools across China, especially in rural areas, as it was an efficient and effective way of equipping students with broad knowledge and narrowing gaps between urban and rural areas in education resources.
Zhu noted that significant progress had been made in the establishment of libraries and student/book ratio in rural schools in general, thanks to the implementation of a national project of comprehensively improving the facilities in rural compulsory education schools.
However, he also listed several problems in terms of the use of libraries and book procurement: a) some rural schools are still short of a proper library, and only have a multi-purpose room which is used as a library, warehouse, canteen and classroom; b) many school libraries are poorly funded due to budgetary constraints, leading to a lack of regular book procurement and absence of update mechanisms; c) many school libraries have no quality control system, opening the door to low-quality books that are not suitable for educational purposes; and d) other problems such as lack of personnel dedicated to library management and insufficient opening hours of libraries.
Finally, Zhu introduced the suggestions included in the proposal, e.g. incorporation of school library management into education supervision, improvement of the book procurement and update system, and provision of professional guidance on the operation of libraries in rural primary and secondary schools.