Located in the east of Guizhou Province, Cengong County has a total of 144 schools comprising 2 regular senior high schools, 1 vocational school, 12 junior high schools, 56 primary schools (including 32 mini-schools, usually with only one teacher), and 73 kindergartens. There are 2,308 teachers and 41,071 registered students in the county. Basic education here has been weak for a long time, fettered by the high proportion of poverty-stricken students, unbalanced distribution of educational resources, lack of good teachers, and low parent awareness about the importance of education in eradicating poverty.
To tackle this deep-seated problem, the University of Electronic Science and Technology of China (UESTC) therefore launched an “electronic information empowering basic education” project, which helped raise the compulsory education enrollment rate in the county to 99.89%.
Implementing a capacity-building plan. The university invested 400,000 RMB in organizing capacity-building workshops for primary and middle school teachers in Cengong County to improve their teaching skills in a number of disciplines including Chinese language, math, foreign languages, physical education, mental health and information technology, benefiting 1,300 teachers in all.
Establishing e-learning systems. The UESTC spent over 2.2 million RMB to launch an “online English class” project in cooperation with Bingo Talk, an online English education platform, reaching 59 classes in 30 primary and middle schools of the county and allowing over 3,000 students to learn English face-to-face with native North American teachers. The university also established a distance education system connecting the university, its experimental high school and the Cengong County No.1 High School, enabling real-time interaction and discussions between Cengong students and teachers in Chengdu, where the university is located.
Increasing access to quality education resources. In addition to providing online learning opportunities, the university also organized 50 school visits, inviting 200 Cengong students to visit and follow classes at its affiliated primary and middle schools for short periods.
Mobilizing alumni support. UESTC raised over 500,000 RMB from its alumni associations in Suzhou, Wuxi, Changshu and other cities to build the BOE-Ronghua Innovative Art Experience Center in the Cengong County No. 3 Primary School, which is an art gallery driven by the Internet of Things, the first of its kind in China.