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Rural Education in Jiangsu Province of China

education in jiangsuAs one of the largest provinces in education, Jiangsu is located on the southeast coast of China. In the past decades, rural education in Jiangsu saw great achievements, while the problems and deficiencies in Jiangsu’s education system are also transparent.

In 2016, the average length of education in Jiangsu was 9.5 years. In rural regions of Jiangsu, gender differences in education had been generally eliminated. The annual budget for educational investment indicated a 30 percent increase compared to five years prior. In the last five years, besides the enlarging scale of preliminary education, compulsory education displayed balanced development, and the number of students in higher education showed a 5 percent annual increase with equal opportunities to rural areas.

While the discrepancies in education between urban and rural areas are gradually shrinking, deficiencies and problems in rural education in Jiangsu remain. Students in Jiangsu are enduring top pressures in the 12 years before college entrance. Many rural schools, especially senior high schools in Jiangsu, have harsh schedules requiring students to arrive at school before 6:30 am and return home after 9:30 pm.

By the end of 2016, there were still 2.76 million rural people living below the poverty line in Jiangsu. Kids from poor farming families require sponsorship from charities for book allowances, food, clothing and school supplies. For instance, a German charity named as the Pfrang Association based in Nanjing, supported multiple classes at Xiaoliji Middle School in the Lianshui county of Jiangsu Province.

Another significant problem with rural education in Jiangsu comes from the imbalance of subjects. Since a few courses such as music and art, were not counted towards the total score on all sorts of entrance exams, these subjects often lose out to major parts of the curriculum such as Chinese, Mathematics and English. It is not unusual to see rural senior high schools sacrificing physical classes privately in order to make up classes on main subjects.

On Nov. 18, 2016, Jiangsu set up an educational target in the thirteenth Five-Year Plan (2016-2020), aiming at building an education system with more completeness and dynamics, for better equality and quality of education especially in rural areas. A variety of schemes have been proposed to support 280,000 rural teachers in Jiangsu, which include improving the status of working and living, holding regular training and providing more opportunities for tutorial exchanges. It aims to attract more teachers to enjoy teaching in rural areas of Jiangsu.

In early November 2017, a group of 84 foreign students from 37 countries participating in the Experience China Event visited Huaxi village in Jiangyin, a national model place in Jiangsu for rural developments.

Rural education in Jiangsu province of China has challenges and opportunities now and into the future. Improving and promoting education in this area urges both practical measures and feasible planning.

– Xin Gao

Photo: Flickr