On March 17, 2021, under the direction of Ms. Maxine Lu, General Principal of the Xiehe Education Group, the team responsible for travelling to Zhongping Primary School in Huize County, Yunnan Province was assembled. SUIS Qingpu Vice-Principal and Secretary of the Communist Party Branch, Mr. Leo Ge, and Deputy Head of Primary School and Secretary of the Youth League Branch, Mr. Andy Xu, set off for Yunnan with the love of all the teachers, students and parents of SUIS Qingpu.
Some background on Zhongping Primary School
Huize County in Yunnan has a permanent resident population of 1.068 million. In the past ten years it has produced 40,000 college students, including 13,000 who have entered top universities, 139 of whom matriculated at Peking University and Tsinghua University. Zhongping Primary School is a six-year primary school newly built in 2020 in Huize County for 100,000 relocated households as part of poverty alleviation projects. The school currently has 67 classes, approximately 3,600 students, and 140 teachers. Among the students’families, 360 have single fathers and 100 have single mothers; more than 60 orphans are also enrolled in the school.
Follow-up visit work
The visiting team returned to families and locations visited in previous years for some follow-up work and the provision of a range of activities, including: a donation ceremony; a visit to six registered poor households; a visit to Dahai Primary School in Dahai Town; the delivery of teacher workshops and a seminar on school curriculum, teaching and research management; the delivery of a Physical Education demonstration lesson; the observation of Zhongping Primary School Chinese and English open classes; and holding discussions on evaluation, teaching and research.
A donation ceremony was held for which Shanghai United International School Qingpu Campus, Shanghai Charity Foundation Humanistic Care Sunshine Fund, Shanghai New Social Strata Association, Shanghai Xielihui, Ajmide Media Huize County Education, Sports Bureau Deputy Director Mr. Tang, Zhongping Primary School Principal Mr. Li Yingzong, and members of the school administration committee were in attendance.
Student Xiao Shen from Grade 5 Class 5 (male): the father has uremia, and the mother works to support the family;
Student Xiao Tian from Grade 3 Class 10 (female): the mother had passed away, and the father performs odd jobs. There are nine children in the family, and the third child dropped out of school to take care of his sisters.
Student Xiao Duan from Grade 6 Class 8 (female): the father had passed away, and the mother is dealing with kidney stones; there are six children in the family.
Student Xiao Guo from Grade 6 Class 3 (female): the father had passed away, and the mother remarried and has not maintained contact. The grandmother has raised her, and he is fostered at her aunt’s house;
Student Xiao Huang from Grade 5 Class 6 (male): the mother is blind, and the father has a mental illness. The four siblings live on subsistence allowances.
Visit to Dahai Primary School
The altitude at Dahai is about 3100 meters. Of the school’s 256 students, 195 live on campus, with the school’s 28 faculty members. Students line up for dinner in a disciplined manner without the teachers’ supervision. The school raises six pigs and has established a large vegetable garden. Two eye-catching, large maps are prominently displayed at the school, both stating that students and teachers “have the motherland in mind while looking at the world”.
Approximately 50 teachers participated in a workshop with the theme of “speculative teaching”. Mr. Ge guided teachers to think about how to stimulate students to learn actively through interaction and experience.
Physical Education Demonstration Class
Mr. Xu gave a lively and interesting physical education class for 60 students in Grade 5 Class 1, with Zhongping Primary School teachers on hand to observe. The teachers came away from the experience learning that the teaching of physical education can be more diversified.
Open class teaching and research
Zhongping Primary School’s Grade 2 Class 3 Chinese teacher Ms. Chen and Grade 6 English teacher Ms. Liu (who graduated with an English major but has taught Chinese for a long time) provided two open classes respectively, demonstrating teachers’ solid basic skills in the subject. Afterwards, teachers from both schools conducted discussions on teaching and research.
1. The school represents a national key unit for poverty alleviation, has a high political position and is of great strategic significance;
2. Investment in hardware is relatively high; at a minimum classes are equipped with electronic interactive teaching equipment, and the school’s venues and other facilities are complete;
3. Teachers who have passed the selection examination have entered the school with solid overall basic skills and good overall quality;
4. All of the school’s principals and middle-management team were born in the 1980s and are innovative, hardworking, and pragmatic;
5. Due to family background factors, the vast majority of students are independent and have strong self-management capabilities;
6. There are abundant resources for characteristic projects devoted to, for example, patriotism and poverty alleviation.
1. Project-oriented characteristic course construction
Patriotic-themed running exercises
Pairing of mothers for support
Teachers visiting students’ homes
2. Huize’s overall education positioning is good, the high school promotion rate is high, and the student source training has several advantages.
1. There is a shortage of teachers, especially for specialty subjects (e.g. English, music, PE, and art). Currently there are nearly 70 classes equipped with only 140 teachers;
2. Most of the teachers come from mountainous areas, and overall teaching skills are in urgent need of improvement;
3. While project resources are plentiful, theoretical knowledge and guidance for project-based curriculum construction and project construction, etc. are urgently needed;
4. Lack of book resources;
5. The family environment of students is extremely complicated, there is a wide range of student ability, and the management of moral education is very challenging;
6. In this new school, the management team and teachers still need to be adjusted; the content of courses and teaching and research activities also need improvement.
Follow-up charity project
1. Book donation;
2. Exchanging and learning between Yunnan and Shanghai;
3. Exchanging of sports projects;
4. Teacher professional development guidance;
5. Curriculum construction, and the development of characteristic subject resources.
Thoughts on the return visit
Mr. Leo Ge: Ordinary teachers use the simplest language and actions to convey love and knowledge in ordinary posts, and use ordinary resources to create the extraordinary!
Mr. Andy Xu: A happy life has emerged out of challenging circumstances for these students!
The visit comes to an end
The two-day charity activity for Yunnan’s Zhongping Primary School ended successfully. This trip allowed us to see education alleviating poverty and helping hearts and aspirations! It also allowed us to see the love and responsibility of the whole society for education. If young people are strong, China is strong!