China's poverty reduction efforts have entered a critical stage. The plan is not only to lift 70 million people out of poverty within several years, but more importantly, to prevent those who have been helped out from slipping back to poverty. In rural areas, the poverty relief to a large extent relies on education.
Currently, education in rural areas faces many problems. In some impoverished areas, primary school classrooms are almost empty. Some schools only have a dozen students and two or three teachers. In mountainous areas, students live far away from their schools, and thus the journey to and from school costs several hours every day.
In recent years, the Ministry of Education has implemented an action plan to build central schools for students scattered among different remote villages. But this approach cannot resolve all the problems. In fact, rural students need free-of-charge standard boarding schools that provide quality education and daily care from teachers. In rural China, a large number of students are left behind by their parents, who migrate to cities to make a living.
Furthermore, boarding schools are not just simply a school, but a complete premium education system which should be composed of quality teachers and curriculum, well-developed school bus services that ensure safety and save time for children, and safe and comfortable accommodation.
Particularly, children whose parents are working away from home in cities should be given special care. This scenario for boarding schools will not only help to improve rural education, but also uproot poverty in these areas once and for all.
(This is an edited excerpt of an article published in Qianjiang Evening News on January 22）