Caption: Lijiashan Elementary School on the slopes of Taishi Township, Kangxian County, Gansu Province.
About our work
The main goal of Oxfam's Basic Education Programme is to improve the quality of basic education and ensure that those in poor communities have equal access to them. Together with various government departments and organisations across society, we have been able to implement projects in Guizhou, Gansu, Yunnan, Qinghai, Beijing and other provinces and cities. For instance, we have assisted in the construction of schools, the recruitment of volunteer teachers, trained teachers, developed a curriculum for rural schools, facilitated the implementation of bilingual teaching, and worked to improve the quality of education for migrant children. We have also been exploring and sharing our experience in education in the western region of the country and of migrant children to ensure education is well-rounded and fits local contexts.
Basic Education Programme Brief (Chinese Only)
Guimei said, ‘I used to only be able to write 100 words. After taking these classes though, I can write much more – 500 words isn’t even difficult.’
-- Long Guimei, a student in primary 6
‘There is bright moonlight before my bed; I suppose it is frost on the ground. I raise my head to view the bright moon, then lower it, thinking of my village.’
Every school day at 4:30 pm, the voices of children reciting poems can be heard from the third floor of Jingwen Primary School in Guiyang City. Aside from reading Tang poetry, students also read well known novels like Journey to the West and Romance of the Three Kingdoms. Long Guimei, a student in primary 6, regularly takes part in her school’s Tang Poetry Reading Class. She’s got a lively personality, and she loves to read and draw. She and her classmates used to live in a village in Guizhou Province, but moved to the city with their parents because of work.
Guiyang City’s migrant workers mostly work in construction, manufacturing and transportation, and barely make enough to get by. With the shortage of public schools in the city and migrant workers’ lack of documents to enrol their children in these schools, parents of these children have no choice but to enrol their children in schools that aren’t run by the government like Jingwen Primary School, which generally lack teaching resources.
With few resources available, it’s difficult to attract teachers to come and teach. This not only affects the quality of teaching, but also student development and even the provision of extracurricular activities. To address this, we have been working with our partner organisation Association of Women's Capacity-building and Development to organise Tang poetry reading classes. We’ve also put together other extracurricular activities like drawing, storytelling and silk flower making classes to enrich migrant children’s educational experience.
By reading their favourite novels, students not only learn more vocabulary, but are also able to improve their writing skills and self-confidence. Guimei said, ‘I used to only be able to write 100 words. After taking these classes though, I can write much more – 500 words isn’t even difficult.’
Note: Guimei has since graduated from primary school and is now in secondary school.