From black to white: An educational revolution

By Palden Nyima and Daqiong in Qamdo, Tibet | China Daily | Updated: 2019-01-05 11:04
Pupils at Qamdo Municipal Experimental Primary School in Qamdo, Tibet autonomous region. [Photo provided to China Daily]

In far-flung corners of the country, elementary schools are sowing the seeds of the country's continued success

For the past three years the engineering and computer science school of Tsinghua University in Beijing have been ranked as the best of its kind in the world, even outshining counterparts such as those at Princeton University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the United States.

That accolade sits perfectly with the astonishingly rapid modernization of China that people mostly associate with its gleaming skyscrapers, shiny bullet trains and a stellar economy that has become the world's second-largest. For all these we can thank the policies of reform and opening-up of the past 40 years.

An essential foundation of that kind of success is, of course, education, and it is not only in the hallowed halls of tertiary institutions such as Tsinghua that the building stones of success are being laid.

The often overlooked heroes of China's advance are the elementary schools where people receive the formative education that will shape their later education, careers and indeed their lives, and those schools have quietly been undergoing their own radical changes.

These are evident in four schools that China Daily visited throughout the country as it took a look at the changing face of elementary education in China in: Qamdo, Tibet autonomous region; Guiyang, Guizhou province; Qingdao, Shandong province; and Chongqing, in the country's southwest. We recount those changes in this and the accompanying articles.

The rendezvous with modernization of Qamdo Municipal Experimental Primary School in Qamdo, in the east of the Tibet autonomous region, well predates the reform and opening-up that began in the late 1970s. The school, built in 1951, is known as the first modern school built by the Communist Party of China in the region, and is regarded as the starting point of the region's modern education.

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