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Teacher wants to spread education in mountainous regions

By Zou Shuo | | Updated: 2022-10-22 16:10
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Liu Xiuxiang, a delegate to the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, speaks during an interview at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, capital of China, Oct 22, 2022. [Photo/Xinhua]

Liu Xiuxiang, a delegate to the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China and vice-principal of Wangmo Experimental High School, said he hopes more children from mountainous regions can receive better education and mountainous regions can also be highlands of education.

He is deeply motivated by the just-concluded congress and will continue to devote himself to rural education, he said after the closing of the congress on Saturday.

Liu made headlines in 2008 after he took his mother, who has a mental illness, from Guizhou to his college in Shandong province to look after her.

His father died when he was four years old, and he had to look after his mother while studying since childhood.

"My biggest dream back then was to leave the mountainous region so that my mother could get better and that we could have a stable life," he said.

After he graduated from college in 2012, he got job offers from several companies, with the highest annual salary reaching 550,000 yuan ($76,000), he said.

However, he received a letter from a girl to whom he had offered financial aid during college saying that she did not want to study anymore.

"Although I have changed my destiny through education and realized the importance of education, many people in Wangmo county, then an impoverished county, still have not understood its importance and do not want to send their children to school," Liu said.

Therefore, he decided to go back to his hometown and became a teacher.

However, he found that many students had low self-esteem and were confused. They did not know why they needed to study and what education brought them. Many began working or got married after graduating middle school, he said.

Then Liu started a campaign to motivate and help rural students. He has spent lot of his spare time traveling to the homes of dropouts, persuading them to return to school.

In the past 10 years, his campaign has helped more than 1,800 dropouts to return to school and got financial aid to more than 4,200 students, he said.

In the past decade, with the increased investment from the Party and government to rural education, education in his hometown has undergone tremendous changes, he said.

"The most beautiful architectures in our county are school buildings and the most pleasant places are schools."

In 2012, only 70 students in the county were enrolled in college, but this year, that number soared to 1,300, with each village having at least one college student, he said.

Education has completely cut off the generational inheritance of poverty and enabled students in mountainous regions to enjoy more opportunities and better choices, he said.

Liu hopes that people can forget about him carrying his mother to college and he can work just like a regular teacher in mountainous areas.

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