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Room for improvement for border schools

By Hu Yongqi | China Daily | Updated: 2013-02-26 09:18

While the upgrading project has brought great improvements to border schools, principals said teacher numbers are insufficient and the schools require additional funds to meet the demands caused by the rising number of students from Myanmar.

Nabang Border School, which has 107 students from Myanmar, was the only one in Yingjiang county to be included in the upgrading project. It received funding of 2.5 million yuan ($401,000), allowing the construction of new classrooms and dormitories. A decade ago, the school had 20 teachers for 200 students. Now, the school has 360 students, but teacher numbers are unchanged, said principal Zhang Yongjun.

"I was forced to refuse some kids from Myanmar because of the limited space in our classrooms and dormitories. I hope we can get more help; ultimately the kids will be the main beneficiaries," he said.

The new dormitory at Pianma School in the Nujiang Lisu autonomous prefecture provides accommodation for 231 students. When an entrepreneur from Kunming visited the school in 2011 and discovered that the teachers lacked basic IT equipment, he donated 500,000 yuan which was used to buy 20 computers.

Ma Dacai, the principal, earns 2,200 yuan a month after 23 years working at the school. Most of the teachers are paid 1,500 yuan a month. "The teachers often tell me they choose to stay here because they love the children. Otherwise, they could earn twice or three times the salary in Kunming," said Ma.

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