China / Society

Qingdao promotes diversified education

( Updated: 2014-11-15 21:04

Qingdao promotes diversified education
Textbooks have been replaced by iPads. [Photo provided to China Daily]

After creating surging economic growth and a good living environment, Licang district in Qingdao turned its attention to improving its education system.

The government has significantly increased spending on schooling since 2012 and last year educational expenditure reached 9.69 million yuan ($1.46 million), three times higher than that in 2010.

The increase was much higher than the government's fiscal revenue growth. Teachers' salaries and the average funds spent per student also grew steadily in the past three years.

"Kids can only live and grow happily and with vibrant spirits if we let them have their own stage at school," said Licang district Party chief Li Fengli. "Our ultimate goal of education is to ensure they are happy and healthy."

By the third quarter of this year, 11 middle and elementary schools have been built or reinvented with a total investment of 1.031 billion yuan. Li said more funding would be provided to increase education facility development next year.

A total of 1.52 billion yuan will be used for the construction and renovation of eight schools by the end of next year, said Li.

Qingdao Cangkou School is a demonstration musical arts school nominated by the provincial government. The new school site is equipped with dance rooms, chorus classrooms, folk music classrooms and a large auditorium. The school obtained support from the Central Conservatory and the band of the People's Liberation Army to create the top brass band in Shandong.

A total of 90 percent of students at Qingdao Xiangtan Road Elementary School are children of the district's 'new citizens', who include migrant workers and young university graduates whose hometowns are outside Qingdao.

The students enjoy comprehensive education in a number of well-equipped special classrooms. More than 40 middle schools, elementary schools and kindergartens increased their security and greenery with an investment of 165 million yuan.

The highlight of the education upgrade included a 260-million-yuan smart education system with interactive electronic white boards, automatic recording classrooms, digital laboratories, school television stations, WiFi and iPad classrooms and auditoriums, which covers all schools in the district.

Apart from financial support, the district has also made great efforts to promote diversity in its curriculum. "We have paid a great deal of attention to students' individual development so that they can find their 'best self'," Li said.

In addition to basic courses such as games with balls, calligraphy and string instruments, piano, many schools have formed interest groups in areas like ethnic folk arts, cuisine, science and nature, horticulture, social study and health maintenance.

Han Chuande, director general at Licang Bureau of Education said psychological well being and moral education are also key focuses of Licang’s educators.

Support groups are founded in various schools to offer consultancy and assistance to protect the mental health of students.

Students are also educated to take responsibility and learn manners. Their behavior both at school and home will be observed and corrected in time to improve their compliance with ethical codes.

As the first district in Shandong to open survival courses, Licang has set a special fund for students to learn swimming and other skills such as Taekwondo or accident prevention during vacations.

The district’s dedication to education development has been recognized by the nation. At the end of 2013, Licang was nominated one of the National Compulsory Education Balanced Development Districts and scored top among the 21 applicants from Shandong.

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