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Mountain school

Updated: 2015-07-05 15:10
(China Daily Europe)

 Mountain school

Bai Zilin (seated, second from left) with one of his teaching staff (seated, left) and his students on a rock. Photos by Chen Tuanjie / For China Daily

 
 

 Mountain school

The students have meals twice a day, and the dishes are all vegetarian.

 
Hidden deep in the Qinling Mountain in Shaanxi province is the Zhongnanshan Academy of Classical Learning, a private school with a unique philosophy on learning. In early 2010, Bai Zilin and his wife Hou Jie founded the school, requiring students to be erudite, devoted and virtuous. Meditation, a vegetarian diet, acupuncture, chanting, archery and picking herbs are all part of the students' daily curriculum.

"The private school is meant to give children a happy childhood, so that children will have fun living and learning," Bai says. Nine children attend the school regularly. The students are isolated but they have two ways to develop closer links to the wider world. Some students take the national college examinations, which can lead to further study at more mainstream institutions. Two children were admitted to Northwest University last year. Other students learn and practice traditional Chinese medicine. Similar private schools can be found in every province, but mostly for weekend classes.

A full-time academy like Zhongnanshan is rare. Professor Xu Jianguo from the National Academy of Education Administration says that the emergence of private school education is beneficial to China's current education system, but there are also many drawbacks, such as curriculum deficiencies which educators and government officials should address.

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