中文版 web

Latest News

Tianjin University’s Voluntary Teaching Support Teams Open the “Window of Dreams” for Children in Mountainous Regions


“Mountains in front of the door”, Zhang Xin, is a 13-year-old girl living in Tanchang County, Gansu Province. Growing up in this mountainous locale, she has never ventured outside of her hometown. However, this summer, a group of young people from Tianjin University dropped in on her, bringing gifts of starfish and shells, the likes of which she had never seen before, as well as books about the universe and marine science. As an avid reader, she was greatly inspired by the books and, began to ponder her future and question the different paths available to her.

(photo by Li Ran/XINHUA)

Along with 500 other students, Zhang Xin attends the Guanting nine-year education school in Tanchang County which is located in col. Most of these young people have parents who work outside or live on proceeds from agriculture. Eventually, many of the kids choose to find work away from their home environment or, attend vocational schools after graduation. Taking the college entrance examination and studying in a university has become a “luxurious” dream for many of these children.

According to the school’s Headmaster, Shi Yuanping, the willingness for further education at a university and support from the family are both influential in a student’s decision when facing the entrance examination. Subsequently, for those dealing with financial difficulties, it seems more realistic to “bring home the bacon”, rather than a diploma. Thus, his quest has been to persuade students and parents to change their views, as he desperately wants to “untie the knot”.

(photo by Li Ran/XINHUA)

(photo by Zhang Li/JINWAN)

This year witnessed Tianjin University’s first “Let Dreams ‘Stay’” summer camp. Along with the voluntary teaching supporting practice came 12 “dream classrooms” at local 9-year education schools and visits to the university.

(photo by Li Ran/XINHUA)

(photo by Li Ran/XINHUA)

Teacher and student teams from various schools within TJU fascinated the students (including the naughtiest class “troublemaker”) with a science class. They used their own collections of specimens, books and microscopes. This novel and unique approach grabbed the intense attention of the children. Shi Yuanping found that the college students had become role models for the young kids and, soon the youth were overheard saying, “I want to be as good as them”.

Zhang Xin always ranks among the top in her class. Though her parents have a modest daily income from their vegetable trade in Guanting, they continue to enthusiastically support her study.

After experiencing the dream classroom and having communicated with the teachers and students from Tianjin University, Zhang Xin, told reporters with great determination that the wonderful involvement made her heart “fly”, and that, “I will study hard and try to go to college.".

Actually, in Tanchang, “young teachers” from the voluntary teaching team of TJU were very popular with students in every school. Chants like: “Love the teachers, love their classes” were often heard. Zhao Danning and Mou Tong, graduate students who have been teaching for one year in Tanchang No. 1 Middle School, shared their experience of studying abroad with students in order to broaden their horizons.

(photo by Li Ran/XINHUA)

“Wow, so one can study in a college like this?” It was not only the children who could not imagine the power of education to make people extraordinary, but also Li Wuping, a department director of No.1 Middle School, who had not been out of Tanchang for the first 10 years since she began to work in 1990. “I did not know what it was like outside or how to better improve the quality of teaching.” It was only in fairly recent years that she and her teachers had opportunities to go out and participate in teacher trainings. Thus, taking students to TJU for the science summer camp was previously beyond her imagination. However, the fourth group of teachers and students for the summer camp esd preparing for their TJU trip. 52 students in the school walked into the university gate and felt the exhilaration of campus life.

(photo by Zhang Li/JINWAN)

Simultaneously in Xinchengzi village, 30 kilometers away from Guanting, Ma Qianli, a member of the teaching team, looked at the students with eager eyes as if he had seen himself.

He came from Zhongning County, Zhongwei City, Ningxia. In his childhood memory, the small county town wrapped in the Loess Plateau was covered with boundless yellow sands. In 2018, he was admitted to Tianjin University, ranking among the top ten in his county. Standing on the teaching stage, he thought that he should use his own experiences to tell these children that poverty is not unchangeable. As long as they have the courage to stick it out and struggle, their destiny is in their own hands.

“First, working hard is the priority. Good grades give us the chance to attend better schools and receive better education. Second, be confident. When we are getting into a new environment, cowardice prevents us from taking the opportunity to change our lives.” Ma Qianli told the children that they should try to expand their horizons, read more extra-curricular books, participate in more school activities and seize the time to enrich themselves. The more they accumulate, the more they harvest.

(photo by Zhang Li/JINWAN)

Not only the students but also the young teachers of TJU are the main force in the voluntary teaching team. “This summer we have more than 20 practice teams going to Tanchang. Many volunteer teachers and students have come here more than once. This program will continue for a long time, with students and teachers constantly alternating to pass on the baton of education poverty alleviation,” said Wang He, a volunteer teacher from the School of Architecture at TJU. He also pointed out that the second group of teachers would arrive soon after he returned. Although the time for volunteer teaching is limited, all the teachers involved have thought and prepared on how to seize the time and maximize the educational effects.

(photo by Li Ran/XINHUA)

Wang He’s lecture was about art design, history and culture. He attracted students with interesting knowledge, and then gave the students the history of his hometown Gansu. This inspired the youth giving each more confidence and, a sense of pride in their own hometowns. He then, cited a meaningful example of a student with monthly living stipend of only 100 yuan. The fine young man completed his studies with the support of scholarships and work-study programs. However, his success was mainly based on his own beliefs and efforts.

“In the battle of life, difficulties will always exist, but do not give up the courage to fight because of difficulties!” In the end, Wang He sent his wishes to the students: “aim high, overcome immediate difficulties, study diligently and forge ahead and we will meet in TJU one day.” The children applauded and, some were even brought to tears.

Education is a powerful weapon to remove the “poverty root” and prevent it from future generations. If the current generation of young people lack the ability of using “knowledge to change the fate”, poverty alleviation will be difficult to achieve.

(photo by Zhang Li/JINWAN)

Lv Jing, Secretary of the Youth League Committee of TJU, introduced the university’s “road to education revitalization” project. Relying on students’ social consciousness during winter and summer vacations, Tianjin University drives the development of education in remote and challenged areas, spreading the fire of education to the countryside. By 2020, TJU will set up 100 rural practice bases, 100 dream classrooms, one-on-one help for 100 left-behind children, develop 100 poverty alleviation industrial projects, and conduct 100 teacher training programs to help build a prosperous society in all respects with the five “one hundred” programs.

With these outstanding programs, Shi’s dream to “untie the knot” can be realized.

By: Deng Xiaoxuan

Editors: Harlan Haverback, Sun Xiaofang