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Education helps eradicate poverty in destitute county

Author  :  ZHAO XUZHOU     Source  :    Chinese Social Sciences Today     2020-08-06

Tongyu, an exceptionally poor county, sits at the frontier of northwest Jilin Province. Located in a concentrated area of destitution, Tongyu has been earmarked as a key poor county in the poverty relief program of the State Council. Guided by China’s poverty relief strategy, the county has officially shaken off poverty this April, and is now heading towards its next goal: building a moderately prosperous society in all respects. With thriving industries, Tongyu is standing at a new historical starting point.

Fixed-point poverty alleviation through colleges and universities is an important part of China’s anti-poverty efforts. It is an important role that educational institutions must play to serve the country. In 2013, tasked by the Party Central Committee and the Ministry of Education, Jilin University began its fixed-point poverty alleviation program in Tongyu. With the help of the university, 54,407 people of 28,650 families living in the 90 poor villages of Tongyu have successfully risen out of poverty, and the poverty headcount ratio has dropped from 21.8% in 2015 to 0.075% in 2019. All of the 90 poor villages have fulfilled the 16 targets set for the poverty elimination program, which has paved the way for the poverty reduction of the entire county.

Jilin University made full use of its strongest disciplines, talent and scientific research when it carried out its programs in education, healthcare, talent, technology, etc.

Jiang Zhiying, secretary of the Party committee at Jilin University, said that throughout the process, the university has adopted a problembased and interdisciplinary approach, pooling resources and strengths from multiple disciplines and departments. The university has innovated with its approach and adjusted measures according to the local conditions, allowing scientific technology to play its role as the No.1 productive force. To be specific, Jilin University has turned Tongyu into a scientific research and innovation center, a transformation center for outstanding scientific achievements and a talent training center. Thus, a poverty elimination model engaged with talent and technology has taken shape.

Tongyu sits at the eastern border of Horqin Grassland. Cultivation is a common part of the lives of most peasant households. Although the agriculture industry in Tongyu featured half farming and half nomadism, its technologies for crop farming and cultivation remained backward, and enterprises engaged in deep processing of agricultural products were also lacking. This was one of the main reasons behind the county’s poorly developed economy.

Seeing that sheep cultivation is popular among local households, a research team from the College of Animal Science at Jilin University has rolled out a program to promote new technologies for efficiently cultivating quality mutton sheep and milk goats.

Song Gaofeng, who was assigned by Jilin University to be the first secretary of Bianzhao Village, said that the university has built a pastoral region for sheep cultivation in Bianzhao, which covers an area of 11,000 square meters and involves a total investment of 2.37 million yuan. Equipped with the fast propagation technique introduced by the university, the sheep farm has imported purebred Dorper and Merino.

Lu Zhidong, director of the Poverty Alleviation Office at Jilin University, said that more than 100 scientific and technical experts from the university have worked tirelessly. The experts helped increase sorghum production by 40%, pepper yields by over 30%, sea-rice by nearly 30% and corn by 80.9%. This is achieved through 11 scientific research programs of poverty reduction, including the program for improving saline and alkaline land and introducing Jida 7 and Jida 6 (new cultivars invented by Jilin University), which are high-yield, high-quality, disease resistant and with wider adaptability. Simply by upgrading the cultivation systems, the county has increased its total income by RMB 1.35 million, as compared to its three-year average income. This also helped lift 787 listed poor households out of poverty.

Liang Qidong, vice president of the Liaoning Academy of Social Sciences, said that we need to develop specialty industries and industries that have a long-term effect on poverty relief, and we must engage more poor people and ensure that they benefit directly from the process.

Editor: Yu Hui

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