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University unveils new program to bolster educational development

Author  :  Cao Chen     Source  :    China Daily     2020-09-14

An alumnus of East China Normal University who works in Zunyi, Guizhou province, shares his dream through online conference on Sept 10 at the launch ceremony of a program by the university to help its alumni who are working in the education field to achieve their "dreams". [Photo provided to]

East China Normal University on Thursday launched a program to help its alumni who are working in the education field to achieve their "dreams".

The program, with its first phrase lasting for 10 years starting from Sep 10, 2020, involves collating the goals that alumni members have regarding the development of educational initiatives in China. The theme of these dreams will change every year.

This year, the theme is centered on poverty alleviation efforts through the development of the education sector in remote regions in central and western China. According to the university, 70 "dreams" will be selected by mid-October.

"As a university committed to nurturing teachers, we hope to tackle obstacles that our alumni are facing in education, ahead of the 70th anniversary of the establishment of university next year," said Zhou Bin, dean of the college of teacher education at the university.

To be a part of the new initiative, applicants must submit their action plans to the university. The university noted that each plan should have practical goals that can be achieved within three years.

Twenty-two experts from the university and alumni members working in the education sector will be responsible for helping make these dreams a reality. Among them are Yuan Zhenguo, professor of the Faculty of Education of the university, and Li Zhicong, headmaster of the No 2 High School of East China Normal University.

Teachers and students will also volunteer in the program by offering administrative services and helping with coordination tasks.

"Through the program, the faculty will broaden the minds of teachers and take a long-term view of teaching and learning, optimizing education approaches and course structures to better suit the real teaching environment that students may face in the future," said Zhou.

He pointed out that while the infrastructure of schools in remote areas can generally meet the needs of basic education there, there is still a lack of "soft power", referring to educational ideas and resources.

This is the case for Wu Chaowen, a Chinese teacher at the Junior Middle School in Yangjie town, Kunming, Yunnan province.

"I've noticed that the essays students write are usually dry and dull, even if they are given a subject that is close to their life," said Wu at the launch ceremony.

"Like other local teachers, I am aware of the problem but am struggling with changing the situation. We need assistance from the university."

Zhou said that such a challenge could be addressed by improving the skills of teachers.

"We could make the master's degree for Chinese language education available to teachers like Wu until his retirement. We can encourage the school to form a research team and have a professor from our university become their mentor. An interest group can also be set up to discuss essay writing teaching methods in school, where graduate students from our university can volunteer to assist," said Zhou.

"This case shows why we have formed teams comprising of experts and practitioners who excel in various domains such as psychology, music and teacher education to motivate and help local teachers."




Editor: Yu Hui

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