Tar­geted in­vest­ment im­proves qual­ity of ed­u­ca­tion

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - VIEWS - By TANG ZHIHAO

The Weifang Hi-tech In­dus­trial De­vel­op­ment Zone has in­tro­duced a range of mea­sures to en­sure high-qual­ity ed­u­ca­tion as part of its ef­forts to en­hance lo­cal res­i­dents’ qual­ity of life.

Over­sized classes have long been a prob­lem con­strain­ing ed­u­ca­tion qual­ity en­hance­ment in the zone. The zone has in­vested 898 mil­lion yuan ($132 mil­lion) to ex­pand or up­grade eight pri­mary and high schools to re­duce class sizes.

The zone an­nounced that the num­ber of stu­dents per class will be re­duced in the 2017 au­tumn se­mes­ter, as re­quired by the Shan­dong gov­ern­ment. Ac­cord­ing to stan­dards set by the Shan­dong gov­ern­ment, pri­mary schools’ class size will be re­duced to less than 45 stu­dents and high schools’ class size will be re­duced to less than 50 stu­dents.

The zone also plans to pro­mote the con­cept of small­size classes to pro­vide higher qual­ity ed­u­ca­tion ser­vices to stu­dents in the com­ing years. The size of classes will be less than 40 stu­dents. The zone plans to in­vest 3 bil­lion yuan into build­ing and ex­pand­ing 12 schools to achieve this goal. The num­ber of school seats in the zone will dou­ble by 2020.

Lo­cal author­i­ties have also put for ward mea­sures to up­grade the pre-school ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem to bet­ter serve res­i­dents’ evolv­ing de­mands.

Twenty-three kin­der­garten up­grade projects cov­er­ing five ar­eas have been launched since June this year to pro­vide premium pre-school ser­vices. Fif­teen gov­ern­ment-funded kinder­gartens will be built to meet peo­ple’s ed­u­ca­tion de­mands. The zone gov­ern­ment plans to pro­vide subsi- dies to com­pany and in­sti­tu­tion-funded kinder­gartens, as well as pri­vately op­er­ated kinder­gartens that tar­get all fam­i­lies in the zone.

In the fu­ture, kinder­gartens will not only have more space but also have more well-trained teach­ers.

The up­graded Dong­ming Kin­der­garten, which opened its doors in Oc­to­ber 2015, has 56 teach­ers, up from 38 in 2014. There are 15 classes in the kin­der­garten, up from 11 in 2014. The kin­der­garten has been equipped with a li­brary, mul­ti­me­dia class­rooms and an art gallery to serve chil­dren’s vary­ing in­ter­ests.

Dong­ming Kin­der­garten hosted a bas­ket­ball tour­na­ment on June 15 on its own play­ground. The kin­der­garten had to share a play­ground with another school be­fore 2015.

The zone, known for its in­no­va­tion and high-tech in­dus­tries, has set a goal to foster cen­tury-old schools to sup­port its long-term de­vel­op­ment. The zone ap­plies high stan­dards in school plan­ning, con­struc­tion and sup­port­ing fa­cil­i­ties’ de­vel­op­ment pro­cesses.

Weifang Han­sheng In­ter­na­tional School, which will be put into use in Septem­ber, in­vited ar­chi­tects from China’s lead­ing ar­chi­tec­tural de­sign in­sti­tu­tions such as the Bei­jing In­sti­tute of Ar­chi­tec­tural De­sign to give sug­ges­tions about how to bet­ter use the space.

A teacher with Weifang Hi-tech Zone’s New Epoch School gives an English class to stu­dents in the Weifang Hi-tech In­dus­trial De­vel­op­ment Zone.

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