Re­gion banks on ben­e­fits of ed­u­ca­tion

China Daily (USA) - - CHINA - By XUWEI and DAQIONG in Lhasa

Elim­i­nat­ing poverty in the Ti­bet au­ton­o­mous re­gion will be a long and ar­du­ous task, ac­cord­ing to an of­fi­cial with the re­gional gov­ern­ment.

The harsh nat­u­ral en­vi­ron­ment and wide ge­o­graph­i­cal spread of peo­ple liv­ing in poverty mean the scale of the prob­lem should not be un­der­es­ti­mated, said Lu Huadong, deputy head of the Ti­bet poverty al­le­vi­a­tion of­fice: “It would be im­pos­si­ble to ac­com­plish the al­le­vi­a­tion tar­gets overnight, given the re­gion’s poor eco­nomic sit­u­a­tion in the past.”

Mean­while, the lack of ini­tia­tive shown by many res­i­dents has ex­ac­er­bated the chal­lenge the au­thor­i­ties face. “Some of them are liv­ing in the past. Their thoughts are not en­tirely suited to the age in which we live,” Lu said.

The au­thor­i­ties have set a goal of lift­ing 590,000 peo­ple — about 20 per­cent of the re­gional pop­u­la­tion— out of poverty by 2020.

The tar­get will be met through gov­ern­ment in­vest­ment in sec­tors such as tourism, e-com­merce and agri­cul­tural co­op­er­a­tives, which will help lo­cal herders and farm­ers to re­lo­cate to less hos­tile ar­eas, and peo­ple liv­ing in straight­ened cir­cum­stances will be of­fered train­ing and part-time jobs.

590,000 peo­ple num­ber of peo­ple who are ex­pected to be lifted out of poverty by au­thor­i­ties by 2020 in Ti­bet, which is about 20 per­cent of the re­gional pop­u­la­tion

Lu hopes that ex­pand­ing the cover­age of ed­u­ca­tion will stop poverty be­ing passed down from gen­er­a­tion to gen­er­a­tion.

In Ny­ingchi, a pre­fec­turelevel city in the south­east of the re­gion, the au­thor­i­ties have in­vested nearly 3 mil­lion yuan ($434,000) to help chil­dren from pover­tys­tricken fam­i­lies re­ceive a full ed­u­ca­tion at school. That is in ac­cor­dance with the re­gional gov­ern­ment’s pro­gram to pro­vide a free 15-year ed­u­ca­tion, from kinder­garten to high school, for every child in the re­gion.

Lo­cal au­thor­i­ties also pro­vide every col­lege stu­dent with an an­nual al­lowance of 4,000 yuan for food and tu­ition fees, and a sub­sidy, rang­ing from 500 yuan to 2,500 yuan, to cover the cost of trav­el­ing be­tween home and col­lege.

“The most ef­fec­tive way of re­duc­ing poverty in Ti­bet would be for one child from every fam­ily to grad­u­ate from high school or even col­lege,” Lu said.

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