With a view to raise the overall education level in China, the Amity Foundation has launched a special program to develop the schools in various provinces in China.
The Chinese Christian-based independent, voluntary organization has started with the grassroots to bring out the reform. The Five-Year School Development Program will help the development of teacher training schools in some poor, underdeveloped areas. While the level of education in these colleges will rise to a higher level, the overall education level in China can thus be guaranteed.
According to investigative sources, education in rural China is very poor. Many schools fail to meet national standards for such basic facilities as chairs, desks, and safe drinking water. More importantly, many teachers are not qualified due to the lack of proper training.
Schools that involved in the Five-Year School Development Program will be offered foreign language teachers, scholarships to young members of faculty to assist in their professional development, and leadership training opportunities for school leaders. Amity has also been helping them build up their foreign language libraries, which required a lot of foreign resources that are very scarce in Mainland China.
According to Amity Foundation, the first colleges chosen to pilot this program are Xinyu Teachers College in Jiangxi Province and Youjiang Teachers College for Minority Nationalities in Baise, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.
Graduates from the college in Youjiang mostly go on to serve as middle school teachers in local minority nationality communities. However, the above colleges are badly underdeveloped in terms of their educational personnel, capacities, facilities and capabilities.
In addition, given the sharp increases in student enrollment in universities and colleges, it is now common for small colleges to suffer from a severe shortage of teachers and there is an urgent need for faculty development if academic standards are to be maintained, according to Amity Foundation.
Amity initiated the Young Faculty Development Scholarship in 1996 to support and promote the quality of young faculty who serve local teachers colleges in underdeveloped areas. A report from July, 2004 shows that 85 institutions from 18 provinces of China have benefited from the program.
The Five-Year School Development Program expects to see tremendous effect as well.