Students back in school to begin new semester

Yang Meiping
Schools were decorated with loong, or Chinese dragons, as about 2.2 million students returned to the campuses in Shanghai on Monday to begin the new semester.
Yang Meiping

Shot by Dong Jun. Edited by Yang Meiping. Reported by Yang Meiping. Subtitles by Yang Meiping.

About 2.2 million children returned to kindergartens and schools in Shanghai on Monday to begin the new semester.

To celebrate the Year of the Dragon, many schools decorated their campuses with loong, or Chinese dragons.

Students at Minhang Experimental Primary School's Chuncheng Campus dressed up in traditional Chinese costumes featuring dragons and brought gifts for their classmates.

At the gate, they were greeted with a drum and dragon dance performance and given red packets by the school administration.

According to Yang Chenyan, director of the campus' student affairs office, the red packets contained postcards with an award-winning painting by a student, which can be used to express best wishes to classmates while exchanging gifts.

On Monday, the city's education authority also unveiled plans for the year.

According to the Shanghai Education Commission, the city plans to open approximately 40 new schools by 2024, as well as 30 new or renovated kindergartens.

It stated that the majority of newly built or renovated schools and kindergartens are located in densely populated locations, such as the five "new cities," to ensure that children receive a high-quality education close to home.

To meet rising child-care demand, the city plans to create at least 7,000 nursery seats in community facilities and more than 3,000 in public kindergartens this year.

By the end of the year, at least 80 percent of local kindergartens will provide care for children under the age of three, and 80 percent of subdistricts and towns will have "baby houses," or community-based child care facilities, the commission said.

Once schools are built and expanded, the city will be able to welcome 7,000 additional first graders in primary schools and 10,000 more sixth graders in middle schools by the autumn season.

This year, all primary and middle schools will implement project-based learning programs as part of the city's efforts to improve education quality, it noted.

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