Program to link suburban schools with downtown educational institutions

The first batch of 76 schools is to benefit from the program in the next three years. They will be assisted with school management, teaching and special course development.

Shanghai Education Commission has launched a program to pair up suburban and countryside schools with educational institutions in downtown to boost the city's education quality and balance the gap between downtown and outskirts schools.

A total of 76 schools and educational institutions will benefit from the program over the next three years.

These include Luodian No. 2 Middle School in Baoshan District, which opened in September with 61 sixth graders.

“I am performing the duty of principal for the first time and most of our teachers are graduates fresh out of universities, so we really need assistance from mature schools both in management and teaching,” said Jia Xingwen, principal of the school.

Its students mainly come from families relocated to  Luodian Town from Hongkou, Jing’an and Yangpu districts, villages around the town and migrant families.

“The gap is huge among students as some have enjoyed high-quality education in downtown schools, while some others have such a poor foundation in learning that they got single-digit scores in tests,” he added. “It also brings more difficult challenges for us and we wish for more educational expertise to guide our teachers.”

The program is an updated version of a previous project inaugurated in 2007 to entrust downtown schools to administrate suburban and countryside ones to improve their education quality.

About 200 schools in five batches have enjoyed the service in the past 10 years, benefiting about 160,000 students.

The new program has expanded the service to multilevel cooperation, ranging from comprehensive management to partnership in a single program.

Changjiang Primary School in Chongming District has benefited over administration assistance from Shanghai Successful Education Management Consulting Center.

Huang Chunrong, the principal, said it had turned the school's education from test-oriented to student-oriented and made the teaching more interesting for children.

The program had also helped the school develop a water-themed park on campus to carry out various courses for students to learn about bridges, boats and other cultural, historical and scientific knowledge.

Huang said the students became more confident and cheerful as a result.

“Some of our teachers even have won prizes with research papers based on the changes in our school, which has never happened in the past,” said Huang.

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