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Xinjiang Poverty Battle: Improved education raises rural children’s hopes

“When I was in grade one here, we didn’t have computers and our teachers just wrote on the blackboard. Now, teachers give lessons to us with multimedia equipment,” said the fourth grader.

The vast region of southern Xinjiang has long been stuck in deep poverty due to harsh natural conditions and a weak economic foundation. For quite a long time, there have been no decent public facilities, including schools. For many families, making a living used to be their top priority, not education. In some counties, the average level of education is just about sixth grade.

As the anti-poverty battle pushes on, children’s schooling is no longer a heavy burden.

“The children can enjoy all kinds of preferential policies. No tuition fees are necessary, and they are provided with free meals, heating and textbooks, among other items,” Cheng Shangcai, the Party Secretary of the Sunshine Elementary School, told CGTN.

All students in southern Xinjiang, including Kashgar, Kizilsu, Aksu and Hotan, can enjoy free education for 15 years – from kindergarten to high school, to ensure each child can enjoy equal educational resources and will not be left behind.