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People's Daily Online>>China Society

Funds sought to help educate kids in rural west (3)

By He Dan  (China Daily)

08:26, November 16, 2011

Local farmers welcomed the program. A survey polling 1,242 parents showed 79 percent of the respondents saying that their children made "remarkable progress" after receiving free early childhood education, according to the statistics provided by the foundation.

"My daughter joined the early childhood education classes a year ago. Now she can sing many songs and count to 10," He Jiahai, father of a 4-year-old girl in Xundian Hui and Yi autonomous county in Yunnan, told China Daily on the phone.

"She has become more independent and polite than before," he said. Earlier, he was spending 200 yuan a month to send his daughter to the nearest kindergarten which was more than an hour's walk away.

For Geng Shaoxian, 31, who has been teaching in Yunnan's two teaching sites since 2010, a monthly salary of 1,200 yuan is not the biggest motivation to get up at 5 am and bike her way on bumpy roads for two hours everyday - a trip she has been taking for the past two years.

"Whenever I visit a student's home, parents keep saying 'thank you, teacher Geng' and hand in a cup of hot tea," Geng said. "That makes me feel what I have done is meaningful."

However, she added that the paucity of funds to buy toys and textbooks for children remained a big problem.

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