Young teacher lights path to better education for rural children

(Xinhua) 08:50, May 30, 2023

Aynagul Bagjuli has lunch with students at Jamatirki Middle School in Akto County, northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, April 19, 2023. (Xinhua/Ding Lei)

URUMQI, May 29 (Xinhua) -- From her classroom window, Aynagul Bagjuli caught a glimpse of the blooming flowers under the clear blue sky and had a spur-of-the-moment idea. "Boys and girls, let's go downstairs and have our class in the garden!"

Out there in the spring air of the Pamir Plateau, Aynagul Bagjuli taught her students "Late Spring," a classic poem written by a famous poet from the Tang Dynasty (618-907). "The idea just popped up when I saw the splendid view in the garden. I was eager to immerse my students in the enchanting ambiance of springtime."

The 27-year-old of the Kirgiz ethnic group teaches literature at Jamatirki Middle School in Akto County, in China's westernmost Kizilsu Kirgiz Autonomous Prefecture in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.

Aynagul Bagjuli teaches literature at Jamatirki Middle School in Akto County, northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, April 19, 2023. (Xinhua/Ding Lei)

Less than three years into her teaching job, Aynagul Bagjuli has won widespread recognition from her colleagues and students thanks to her passion and extraordinary teaching skills.

Aynagul Bagjuli is a native of Akto, a small county where over 90 percent of the land is mountainous terrain more than 4,000 meters above sea level. Life there is tough due to the harsh natural environment that hinders economic development.

Aynagul Bagjuli spent her high school years in Wenzhou, a boom city in the eastern province of Zhejiang, which is over 5,000 kilometers from her home. Later, she studied at the Capital Normal University in Beijing.

She is among more than 100,000 students from Xinjiang's remote and poverty-stricken areas to have received better education in the central and eastern regions of China, under a program financed by the central government since 2000.

The program, which aims at cultivating professionals among all ethnic groups in Xinjiang, covers part of their tuition and living expenses, including accommodation and transportation.

Aynagul Bagjuli's father died when she was three, leaving her mother to eke out a living alone, while also raising three children. "Without the government-sponsored program, I would not have even dreamed of going anywhere outside Xinjiang, let alone attending university in the capital," she said.

Before securing a teaching job in her hometown, Aynagul Bagjuli traveled to several cities and villages in different provinces, learning about diverse cultures and histories. She loves sharing her own experience with her students and believes this is an effective way to arouse their interest.

When introducing a prose about a place she has visited, she shares photos or videos featuring local food and landscapes, offering her students a more intuitive understanding of the place.

Tuhannim Yasin, 15, a student in Aynagul Bagjuli's class, said she admired her teacher. "We all adore her. She has opened a new window for me and convinced us that everyone can have their own wonderful story."

This aerial photo taken on April 19, 2023 shows students doing class-break setting-up exercise at Jamatirki Middle School in Akto County, northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. (Xinhua/Ding Lei)

Ani Kadir, principal of the middle school, said that over 80 percent of the staff are energetic young teachers under 35 years old. Apart from their proactive approaches and passionate, creative ways of teaching, these young teachers are also highly responsible, he said.

Aynagul Bagjuli gave up several employment opportunities in cities to return to her hometown in Xinjiang. "These children need me more," she said, adding that she desires to repay society by lighting the path for the younger generation to receive better education.

"What I am doing is very meaningful. And I hope that my students can also explore the wonderful world and chase their own dreams with interest and passion," she added.

A growing number of young professionals like Aynagul Bagjuli are pursuing their dreams and inking their own stories in Xinjiang, as the region undergoes rapid economic and social development thanks to the central government's preferential policies to foster its growth.

Meanwhile, the Chinese government has continuously improved its education policy and stepped up financial support for remote and impoverished areas.

(Web editor: Zhang Kaiwei, Liang Jun)


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