This year we offer conference T-shirts. Conference participants can purchase them on site. We will donate the proceeds to the Rural China Education Foundation (RCEF).
RCEF is an international volunteer-based organization that strives to redefine the purpose of education for rural China by creating and applying innovative and pragmatic educational methods for rural students.
RCEF’s mission is to promote education that prepares rural children to deal with life challenges and make improvements in their communities. This is important because today’s rural children represent the future of China and its development. The kind of education they receive shapes the kind of citizens they become.
Unfortunately, the vast majority of rural children today drop out during or immediately after middle school (9th grade). This is not solely due to economic constraints, however. In
fact, the Chinese government recently abolished tuition in rural
elementary and middle schools while income of rural families has
increased as a result of migrant work.
Problems of rural education lie at a level beyond that of financial constraints—in the goals and contents of the curriculum, and in the teaching methodology. In a system that is largely exam-centered, students have few opportunities to learn and practice life-relevant skills so many greatly dislike school and lose interest in learning. Further, children are taught that the purpose of schooling is to escape the problems of their rural homes, not to apply what they learned to solve those problems. Rural education currently offers little real hope or practical skills for students to improve their lives and produces few citizens able to bring revive and develop rural areas.
What would it be like if rural education instead helps rural children to cultivate analytical skills, community pride, and a sense that they can apply knowledge to bring about improvements to the very situations they want to escape from? This is RCEF’s quest. Bringing together rural teachers, academics, and volunteers from inside China and abroad, we support the design and implementation of new curriculum and teaching methods. RCEF’s goal is to document these teaching methods and disseminate them so that more educators can feel inspired and equipped to teach rural children to become problem solvers and innovators who will make a difference for China’s development.
You can support RECF’s work as a volunteer and/or a donor! Visit www.ruralchina.org for more information.