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Education is everybody’s human right. It means that no girl shall be excluded from school, regardless of poverty, cultural resistance or unwillingness. The United Nations Children’s Fund has identified educating girls as a uniquely positive force for development. Regions that invest in girls’ education see a positive socioeconomic cycle, with better educated future generations, higher GDP growth and a healthier population(1).
In China, there is a huge gap between rural and urban schools in terms of resources and infrastructure. Online learning is an effective way to develop students’ skills and provide training to village teachers.
Ping An has been actively supporting rural area education on multiple fronts: building schools, providing information and communication technology, and recruiting volunteer teachers.
Let’s look at how Ping An’s volunteers are bringing education to young girls in rural China.
Huang Chukun was born in the 1990s in a small county in northern China. She is currently studying at Nanjing University(2). In 2022, she signed up to become a member of the Ping An Life Insurance Volunteer Teaching Team. She wants to show rural girls, from her own experience, how a good education can change their lives, taking them out of the deep mountains into a world of opportunities.
Diverse courses, delivered through online volunteer teaching program, bring quality education to rural children.
Remote villages in China typically lack learning resources and qualified teachers. To make up for this, Ping An volunteer teachers have developed a range of innovative courses for subjects such as sports, science, art and health.
The Classroom Over the Cloud online courses have been established by Ping An volunteer teachers all over the country using the technology resources of the Ping An Group.
Huang Chukun developed an online geography course called Traveling around China Over the Cloud for fifth and sixth graders. The course introduces them to basic geography knowledge, China’s natural features, and local customs to prepare them for formal geography lessons in junior high school.
The course uses ancient Chinese poems and extensive pictures to contextualize geography knowledge. It provides students with an immersive learning experience and takes them on a virtual trip around the vast, beautiful 9.6 million square kilometers of China.
Online courses like these are available in 105 rural schools across the country. Ping An Volunteer Teaching launched the Classroom Over the Cloud project to provide livestreamed classes on a regular basis. The aim is to provide rural children with similar high-quality educational resources and services available to those in first-tier cities, and to close the gap between urban and rural education. In the past year, Ping An Volunteer Teaching offered 3,592 distance education courses to more than 10,000 rural children in 27 provinces and cities.
Ping An is also helping rural children access education from subject matter experts through a variety of programs on the Internet. The Ping An Charity Foundation and the China Next Generation Education Foundation, supported by Science and Technology Daily, co-sponsored the Youth Science Literacy Promotion Program. Recently, the program’s Scenario-Based Master Classes offered a tour of the Shanghai Planetarium, the world’s largest planetarium, bringing knowledge of the solar system to thousands of rural pupils, attracting more than 4.4 million viewers.
In 2022, despite COVID-19, three master classes were produced in collaboration with multiple “sanctuaries of popular science”, including the Shanghai Planetarium, the Institute of Acoustics of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and the China Watermelon Museum. These courses have been popular with participating teachers and students as well as the public, attracting nearly 14 million views. At the same time, 60 popular science videos were launched in three series – Great Scientist, Everything about Science, and Science Across Borders – with more than 23.6 million views.
The Internet has enabled rural children to access knowledge in agricultural science, life science, aerospace, intelligent manufacturing and artificial intelligence, without leaving their homes. The Youth Science Literacy Promotion Program has brought high-quality science education to 1,039 rural schools in 27 provinces (autonomous regions and municipalities directly under the Central Government), benefiting more than 310,000 rural pupils.
These online activities have also made more teaching staff available to rural areas as volunteers are now able to teach beyond the limits of time and space. Since 2015, Ping An has been using the Internet to launch innovative education charity initiatives via both online and offline methods, which have broadened the horizons of rural teenagers and empowered them with more opportunities.
To date, Ping An has built 119 Ping An Hope Primary Schools across the country and recruited over 10,000 volunteer teachers. Ping An has also trained 14,110 rural teachers, benefiting more than 310,000 rural students.
The education charity efforts of Ping An have also supported teenage students. Since 2003, Ping An has been offering scholarships to encourage students across the country to conduct academic research, explore new ideas and theories, and contribute to the development of the country. In the past 18 years, more than 5,900 outstanding students have been awarded more than RMB20 million in scholarships.
(2) Nanjing University is ranked 95th in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2023