February 04, 2024

Establishing Two “Bridges” to Connect the Hometown of Snacks Across the “Mountain of Education”

In Shaxian, a charming place in Fujian Province renowned for its delectable snacks, the longstanding tradition of prioritizing education remains unbroken, even amid the bustling business scene. In Gaoqiao Town, under the jurisdiction of Shaxian, the tale of top-scorer Zhang Chu has been passed down for millennia.

Yet, faced with limited educational resources, the challenge arises of balancing urban and rural compulsory education resources, particularly against the backdrop of declining township schools. Addressing the needs of left-behind children becomes integral to local compulsory education efforts. To tackle the two interconnected issues, Shaxian District is actively pioneering the “general school system” and leveraging iFLYTEK Smart Classroom to facilitate the sharing of high-quality education resources. Additionally, the implementation of the iFLYTEK Smart Mental Education program, incorporating technology, is ensuring the holistic development of local teenagers. Gaoqiao Central School stands out as a noteworthy example of Shaxian’s education system reform and technological innovation.


A school building in Gaoqiao Central School

1. “General school system” - an educational bridge across urban-rural boundaries

On December 4, 2023, Deng Chuanhai, the principal of Gaoqiao Central School, adhered to his regular schedule and arrived at No. 889 East Jinsha Road, Fenggang, Shaxian District. The purpose was to participate in the weekly meeting of Shaxian No. 1 Middle Branch School in Sanming City. His presence at such meetings is a weekly commitment as he concurrently serves as the deputy principal of the No. 1 Middle Branch School. This dual role is a direct result of Shaxian District’s innovative “general school system” school policy.


The main gate of Shaxian No. 1 Middle Branch School

In 2021, Shaxian District embarked on the exploration of the “general school system,” fostering collaboration by sharing teachers and educational resources between the urban head school and the township branch school. Together, they actively participated in the annual comprehensive evaluation of education and teaching work, uniting for a collective assessment of teaching quality.

Upon assuming the role of principal at Gaoqiao Central School, Deng Chuanhai has initiated enhanced collaboration between the teachers at both schools, particularly in refining teaching plans and curriculum design. He ardently encourages students from Gaoqiao Central School to engage with the art and sports associations of Shaxian No. 1 Middle Branch School, participating in events such as sports meetings and art exhibitions.

Over the past 30 years, despite significant strides in rural education, the persistent gap between urban and rural basic education remains a bottleneck for overall educational development. In Shaxian District, Sanming City, the “general school system” has emerged as a vital bridge, fostering the exchange of urban and rural educational resources, and facilitating the flow of high-quality educational assets between the urban and rural areas.

However, it’s crucial to acknowledge that the objective distance between the head and branch schools poses a substantial challenge to the development of Gaoqiao Central School. The journey from Gaoqiao Town to Shaxian District requires over half an hour of driving, and navigating through winding mountain roads. How can frequent and efficient communication between teachers and students from both schools be effectively promoted? iFLYTEK Smart Classroom serves as a platform, fostering seamless exchange opportunities for educators and students between the two schools.


Smart Classroom in use

Ms. Zhang, a recent graduate from a teacher training college, born in the 2000s, is a young teacher at Gaoqiao Central School. To support her professional development, the school has thoughtfully paired her with a seasoned teacher from the No. 1 Middle Branch School. “Typically, I search for some teaching materials using Smart Classroom, tailor them to fit my approach, and promptly share them with my mentor. She offers guidance or makes direct modifications, making the process very convenient!” In township schools where teacher shortages are common and every teacher’s schedule is packed, Smart Classroom aids them in lesson preparation, alleviating the teaching burden. Moreover, it fosters enhanced communication among teachers, facilitating the exchange of high-quality educational resources and advanced teaching concepts, ultimately benefiting every student.

2. Smart Mental Education - a bridge of the soul cultivating emotional bonds

“Teaching a child well can transform an entire family. Education extends beyond the mere transmission of knowledge to nurturing the wholesome and joyful development of children.” These are the words of Liu, a second-grade class teacher. While Smart Classroom addresses the challenge of efficiently sharing high-quality educational resources, there remain issues such as numerous left-behind students, hefty teaching responsibilities, and the limited energy of teachers. How can the psychological well-being of each student be well attended to? The introduction of iFLYTEK Smart Mental Education at Gaoqiao Central School finally provided a solution. Liu shared a seemingly insignificant story with us.

“My daughter is finally talking to me!” Late one night, Liu received a phone call from the parents of a student surnamed Zhang. Throughout the conversation, the parents consistently expressed their gratitude. For quite a while, their daughter had been unresponsive to their calls. Recently, she has finally shown a willingness to communicate. Like many students, her parents have been managing snack diners elsewhere, and Zhang has been residing in her hometown, studying, and living with her grandmother.

“In class, she is usually introverted and does not speak much. We didn’t anticipate that she would be having issues with her parents,” Liu explained. The psychological counselor identified through the Smart Mental Education program that Zhang’s stress and anxiety levels were elevated recently, with signs of increasing depression tendencies. Through conversations and timely interventions, we learned about underlying conflicts with her parents. After several sessions of psychological counseling, Zhang started to open up emotionally.

iFLYTEK Smart Mental Education program serves as an integrated solution for both individual schools and the broader district. The application and services at the school level play a vital role in helping Gaoqiao Central School effectively manage practical aspects of mental health efforts. Furthermore, they contribute essential data and practical experiences that are valuable for district-level application and services in Shaxian District. The district-level application and services utilize the analyzed school-level data to provide professional guidance, enhancing the overall management and coordination of mental health initiatives across schools in the district.

At the school level, the Smart Mental Education platform equips educators with tools and resources by establishing a comprehensive evaluation system that encompasses overall and detailed aspects, diagnoses, and prevention, as well as outcomes and processes. The platform suggests course materials and counseling resources for psychology teachers, facilitating their daily teaching and counseling activities. Additionally, it offers personalized development advice and self-help exercises for students.

In Gaoqiao Central School and throughout Shaxian District, there are quite a few left-behind students like Zhang. Deng Chuanhai explained that the percentage of left-behind students in Gaoqiao Central School exceeds 60%. The absence of family education and limited communication with parents pose potential risks to their well-being and overall happiness. The practical implementation of the Smart Mental Education program offers a “scientific and technological” safeguard for the mental health of students at Gaoqiao Central School.


The school nestled amid verdant hills

From the front-row classrooms of Gaoqiao Central School, one can gaze upon lush green mountains enveloped in clouds and mist. What lies beyond these peaks? For the students of Gaoqiao Central School, it’s the vibrant Sanming City, located dozens of kilometers away, the hardworking parents managing snack diners hundreds of kilometers away, and the promising horizon they aspire to reach as they grow up. By constructing the “bridge” of technology and scaling the “mountain” of education, the children in the “Hometown of Snacks” will ultimately step onto a more expansive stage of life.

Author: Yueguang

Executive Editor: Zhoumo