Tianzhu Tibetan Autonomous County is the first minority autonomic region
named by Premier Zhou Enlai. The village where Xidatan middle school locates
is the remotest and one of the 7 impoverished villages in Tianzhu County.
The village has the population of 12,638 and minorities----Tibetan, Tu,
Mongolian and Yugu inhabit there. The village is surrounded by mountains
and higher in the south than in the north with the altitude between 2,600
and 4,000 meters. The average temperature is around 0.2¡æ all around the
year, the rainfall is between 350 and 400 millimeter and the period without
frost is 130 days. Drought, frost, hail and insect pest often take place
under the abominable natural condition. The average annual income is only
Students in Xidatan Middle School are all from the poor villages. People
there are struggling to feed themselves. The tuition is no doubt a heavy
burden for the parents who insist on supporting their children¡¯s schooling
despite all the difficulties and believe study is the only way that can
change their lives. Meanwhile, the tough environment fosters the perseverance
of the children.
The summer in 2005 is a special one for the children in Xidatan Middle
School. Professor Zhou from Shanghai Social Science Institute was to visit
some of the member schools of Town and Talent project. At first Xidatan
Middle School was not included in his schedule until he found the website
of the school updated information very quickly. Although Professor Zhou
only stayed in the school for one day, he was so touched by the students¡¯
diligence and optimism and teachers¡¯ selfless sacrifice and astonished
by the backwardness and tatty teaching condition that he decided to give
some help to the school.
Professor Zhou was very interested in the computer teaching, e-business
and village training after the school joined the Town and Talent project.
Yang, the headmaster, gave him a detail introduction. Yang told Zhou that
how the school helped local villagers sell mushroom, beef and swetos by
means of e-business and advertise local products on 17888.com. And the
training program was recognized by the local villagers and government.
Professor Zhou was pleased and excited about the school¡¯s achievements
and the feasibility of Town and Talent developing western regions project
through internet. When Zhou asked about the learning and teaching condition,
Yang appeared embarrassed and they happened to come to the playground.
Zhou asked ¡®Why there is no student play basketball, football or sort
of thing.¡¯ Yang didn¡¯t say anything but looked at the plenty playground
silently. Pu Chen, one teacher accompanying them explained ¡®We once had
one basketball, but in last term we found it went flat and could not be
played anymore. The same thing happened to the football. ¡®Only one basketball?¡¯
Zhou said stunned. Yang responded ¡®I am sorry for that. We are really
in tough condition. In addition, the art and music class can hardly carry
on. The only musical instrument is an accordion that has been used since
I was a student here. It can hardly play all the tones.¡¯ Zhou was shocked
by the indescribable gap between west and east. However, the headmaster
and the teacher seemed getting used to it, because there were too many
schools alike in Xidatan. The students and teachers all have been adapted
to studying and working in such condition-----no basketball, no football
and none of the physical education stuff was available and having the
music lesson with the aged and lousy accordion.
In the lunch, Zhou took out 300 yuan and said ¡®We came in rush and didn¡¯t
take much money. Buy some basketballs and footballs for the children with
it. I hope it would do some help. When I go back, I will try to solve
more problems for you¡¡¡¯ Soon, Xidatan Middle School received 2,000 yuan
for electronic organ by Zhou who expressed he would keep paying attention
to the development of the school.
When the students returned school after summer vacation, they had the
new knowledge as well as new playing stuff. The balls and electronic organ
were very precious in these students¡¯ eyes and they didn¡¯t know how to
describe the encouragement and warmth.
The western people live in the land from generation to generation. They
have been used to the tough environment. While what we need to do is not
just help them solve the current problems but make them know more about
the outside world, broaden their mind and stimulate their confidence and
determination of developing their hometown. And it is also the target
of Town and Talent which brings about new way of thinking and the application
of internet. With more attention and finance, the schools are believed
lead the local economic development.