Students in Rural China Must Bring Own Desks to School

By Sophia Fang, Epoch Times
September 6, 2012 Updated: October 1, 2015
bring their own desks and chairs to school
Three thousand students in Shunhe Township, Macheng City in central China's Hubei Province have to bring their own desks and chairs to school. (Screenshot from NTD Television)

Back-to-school shopping for many elementary students in rural parts of China’s Hubei Province means buying desks and chairs to bring to class.

Five-year-old Lu Siling from Nangang Village, Shunhe Township of Hubei Province had her desk transported to school tied on her mother’s motorcycle, Changjiang Times said in a Sept. 3 report.

Lu Siling’s father told Changjiang Times that he had traveled several miles around the neighborhood, asking at every house for a desk and a chair he could borrow for his daughter. “Finally we got one,” he said.

At the Shunhe Township elementary school, 3,000 out of 5,000 students have to bring their own desks and chairs, according to Changjiang Times.

Zhong Fuhai, the school’s principle, also spent the last few days before the beginning of school looking for extra desks and chairs for children whose parents work and live out of town most of the year.

“In many cases, our students’ parents work in the cities, and the kids are left at home with elderly grandparents,” Zhong explained.

Such is the case of 6-year-old Wang Han. Her grandmother carried Wang Han’s and her brother’s chairs and desks on her back on the first day of school, Changjiang Times said.

Ms. Chen from Lindian, another village in Shunhe Township, told New Tang Dynasty (NTD) Television that the schools in her town don’t have desks or chairs either; it’s been like this for several decades. “Everyone brings their own desks and chairs to school,” she said.

A communist village official of Lindian, who was contacted by NTD for comments, first admitted that some kids needed to bring their own desks, but later denied any knowledge of it.

Sun Wenguang, a former professor at China’s Shandong University, said the Chinese regime is wasting large amounts of money on military spending and on repressing the people, instead of spending money on education.

“The regime spends money on large projects to boost its image, such as the Olympics, which wasted 290 billion yuan [US$46 billion], but it will not invest in education. Many elementary schools’ budgets are very short,” Sun told NTD.

Liao Ran, a China news analyst said on Radio Free Asia that many schools use education funds for other things. “Although the Chinese constitution says that compulsory education is free, it’s in fact a lie,” he said.

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