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Makeshift classrooms open for kids of migrant workers in BJ

06-01-2011 08:45 BJT

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Wednesday marks International Children's Day, and as many children enjoy their festival in various ways, this is not the case for the offspring of migrant workers. Without Beijing residency, these kids have their difficulty attending local public schools. But now, a capital-based NGO is providing free afternoon support for youths who often receive sub-standard education, and face grim futures.

The school day has ended at private schools, but the lessons are not over for students heading to their local community center, a very different sort of classroom.

The makeshifts facilities at the Beijing Heiqiao Community Center are aimed at providing cheap and portable after-school support for the children of China's floating migrant worker population.

A capital-based NGO is providing free afternoon support for youths who often
receive sub-standard education, and face grim futures.

Chia Yin, Manager of Compassion for Migrant Children's Community said "So what we have seen and with our after-school program, what we are really trying to do, is encourage interest in learning, and hopefully that will encourage them to stay in the education system longer as well."

With all programs and classes provided free-of-charge, the center is popular, and there are now 150 children registered. The evening is divided into hour-long sessions. Teachers spend the first hour overseeing homework, with sports and art classes afterward.

A capital-based NGO is providing free afternoon support for youths who often
receive sub-standard education, and face grim futures.

Li Jianjing, 9-year-old student said "The homework the teacher gives us to do in the evenings is quite hard. Here we can ask the teacher for help, if we can't do it, and that is why we come here."

Heiqiao's local private school has more than 600 students, and class sizes range from 30 to 50 pupils. Many of them drop out when they reach the age of 14 or 15, to join their parents working long hours for little pay.

Education is not the only challenge. Temporary housing for migrant workers often falls victim to urban development, and makeshift classrooms are a portable solution to the biggest problem facing the kids.

Chia Yin said "So, these classrooms, they are built out of shipping containers. They are completely renovated. In the event we need to move because of urban development, we can just pick up these containers, and move with the families as well."

The government counted 261.4 million Chinese "migrant" workers in 2010. Most of them are farmers from the poor inland areas, who moved to cities and coastal industrial zones to find work.

Their children are often in dire need of decent education. The makeshift classrooms could be a better way to a more bright future.

Editor:Xiong Qu |Source: CNTV.CN

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