“Through theoretical and practical study at the Radio and TV University, I have not only learned professional management skills and improved my knowledge level but also broadened my vision and extended my network.

As a result, I have expanded the sales channels and secured market access for the village’s agricultural products.” Winters in West Hunan are freezing cold but the face of the Party Secretary for Guchong Village, Zhijiang Dong Autonomous County, Guaihua City, Hunan Province was full of warmth. As a rural female in her fifties from an minority ethnic area, she has obtained a junior college diploma and could hardly contain her pride.

Long Siqing was a beneficiary of the Ministry of Education’s “One-College-Student-Per-One-Village” programme. Through this training plan, she has not only obtained a junior college diploma but also expanded the villagers’ path to prosperity using the knowledge she has learned. A poverty-stricken village has been transformed into a model village for the construction of new rural areas. Under Long Siqing’s leadership, villagers from over 200 households have planted about 6000 mu (400 hectares) of oranges, generating a total annual output value of nearly 80 million yuan. Over 300 mu (20 hectares) of land has been enclosed to raise chickens and a standardised pig farm with a breeding capacity of over 10,000 pigs has been built.

Cultivating practical professionals to work on targeted poverty alleviation

Since 2004, the “one-college-student-per-one-village” programme, launched by the Ministry of Education (MOE) and implemented by the OUC (the former China Central Radio and TV University), has trained a large number of practical rural professionals and leaders in how to achieve prosperity. They are able to remain in rural areas and achieve real results.

Since 2004, the OUC Hunan Branch has implemented the MOE’s “one-college-student-per-one-village” programme. In Hunan, the programme was updated to the “rural college students training plan” in September 2014, making use of modern information technology and “online/offline” integration.

The Hunan Branch has also further integrated the “rural college students training plan” with “training of leaders in entrepreneurship and wealth in poverty-stricken villages” and put forward a “1+3+1” training model with the guidance of Hunan Provincial Office of Poverty Alleviation and Development. “1” refers to one week of skill training for entrepreneurship and wealth; “3” refers to a three-year “one-college-student-for-one-village” junior college degree education; and the last “1” refers to the learners involved in training leaders in entrepreneurship and wealth creation as lifelong users of Hunan Branch’s “Huxiang Learning Square.” Over the past 14 years, the plan has cultivated over 10,000 leaders who can create wealth for Hunan’s 8,000 impoverished villages, offering significant support for Hunan’s poverty alleviation efforts.

Exploring online and offline targeted teaching models

In order to train a group of outstanding “village cadres, rural prosperity leaders, and rural professional technicians”, Hunan Branch has deployed “order-based” training. Batches of famous teachers and local “native experts” have been invited to give online lectures and offline practical training sessions. It offers practical majors in fields such as rural administration, rural economic management, and animal husbandry and veterinary.

The university fully leverages modern technology and the online space is used as a carrier for online teaching. An individual learning space has been established for each learner to learn autonomously with the help of modern intelligent tools and online platforms. Teachers use the platform to give targeted teaching.

At the same time, the university arranges face-to-face tutorials and practical teaching sessions based on the reality of the students and classes are held directly in the fields. Technology specialists and skilled experts are invited to offer practical guidance so that the learners can grasp at least one practical skill.

With the implementation of the “rural college student training plan”, the Hunan Branch has developed a relatively complete network system and rich digital resources covering urban and rural areas. At least one rural information manager has been trained for Hunan’s 25,000 administrative villages, promoting the development of rural information technology and supporting the construction of “digital Hunan”.

Building a multi-party collaborative mechanism model

In recent years, the Hunan Branch has admitted 5,000-10,000 rural college students every year and has explored a cultivation model incorporating “government support, university leadership, market orientation, and top to bottom links” for rural college students. A work mechanism involving the participation and cooperation of multiple parties has taken shape and was put into practice in 2015.

Government support refers to coordinating the support of education, finance, and human resource and social security departments for the admission, work deployment, tuition subsidies, skills training, and appraisal of rural college students led by the organisation department. In Hunan, each rural college student is given a one-time tuition subsidy of 1,200 CNY by Hunan Provincial Department of Human Resources and Social Security. The rest of the tuition is covered by the city and county finance bureaus and the students. The part paid by the students should not exceed 30%. University leadership refers to the leading role in the talent formation model. Market orientation refers to giving consideration to the job market when setting up majors, curricula, and resources. Top-bottom link refers to the division of work and cooperation inside the OUC system to ensure the talent cultivation quality.

As of the end of 2017, the number of farmers enrolled by the Hunan Branch had reached nearly 100,000, covering all the administrative villages in the province. Around 50,000 students have graduated and the figures for both enrolment and graduates account for one seventh of the the “one-college-student-per–village” programme nationwide, ranking first among OUC branches.

According to incomplete statistics, 85% of the farmer college students cultivated by Hunan Branch serve as village cadres, 60% have become leaders in wealth creation, and 70% have been selected as civil servants following examinations. Some have grown into village and township cadres, becoming leaders in wealth creation; some have started successful businesses, becoming leaders in becoming wealthy through science and technology; and some are committed to rural economic construction, becoming the backbone for the construction of socialist new rural areas.

The learners have taken the lead in attending college and promoting cultural development and good social conduct in new rural areas. It is becoming a new trend “to learn more to become rich” in Hunan’s rural areas and for Hunan’s farmers it is becoming popular to “build all villages into schools and make everyone a student.”

Authors: Ji Lixia and Zheng Haiyan, Famers’ Daily