Editor's note: In order to implement the spirit of Opinions on Further Promoting the development of Community Education (shortened as "Opinions") jointly issued by the Ministry of Education and eight other ministries and commissions, to showcase the practical results of the system of the Open University of China in community education, and to publicise the OUC’s important role in constructing a lifelong education system, from November 8th to 12th 2016, the OUC News Centre organised a group of journalists under the theme A Trip to the OUC: Stepping into Community Education to enjoy an in-depth study of community education in Sichuan Province. The reporters’ group was composed of the Xinhua News Agency, People's Daily, China Education News, China Youth Daily, Farmers Daily, China Society News, China.org.cn, Online Learning and other media groups. The OUC’s news network will reproduce the interviews of the reporters in this column. We sincerely hope you will enjoy this feature.
Inside a fruit warehouse of Tianbang Fruit Cooperative in Liujia town, Rongxian county, Sichuan province, the members of the cooperative were busy storing the fresh citrus just picked from the trees with a method of air modification, while the sales manager, Yu Zhong, was busy with contacts to sell the citrus.
A returned migrant worker, Yu Zhong, learnt through community education of the "Air Modified" fresh storage method, a new technology for the fresh preservation of fruit obtained by adjusting the air. Yu told the reporter that fruits kept with the technology not only can be kept for a longer duration, but also are environmentally friendly and healthier. Therefore, they can be sold at a better price.
Sichuan is a large province with many migrant farmers. In recent years, migrant workers continue to increase. How to encourage local entrepreneurship has become an important research topic. Relying on the resources of the Radio and Television University (RTVU) system, Sichuan province has established and improved a community education system at the three levels of province, municipality and county across the province and has carried out large-scale activities to bring community education into rural areas.
"Through community education training, Yu Zhong mastered the new preservation technology and became a senior salesman of citrus. His customers are spread around the whole country. Currently he is also selling the fruit of the cooperative to Southeast Asian countries", Liu Jinrong, deputy chief of Liujia township, told the reporter.
In the Dawupo village, the reporter met up with the 50 year old Xie Guangzhong, a large grower of citrus. He put his large, calloused hands on the reporter's shoulders and said, "Last year, I earned 600 thousand yuan. This year, I expect to earn 1.8 million yuan."
Xie Guangzhong started working outside the village in his thirties, earning next to nothing for more than ten years. By random chance, he participated in the planting technology training held by Rongxian Community College in his village. He was soon overwhelmed with a passion for training and never missed another chance to attend. After mastering certain skills, he decided to put his knowledge into practice.
Last year, he transformed 260 mu (17.342 hectares) of land at a fruit farm in Dawupo village, and applied high grafting of the citrus to improve the breed. In one year alone, he earned about 600,000 yuan. Becoming aware of the benefits, he started to transform another 400 mu (26.68 hectares) of the orchards of Dawupo village, Lailong village and Bajiao village. "According to this year’s estimates, the output value can be 3 million yuan. After factoring in the costs, this year’s net earnings will be 1.8 million yuan," said Xie Guangzhong.
In recent years, relying on the resources of the Community College (RTVU), Rongxian county has established instruction centres for community education in townships, set up training stations in villages and organised a variety of skills training in planting, farming and marketing for the villagers. Deputy governor of Rongxian county, Ni Zhiyong, said that, seeing the current situation, the effect is obvious. Large growers such as Xie Guangzhong have emerged and marketing experts such as Yu Zhong have appeared as well.
It is understood that, at present, the enthusiasm of farmers to learn about a variety of practical technological methods is very high. "In each training session, the classroom was fully occupied. A learning society is being formed in the rural areas of Rongxian county. And the new type of farmers are starting to emerge", Chief of Rongxian Education Bureau,Yi Jingshui,told the reporter.
To bring community education into the countryside, Rongxian is just a micro-chasm of what is being accomplished across Sichuan. In Tunzi village, Longshan Town, Cangxi County, Guangyuan City, after Lai Qingxue, a returned migrant farmer, learned about modern planting technology through community education, he led the villagers in planting high-quality red cored kiwi fruit. In the last year alone, per capita income in the whole village has increased 3,000 yuan. After Deng Xingyang, a villager in Yongshou village, Huangdian township, Yanting County, Mianyang city, returned home from working outside, he started to run a farm in the village after learning cultivation technology through community education and took his first steps on the road to wealth.
By Lv Qingfu, Xinhuanet