“The state provides us with free training, together with a 1000-yuan scholarship, which is a real benefit”, said one student who had just received an OUC ”Long March" Poverty-alleviation scholarship on the morning of 20 April, 2019. 78 students each received a scholarship.

The project was launched by the OUC during the period of the 13th Five-Year Plan, and aims to alleviate poverty through education in low-income counties located along the route of the Long March. The plan is to provide degree education at the undergraduate and junior-college levels for free to rural cadres and innovative farmers, and to register all low-income households over the course of four years (2017 to 2020). Yunyang RTVU in Hubei Province is the location of one of only two pilots of the project in the province. The OUC has set up scholarships and grants specifically for it, and on top of the 78 students receiving 1000 yuan, another 400 were awarded an OUC grant of 500 yuan in February of this year.

For the project, the OUC gave Yunyang RTVU more than three million yuan, as well as space for microcomputers and a library.

The Yunyang regional committee and government attach great importance to the project, and have required the organisational department of the regional committee to organise admissions to the pilot classes. The department has charged a deputy director with issuing documents and setting enrolment standards in terms of student quantity and quality, among other tasks. The following groups are targeted for enrolment: children from registered low-income households, who will be taught to assist with poverty alleviation; cadres of village Party-branch and villager committees, reserve cadres, and members of eligible "influential rural families" to be trained as leaders; grassroots front-line cadres to enhance the level of education and ability to do rural work; and those with training in growing tea or mushrooms, doing e-commerce, and other areas, given consideration in view of the characteristics of the targeted regions. The training is also aimed at those who left school after graduating from junior or senior high school. In 2018, more than 250 such students received training.

So far, 273 skilled professionals have been trained, including growers of tea and of shiitake mushrooms, and 163 have received training to enhance their educational backgrounds.

By Cao Junhua and Wang Debin, http://news.e21.cn/