A Chinese proverb says: "You can predict a child's future by the time he is three years old." Therefore, preschool education is of vital importance to children. Dayi county is located on the outskirts of Chengdu, and was one of the hardest-hit areas during the May 12 Wenchuan earthquake. Chengdu RTVU and the Dayi Education Bureau have pledged to cooperate in training preschool teachers so as to tackle problems such as the lack of adequate training for teachers, insufficient number of trained professionals, lack of learning and training resources, and so on.
On the morning of May 4, the Chendu RTVU held “The Opening Ceremony for Dayi Preschool Teacher Training Project in 2013 and the First Expert Lecture” organized by Chengdu RTVU, which was attended by distinguished leaders and experts, including: Miao Peibin, vice president of Chengdu RTVU; Liu Gang and Bao Lei, deputy directors of the Dayi Education Bureau; Yu Wenlin, head of the Personnel Section; Huang Sufang, head of the Education Section; Xiang Tong, president of the Dayi Teachers’ Continuing Education Institute; and Zhang Jiarong, director of the Academic Committee of Kindergarten Principals of the Sichuan Tao Xingzhi Study Association; and so on.
The project's first training class, with more than 100 participants from rural preschools in Dayi county, was a success. Chengdu RTVU was able to obtain the support of local government and academic associations who contributed not only material resources but also favorable policies. The Dayi Education Bureau launched a special fund to subsidize the training project and required individual kindergartens to match the level of support. This policy guarantees sufficient training funds and stimulates participation. The Academic Committee of Kindergarten Principals of the Sichuan Tao Xingzhi Study Association will supervise teaching quality, including teaching plans, curriculum design, teaching methods, teaching staff, and practicals, in order to make full use of the project resources in providing a comprehensive training programme to preschool teachers, which integrates degree education with on-the-job training. Chengdu RTVU regards this project as one of its model research projects for 2013, and hopes to establish an effective training programme that can be replicated.
During the opening ceremony, Deputy President Miao Zhibin delivered the welcoming speech. He introduced the training project’s background, goals, and significance as well as the measures taken to guarantee the quality of teaching activities. He encouraged the trainees to cherish this rare opportunity to improve both knowledge and ability.
Ms. Zhang Jiarong, director of the Academic Committee of Kindergarten Principals of the Sichuan Tao Xingzhi Study Association and Chengdu RTVU's leading expert in the field of preschool education, delivered an excellent speech focusing on “joy”, “appreciation”, and “hope”. As an expert of preschool education with 30 years’ experience, she was excited to see so many preschool teachers coming together. She said that she could sense Dayi county's bright future in preschool education and was appreciative of Chengdu RTVU's initiative in allocating resources to promote preschool education. According to Ms. Zhang, people can see within every child the adult he will become, making the job of rural preschool teacher training a rewarding course, but also one with many challenges. She felt particularly moved and expressed her willingness to provide infinite learning opportunities to the trainees in the areas of improving teaching ability and practical training.
Deputy Director of the Dayi Education Bureau Bao Lei, who is in charge of preschool education, highly praised the cooperation between the Dayi Education Bureau and Chengdu RTVU. The innovative training project aims to create a new way to help rural teachers continue to make progress in both knowledge and ability, thereby improving the overall quality of Dayi preschool education. She also proposed the following requirements to the trainees: 1. Try to be studious and good at studying. Just as the old Chinese saying goes: “There are no shortcuts in studying”, and “He who knows the truth is not equal to him who loves it, and he who loves it is not equal to him who delights in it”, the trainees should realize the importance of preschool education and be studious and good at learning. On the other hand, the Dayi Education Bureau will look for talented teachers for the sustainable development of preschool education in Dayi; 2. Create a peaceful learning environment. Kindergartens are required to create favorable conditions for employees participating in the training programme. Additionally, certain measures will be taken to guarantee a safe learning environment; 3. Endeavor to apply the lessons. The trainees should work hard to put into practice the things they are learning; 4. Be dedicated to and delighted by teaching. She quoted Liang Qichao to encourage trainees: Focus on the task at hand and be delighted and motivated by it in order to further enhance professionalism and quality.
Deputy Director of the Dayi Education Bureau Liu Gang, who is in charge of personnel management, gave the opening ceremony's concluding address. According to him, the government attaches great importance to preschool education and advances in preschool education are related to the quality of the teachers. Therefore, the government has decided to cultivate a passionate, devoted teaching staff of high quality. However, the following problems still exist: 1. Severe teacher shortage. Each classroom is required to be equipped with two teachers and a nurse. However, most rural private kindergartens only supply one or two teachers to each classroom. More than 100 teachers are still needed to meet the criterion mentioned above; 2. Insufficient number of trained professionals. It is estimated that rural teachers who possess a teacher certification for preschool education amount to less than 40% of the total in Dayi county; 3. Inadequate professional training. According to statistics, most preschool teachers in Dayi county haven’t received any professional training. Merely 30% of the trainees graduated from a vocational secondary preschool education programme; 4. Lack of learning and training resources. He explained that this training project was not only an important move initiated by Dayi Education Bureau to further improve the quality of rural preschool teachers, but also a livelihood project that concerns preschool education. He also encouraged trainees to cherish this rare opportunity to make progress in both knowledge and ability, while obtaining their degrees, diplomas or certificates.
After the opening ceremony, preschool education expert Wang Yulu from the Sichuan Tao Xingzhi Study Association delivered an expert lecture named Analysis on Early Learning and Development Guidelines for 3-6 Year Old Children.
By Peng Tao, Chengdu RTVU