This photo, which was taken by Chinese amateur photographer Fuyang Zhou in Jiangxi province, won the first prize at the Hamdan International Photography Awards. It shows what seems to be an improvised classroom, with a dirt floor and mud walls, which serve as a blackboard.
In many villages of inland provinces with high rates of outflow migration, only children and old people remain. Remittances from parents working in the cities are usually the largest source of revenues for the village. The incentive for urbanisation from the government often means schools in remote villages are closed and schoolchildren are sent off to boarding schools located in larger towns. However, many local governments lack the resources to build enough boarding schools. Many of them have serious hygiene and safety issues1. Besides, the entry age at boarding schools is usually set at 6 years old. The most important problem is the shortage of good teachers. It is not only low salaries and heavy workload that deter teachers from moving to small villages, but especially isolation and the distance to urban areas. Thus, the teacher turnover rate is high. In spite of this, those willing to stay do not lack motivation and usually develop close bonds of friendship with the community.
For more information about the photo awards click here: http://www.hipa.ae/en/.
- http://www.clb.org.hk/en/files/share/File/research_reports/Children_of_Migrant_Workers.pdf, last accessed 20 March, 2014 [↩]