CSF’s vision is to transform rural China’s primary schools into progressive laboratories of learning through an holistic, ‘whole school’ approach that implements measured improvements to the entire constellation of rural school needs.
The key objective is to foster progressive teaching and learning by two principal means: first, supplementing the official curriculum with a wealth of hands-on learning resources; second, improving pedagogy with a library of videotaped model lessons that integrate textbook, supplemental resources, and progressive teaching methodologies. Model lessons are being developed in collaboration with educators in domestic and overseas institutions, delivered by master teachers in rural school settings, and videotaped for wide distribution to project schools and education bureaus.
Educational reform in a country of 200,000 rural schools cannot be effected by non-governmental organizations alone. CSF’s goal, therefore, is for local and provincial Education Bureaus to adopt and implement its programs independently throughout their respective districts. To this end, CSF’s package of school improvements and support is comparatively inexpensive and highly scalable. Savings realized by renovating existing schools (in place of new construction typically favored by government agencies) can easily cover the costs of implementing programs that more directly affect student learning and welfare.
The need to create productive futures for children in rural China beginning with their early education has an importance of profound social, economic and political dimensions, nationally and internationally, recognized at the highest policy-making levels in China. In reality, however, the effort is hindered by unfavorable school conditions and a lack of programs at local levels to promote creative and independent thinking in a stimulating learning environment required to address that critical need.
How China responds to this challenge has great implications for the lives of its 110 million primary school students. It also brings into focus the larger question of what the cost and consequences will be if the nation fails to convert this human capital into a productive force that can easily integrate with and bring value to an increasingly sophisticated domestic and global economy in which China plays such an important part.
CSF founders and staff bring dedication and experience to the challenge, but most of all, the hope and expectation that individuals, institutions and companies will contribute their talents and resources to the important cause of educational reform in rural China.