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China Foundation and Starbucks Train Rural Teachers
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China and the US on Tuesday kicked off a training program for China's rural teachers in Chengdu, capital of southwestern Sichuan Province.

The first 500 teachers to be trained are from Yunnan Province, Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, Shaanxi Province, Sichuan Province and Chongqing Municipality, all in the country's west.

They will undergo a two-week training program at the Sichuan Normal University in Chengdu.

The program, jointly sponsored by the US coffee giant Starbucks and China's Soong Ching-ling Foundation (SCLF), mainly focuses on training for primary school teachers in remote, impoverished and mountainous areas in western China, providing them with up-to-date teaching skills and techniques, said Li Ning, secretary-general of the SCLF.

"Rural teachers in China's west have few opportunities to update their knowledge or pursue further education. In some areas, there are no chances of this kind at all," Li said.

This is why the SCLF expanded its educational welfare projects to include hardware investment as well as improving teaching methods and techniques, he said.

According to Dr. Eden Woon, vice president of Starbucks Greater China, the company will donate US$1 million to the program in the hope of training 3,000 teachers in the poverty-stricken western areas over the next four years.

In addition, 300 schools in central and west China will be provided with books, computers, teaching tools and upgraded sports facilities, he said.

(Xinhua News Agency July 26, 2006)

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