Educational institutions in China's eastern regions have been helping their counterparts in central and western areas to give them a boost.
In central and western regions of China, such as Yunnan Province and the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, backward educational conditions have limited economic and social development.
The government started a campaign last year to encourage educational institutions in eastern regions to set up ties with poorer areas to help them develop.
A total of more than 1,000 teachers and more than 100 million yuan (US$12 million) has been sent to western regions.
Educational departments in Shanghai, one of the country's most developed cities, last year established 14 schools in poverty-hit counties in Yunnan Province and offered more than 180,000 yuan (US$21,000) to poor students in the province.
Last August, the city also sent 60 teachers to teach in 15 middle schools in the areas of Simao, Honghe and Wenshan in the province.
The 60 teachers have become the backbones of the schools they are working in, with each one taking 14 to 16 classes a week.
Last year, a total of more than 160 teachers and experts from Shanghai were sent to poor areas in Yunnan and gave training courses to over 18,000 local teachers in middle and primary schools there.
In addition, Shanghai set up a distance education network through which more than 600 teachers from Simao, Honghe and Wenshan can be trained.
Shanghai students have also helped their peers in Yunnan Province. About 3,000 middle and primary students have set up ties with Yunnan friends which involves writing letters.
Such one-to-one aid systems like the one between Shanghai and Yunnan have been set up between many eastern and western regions. These partnerships include Beijing and the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, Zhejiang Province and Sichuan Province, and Guangdong Province and the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.
According to a Ministry of Education plan, within two or three years, each economically advanced province will select 100 middle and primary schools to help 100 schools in each poor western province.
(China Daily 06/12/2001)