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


The first group of 500 rural teachers were 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-long training program at the Sichuan Normal University in Chengdu.


The program, jointly sponsored by the US coffee giant Starbucks and the China 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.


Therefore, the SCLF had expanded its educational welfare projects from hardware investment to 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 in 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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