Tibetan students face better lives with free vocational education

Updated: 2011-07-20 07:56

By Huang Zhiling (China Daily)

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 Tibetan students face better lives with free vocational education

Chi Ma (second right) shares the computer sent to her by Liu Qibao, secretary of the Sichuan Provincial Committee of the Communist Party of China, with his schoolmates. Wu Chuanming / for China Daily

Chi Ma, a Tibetan intern in a company in the Chengdu High-tech Zone in the capital of Southwest China's Sichuan province, cannot contain her excitement over her new notebook computer.

"It is a gift from Uncle Liu Qibao," the 22-year-old says, referring to the secretary of the Sichuan Provincial Committee of the Communist Party of China.

Chi, a student at the Zhonghe Vocational School in Chengdu, is a beneficiary of the "9+3" free education program launched in Sichuan province in 2009.

The province allocated more than 200 million yuan ($31 million) to launch the program providing free vocational education for Tibetan students in Sichuan for three years after they finish nine years of compulsory education.

Hailing from Zhangna village, Litang county in Sichuan's Ganzi Tibetan autonomous prefecture, Chi is one of the first students of the program.

Her father died when she was young and her mother is in poor health. Her older sister and brother are both farmers without much education.

After graduating from junior high school in 2009, she joined the vocational school in Chengdu under the "9+3" program.

Chi, who did not know how to operate a computer, studied hard. Now, she can type 230 English letters per second and also has a mid-level computer operator certificate.

Earlier this year, she became an intern inputting data in the Chengdu company and received her first monthly salary of more than 1,000 yuan last month.

Touched by her profuse expression of gratitude to him, Liu bought her a notebook and sent it to her with a letter of appreciation on July 8.

The "9+3" program has changed the lives of many Tibetan students like Chi.

Long Zhen, who comes from a Tibetan herdsman's family in Ganzi, is studying in a school that trains kindergarten teachers in Sichuan's Longchang county.

Earlier this year, she wrote to Liu, explaining how she had changed from a mischievous girl into a responsible student thanks to the program.

An increasing number of units and firms are enrolling students of the "9+3" program as interns.

"We welcome them because they are hardworking and polite," says Liu Huazhong, director of an automotive repair plant in Yibin, Sichuan.

Of the 8,500 students who joined the program in 2009, 7,214 have found jobs as interns, according to the provincial government information office.

Twenty-one of them have participated in national vocational skill competitions, and 19 have won awards, the office says.

Jiang Yunhan, Wang Huan and Fang Xiaohu contributed to the story.

China Daily

(China Daily 07/20/2011 page20)


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