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Bilingual education to benefit students in Xinjiang
2018-10-23 source:Global Times
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Parents and teachers welcomed the promotion of bilingual education in Northwest China's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, and officials said that bilingual education would also help with de-extremism and poverty alleviation work.

Bilingual education has been promoted in 1,277 kindergartens in Hotan, southwestern Xinjiang. Among these kindergartens, 86 were built in 2017 and the enrollment rate of school-age children reached 100 percent, Zhai Qiyong, the Communist Party chief of the Hotan Educational Bureau, told the Global Times on Monday.

The Global Times reporter learned from schools and kindergartens in Hotan that bilingual education has been promoted daily and more teachers have been hired.

Zhang Ruijuan, a teacher from Northwest China's Gansu Province, who works in a kindergarten in Hotan, told the Global Times that the children's proficiency in Putonghua has been greatly increased and they have become more outgoing, lovely and lively.

Zhang said that teachers are having greater interaction with parents in teaching activities.

"Parents support our bilingual education and also want to learn to speak Putonghua," Gulibahar Abulimit, head of the kindergarten, told the Global Times.

She noted that without communication barriers, children would have no problems finding jobs in the future.

"Ever since we learned Putonghua, our mutual communication, ethnic unity and many other things have improved. I think this is what we should learn. This is what we must learn. We are Chinese, why can't we learn? We must learn it!" she said.

Bilingual education is also currently promoted in all kindergartens and schools across Xinjiang. Residential communities have organized classes for the students' parents and residents, local officials told the Global Times.

Future-oriented education

"Enhancing the country's common language education and culture of all ethnic groups aims to cultivate talent… to promote social stability in Xinjiang, and to meet the demands of urbanization," read an introduction on bilingual education work in Xinjiang from the website of the regions' educational department.

Promoting bilingual education could help in poverty reduction and de-extremism work, Ahmatjan Upur, an official from Gazon village in Hotan, told the Global Times.

The village, located in the western outskirts of Hotan, has 483 households. A total of 183 families, with 894 residents, are registered as poor families.

"Children in the village used to drop out of school at a young age and it was not easy for them to find a better job due to their limited Putonghua fluency," Upur said, noting that young people are also easily influenced by religious extremism.

He also said that investors are reluctant to start enterprises here considering the difficulties in communicating and managing local workers.

The situation has improved since the bilingual education was promoted, Upur said.

Azgul Abuliz is a mother of three children and lives in Gazon village. She told the Global Times she is happy to see her children learning Putonghua and they are good at learning it.

"I am learning Putonghua and we sometimes talk to each other in Putonghua… This gives them an opportunity to have better higher education and I hope they can live a better life in the future" she said.