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100-yr-old CPC member wedded to rural education

Pub Date:2021-06-17 15:14 Source:Xinhua

HEFEI, June 16 (Xinhua) -- Whenever Luo Qixia, a retired teacher, passes by a primary school, she can't help but pause and look fondly at the school for a while -- a habit which emanates from her lifelong contribution to bolstering rural education.

Hailing from a small village in Wangjiang County of east China's Anhui Province, Luo, 100, did not attend Sishu, or traditional private school, which were usually run by families and mainly teaching traditional Chinese classics, until she was eight years old. It was her father who made relentless efforts to convince the school to enroll their first-ever female student.

"After I was admitted, our neighbor followed suit and sent their daughter to the Sishu," she said. "I am so grateful to my parents for sending me to the school as it was quite rare for girls to receive education back in the 1920s."

Luo's parents, however, could not afford to buy her textbooks, after they managed to pay the tuition fee from their meagre resources. To overcome this challenge Luo developed a habit of copying whatever the teacher wrote on the blackboard into her own notebook.

Even now she copies parts of government documents from newspapers, a practice which she believes has helped her brain stay active and kept her informed of the country's latest development.

In 1946, Luo became a Chinese teacher at a local primary school.

"I was teaching seven students from the first and third grades and they used to share the same classroom. The third-grade students had to study by themselves when I taught the other class and vice versa," said the centenarian, recalling the bygone era.

To encourage more children to study, Luo went door to door after school, visiting families and persuading the parents to let their kids receive education despite their grinding poverty.

Luo succeeded in her endeavor as her classroom expanded from only seven students to 51 in just over a year.

Luo's two daughters were also in her class yet she devoted more time to the other students rather than her own kids.

"My mother rarely asked me to answer questions in class although I raised my hand high, as she wanted to give more chances to other students," said Tao Tao, Luo's second daughter.

During the summer holidays, Luo offered free daycare lessons to the students whose parents had to work in the fields.

She cannot remember the exact number of students she has taught during her teaching career spanning more than 42 years. But Luo does know well about the students who have become university professors, civil servants and diplomats, and as she takes immense pride in their success.

In 1983, Luo was awarded the honorary title of "outstanding worker of children's cause" by the education department of Anhui Province, the only person in her county to receive the honor.

A year later, she submitted her application for membership of the Communist Party of China (CPC). Considering Luo's performance and consistent contribution to China's rural education, the Party branch of her workplace approved her application.

Luo did not retire until she was 68 years old, working 13 years extra compared to the normal retirement age for women in China. In 2018, China's Ministry of Education accorded her an honorary certificate for teaching in rural schools for over three decades.

She had several promotion offers which gave her the opportunity to leave the teaching position. But she turned down all such proposals, insisting on her firm determination of serving as a primary school teacher. All together, Luo had taught at five different schools before retiring.

In April this year, Luo turned 100. Four staff members from one of her former schools including the current school president drove from Wangjiang County to the provincial capital Hefei, where Luo lives with her daughters. They presented her with a plaque as a gesture of their gratitude and appreciation for her service to the school.

Luo still enjoys taking down notes as long as her health permits. "My hands tremble a lot these days and I sometimes cannot come up with many Chinese characters, but I won't give up, just like my lifelong pursuit of teaching," Luo wrote in her diary.


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