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
"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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.