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Free education is a valuable lesson
update:December 06,2023
By:China Daily
Dec. 6, 2023 -- It was a simple matter of economics. Herdsman Tseten Dorge comes from a remote village in Damshung county, Lhasa, Xizang autonomous region, and it was financially impossible, decades ago, for him to send all four children to school.
The situation changed dramatically in 2012, when the region became the first in the country to offer a 15-year free education program from preschool to senior middle school, a remarkable and progressive move to promote education in the impoverished area.
These measures have not only alleviated the financial difficulties faced by families, but also eased parental concerns regarding their children's education.
From 2012 to 2022, the central government invested more than 251.51 billion yuan ($35.34 billion) in the region's education. At present, the region has 3,409 schools and more than 944,000 students.
As beneficiaries of the policy, Tseten Dorge's four children, including Sichod Drolma, are at school.
"When I was a boy, my family could not afford for me to go to school. Now my children can go to school free of charge to learn knowledge and skills," Tseten Dorge says.
Sichod Drolma, 15, enjoys boarding at Damshung County Middle School. There are 52 students in her class.
"Mathematics is my favorite course, because it feels great when a math problem is solved," Sichod Drolma says.
After school, the girl and her roommates walk back to their dormitory and do the physical exercises, such as squats and situps, required by their teacher to maintain their well-being. There'll be time to chat before going to sleep.
"The school is like another home for me," she says.

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