Photo exhibition in Singapore traces China's education journey over 70 years
SINGAPORE, Oct. 4 (Xinhua) -- A group of farmers in China's Hebei province huddled around shabby tables in the freezing winter, earnestly learning Chinese characters; rosy-cheeked boys flashed cheeky smiles as they ate eggs provided by a school nutrition program; and a group of students from the National University of Singapore were hard at work in the fields to help improve the Chinese farmers' irrigation techniques in southern China's Hainan province.
These compelling images are among the 70 photographs featured in "Raising Hopes - An Educational Photo Exhibition for the 70th Anniversary of the Founding of the People's Republic of China". In this first-of-a-kind, education-themed exhibition in Southeast Asia, it traces the strides China's education system has made from 1949 to 2019.
Organized by the China Image Group and the Singapore Bureau of Xinhua News Agency, the visual showcase was launched here Friday at Capitol Piazza as part of the celebrations for the 70th Anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China.
The opening ceremony was attended by Singapore's Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry and Education Chee Hong Tat, Chinese Ambassador to Singapore Hong Xiaoyong and over 200 prominent guests.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, Xia Lixin, the bureau chief of the Singapore Bureau of Xinhua News Agency, said the 70 photos are carefully curated from the China Image Group, China's largest photo database.
He said that Xinhua News Agency bears the social responsibility of contributing numerous reports on China's education reform and development over the years.
It is hoped that this exhibition will promote Singapore's understanding of China's education journey and pave the way for promoting more exchanges on education between the two countries, he noted.
Saying that Singapore and China will commemorate the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations next year, Chee hoped that the two sides will continue to strengthen cooperation in the political, economic, and cultural fields including education, so as to continue to learn from each other and promote the growth of bilateral relations.
The exhibition tells the story of China's educational development through three stages, starting with the early days after the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949, when China saw stark levels of illiteracy.
In order to address the situation, the Chinese government embarked on a national literacy campaign and devoted its resources to ensuring basic education.
Hong attributed the remarkable transformation to the Chinese government's efforts, saying China now provides compulsory education in primary and secondary schools and the school system has continuously improved at all levels including adult education.
In fact, science and technology education has become an important pillar of China's education policy as depicted by photos of high school students learning how to operate computers in 1982. By 2014, interactive multi-media classrooms became the norm, while local elementary school students were able to learn about artificial intelligence on a trip to the futuristic Chongqing Robot World in Southeast China's Chongqing city in 2016.
As investment in higher education increased, teaching facilities in colleges and universities were also improved as shown in a 2018 photo of a member of the innovation team intently examining brown beech mushrooms at a large research facility at Tianjin Agricultural University. In 2014, Shantou University in southern China's Guangdong province was the first in China to organize a scientific research expedition to Antarctica, according to another exhibit.
Today, Chinese students take part in various cultural exchanges with countries all around the world, including Singapore.
In one photo, close to 40 students from Singapore's Holy Innocents' Primary School dance merrily together with Chinese students at Shaowu City Experimental Primary School in China's Fujian province on the International Children's Day in 2010. The two became "sister schools" in 2008.
The exhibition runs from Oct. 1 to Oct. 7.
As China enters a new era of reform and development, it brings unprecedented new opportunities and new challenges, said Hong.
"We have to further consolidate the educational system based on our experience and reform the system continuously, including learning from other countries like Singapore... in order to raise China's education to a new level," the Chinese ambassador said.