Summary: This Chinese government sponsored program is being proposed and planned to bring music education to 100 rural schools in Eastern (10 schools), Central (30 schools), and Western (60 schools) China. The program’s purpose is to address the difference in opportunity between urban and rural primary schools in the valuable study of music which promotes “social harmony” and “personal physical and mental well being”. Preparation of music CDs and plans to train village school teachers will be the primary methods of delivery.
One identified disadvantage of rural education could be the considered the lack of access for students to specific curriculum, in this case music. This provides one useful example of how this problem can be address through government support.
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“100 Village Primary School Music Classrooms ”Program
Despite years of economic development China remains largely an agricultural country. This situation is especially true as regards to basic education with some 80% of all schools located in rural areas, of which 50% are in villages. For the most part these village schools are small and poorly staffed and equipped. In particular they lack educational programs and teachers beyond the basics, especially in the area of music education. In the past graduates of teacher training universities returned to their native provinces and villages to teach, but now with a market economy such teachers are free to work where they choose and most prefer to work in urban areas. Thus less attention is paid in rural areas to “appreciation education” which includes art, music, values, dance, etc. Such education is important to the individual development of the child.
The lack of music education has a negative effect on children, especially those in the primary grades. These children are affected in both mind and body. Furthermore, the unavailability of music education for children in the primary grades in village schools reflects the growing disparity between urban and rural areas in China. The policy of the Chinese government is to promote “Social Harmony” throughout China by promoting educational, economic and social development in rural areas where there is a large and growing disparity as compared to Eastern China. This lack of equal opportunity affects the development of the entire country.
The Chinese government has invested money and other resources for long distance study using the Internet as one means of redressing this disparity. Music education, however, is not one of the subjects included in this effort. Thus at present there is no program or means available to provide music education to children in the primary grades in village schools in rural China.
It is proposed to develop a new method for redressing the problem of lack of music education for children in rural village schools. This is an innovative program that will create a new model for the study of music in rural areas of China. Since 1998 the Ministry of Education in China has developed a number of CDs with songs that are appropriate for children. This program will utilize this existing resource in music education to develop a model music education program utilizing computers and providing training to teachers in village schools. Thus an “electronic classroom” will be created.
The primary goals of this program are as follows:
1. Develop a model program using computers and music CDs to substitute for music teachers in schools that do not have such teachers.
2. Redress the imbalance in educational opportunities between urban and rural China in the area of music education
3. Improve the physical and mental well-being of children in primary grades through music education.
The specific measurable objectives are:
1. Select 100 schools in rural areas in three sections of China to participate in the program.
2. Provide computers and music CDs for use in these schools.
4. Improve the mental and social well being of children in such schools as measured by a pre and post program assessment.
Ⅲ. Target Population
This project will be undertaken in three regions of China according to the following plan:
1 Eastern China—Jiang Su or Zhejiang province—10 schools
2. Central China—An Hui, Hubei or Henan province—30 schools
3 Western China—Guizhou or Gan Su province—60 schools
Each of these sections represents a different level of development, with Eastern China being the most developed and Western China the least. The target group are children in village schools in the primary grades, that is to say grades one through six. A total of 20,000 to 30,000 students will be included in the project. Ultimately the program will be available to all children in the primary grades in rural China.
Ⅳ. Project Activities
The first activity in this project will be to select the project staff which will consist of experts in music and rural education. In each province there is a teaching research office with one person who is a specialist in music education. The project staff will work with this person to select the schools for the project in each area as well as the songs to be included in the program in that area. Each of the village schools has a science teacher who has some knowledge of computers and a teacher for teaching various aspects of culture. These two teachers can assist the students to learn music through this model. The provincial music expert will train these two teachers in the use of the program and project staff will follow up with periodic visits to be sure the program is being implemented according to plan.
The time frame for this project is 18 months. The first six months will be spent organizing the project, selecting schools and developing the model. The last 12 months will involve a pilot study to implement and assess the program results and prepare a final report.