Jack Ma pledges millions for rural China education initiative
The Jack Ma Foundation is to spend RMB 300 million ($45 million) over the next 10 years to help discover and cultivate teaching talent in the rural regions of China.
Ma, the founder of e-commerce giant, Alibaba Group, is a former English teacher at the Hangzhou Institute of Electrical Engineering. The latest initiative, Rural Pre-Service Teacher Initiative, follows two similar ones that he set up for working teachers and headmasters in remote areas. He says that the only way for rural education to take flight is by allowing top graduates from training programmes to become educators in villages and towns where the majority of current teachers are ageing. “Wherever the problem is, that’s where opportunity lies. Rural education may be the best place to see a breakthrough in China’s education.”
A training programme kicks off on 21st January, with the first batch of 100 teachers receiving a grant and training help worth RMB 100,000 each for the next five years. The total will amount to $10 million. Participants will be selected from training programmes at Sichuan, Chongqing, Hunan and Jiling. More schools will be added to the pool and the total grant amount will also increase on an annual basis.