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Expert: Direct admission channels would benefit rural students / by Fan Anqi, June 8, 2016 Adjust font size:

"The most fundamental way to get rid of poverty is through proper education," says Sun Qixin, President of Northwest A&F University, who suggests that colleges and universities should open up direct admission channels for impoverished families and that schools and the government should eliminate all learning costs."

Direct channel between universities and rural students

"I was born and raised in an impoverished village in Gansu, and I still go back to my village now and then, so I know exactly what conditions are like in poverty-stricken areas," Sun said.

"The imbalance of educational resources exists not only between east China and the central and western regions, but also between urban and rural areas. It has become a major constraint on the development of an equal, balanced education," Sun said. "The gap in basic education is even widening. However, I am glad to find out that the 13th Five-year Plan has put great emphasis on promoting equal and balanced educational development."

Half of the students in Northwest A&F University are from rural areas; because of disparities in basic education, the overall performance of those rural students lags behind that of urban students. Sun has come up with a few ideas to tackle the problem, reported CNR.

First, China's policy orientation must be determined. Efforts must be made in educational resources, educational funding, selection of teachers, and infrastructure construction, oriented especially towards the less developed rural regions in the west.

Second, higher education should play a greater role in poverty alleviation. For instance, each college or university could open up a direct admissions channel for impoverished families while schools and government eliminate all learning costs, including tuition fee, accommodation, and other expenses.

Encouraging college students' entrepreneurship and innovation

"In the face of rapid social and economic progress, especially with the surge of emerging industries, we should encourage college students to innovate and start their own businesses," Sun explained.

When asked about how to support students' entrepreneurship, Sun replied, "We have issued a series of policies in recent years to encourage our students to innovate and start their own businesses. By the end of last year, there were over 40 start-ups developed by our students, and they have achieved good results."

Explaining his university’s entrepreneurship policies, Sun said: "To start with, we set up courses that introduce basic knowledge about entrepreneurship in order to raise students' awareness; then we hire more than 100 experts to provide students with professional, feasible suggestions based on their own experiences." He added that the university also supports student entrepreneurs with seed money for their projects and free accommodation.

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