|Organization||Macao Tong Chai Charity Association/Leping Social Entrepreneur Foundation|
The 2010 National Census shows that there are about 60 million children aged 3 to 6 in China, 57% of whom live in rural areas. It is next to impossible for any organization or project alone to improve pre-school education quality in rural areas. Non-profit organizations have innovative and pioneering spirits, a focus on the urgent needs of rural children, but limited service coverage; researchers enjoy the expertise, but face the adaptation to the rural settings; education administrators, on the other hand, need the professional support while planning regional policies for education quality improvement. Therefore, we believe that in order to expand influence, all the stakeholders need to collaborate, play to their respective strengths, and to develop sustainable plans of a certain scale to facilitate regional transformation.
Applying the approach of collective impact, we try to build an aligned and efficient platform for collaboration among various stakeholders including pre-school education experts, researchers, local education bureaus, foundations and non-profit organizations that focus on early childhood development, teacher training institutes and donors. At the same time, we also initiate a learning network for these stakeholders so as to provide millions of rural children with quality pre-school education and promote education equity.
In 2016, Tong Chai and Leping Social Entrepreneur Foundation jointly launched the “Rural Early Childhood Education Collective Impact Initiative” (RECE). Focusing on improving education quality in rural kindergartens, RECE held a total of 3 seminars, 1 Sino-US-India forum, and 1 study trip to the US in 2016, to build initial connections among stakeholders in charity, academia, business and management areas, promoting communication and learning the approach of collective impact.
In 2016, members of RECE reached the agreement that a set of education quality evaluation systems suitable for rural pre-school education are the basis for helping all the members to form a consensus on quality pre-school education, to identify educational challenges, and to monitor quality development. In 2017, RECE collaborated with the research team led by Professor Li Minyi from Beijing Normal University and another team led by Professor Song Yingquan from Beijing University’s China Institute for Educational Finance Research, piloting in Huining County of Gansu Province and Daming County of Hebei Province for quality evaluation index research.
The upcoming AI era makes it even more important to support child development in rural areas. Initiative, problem identification and solution finding are more critical than knowledge-based learning for children. Therefore, in May 2018, RECE held the Leveraging the Power of Big Data, Technology, and STEM Education to improve the Quality of Early Childhood Education workshop in Beijing. We invited our Sino-US academic and practical partners in those areas and discussed how to improve rural pre-school education quality through big data technology and STEAM education. Moreover, in September, RECE invited pre-school administrators from various provinces, university experts, researchers from education and training institutes, and directors of kindergartens for a study tour in San Francisco focusing on the American STEAM education concept and practices, discussing the possibility and path for STEAM to be implemented in China in the near future.