On November 26, the Ministry of Education (MOE) held a press conference offering a review of progress made in poverty alleviation through its affiliated higher education institutions (HEIs). Hosted by Xu Mei, MOE’s spokeswoman, the event was attended by Liu Changya, Director General of MOE’s Department for Development Planning, Liao Xiangzhong, President of Communication University of China, Guo Yaping, Deputy Secretary of the Party Committee of Sun Yat-sen University, and Deng Kuanshe, Mayor of Heyang County, Shaanxi Province.
Liu said that since 2018, the MOE-affiliated HEIs had invested a total of 520 million yuan and attracted additional funding of 2.05 billion yuan for designated poor counties. They had also trained 141,000 local government officials and 191,000 technicians, purchased 525 million yuan and helped sell 1.29 billion yuan’s worth of local agricultural products. Thanks to these efforts, all the relevant designated poor counties were officially able to graduate from the list of remaining poor counties in China.
In 2020, affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, poverty relief efforts by MOE-affiliated HEIs focused on the purchase and marketing of agricultural products from poor counties through various online platforms. In total, products totaling a value of 68.4 million yuan were bought via the “832 Platform” designated by the Ministry of Finance, and 32 million yuan were purchased via the MOE’s own poverty relief platform “e-Bangfu” App, covering 121 poor counties in 20 provinces.
Liu noted that these HEIs had dispatched over 800 officials to work in the designated poor counties, who greatly facilitated poverty reduction through a broad range of approaches, such as education and training, improvement of healthcare services, technological support, support in the development of industries, marketing, and provision of cultural services. He added that 133 model projects had been selected to demonstrate good practices in poverty eradication, a measure to encourage replication of successful cases and innovation in the next stage of work.
Liu also said that to optimize resource utilization, the MOE also encouraged universities to join hands in forming coalitions to enhance provision of support in particular areas, such as training, agriculture and forestry, and tourism. He concluded that to date all 72 MOE-affiliated HEIs had taken efforts to help end poverty in China, representing a major force in the implementation of the strategy of designated poverty relief by central government agencies.
At the conference, Guo Yaping and Liao Xiangzhong introduced the practices and achievements made by Sun Yat-sen University and Communication University of China, respectively. Mayor Deng Kuanshe presented results achieved through cooperation between his county and Northwest Agriculture and Forestry University.