• UNICEF urges China to invest more in early childhood education in the country's rural areas.

UNICEF urges China to invest more in early childhood education in the country's rural areas. (Photo : REUTERS)

Rural schoolchildren should not only be relying on the help of golden-hearted teachers and agencies to achieve their dreams of being educated.

Even though these are heroes that need to be lauded, the government still has to step up its efforts in paying attention to the educational needs of these rural students.

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Ideally, the government should fund high-school students until they reach 18, and not just 15, as is currently being practiced.

When young Guangxi high school headmaster Mo Zhengao died, his efforts to raise funds for more than 10,000 rural children who have no resources to continue studying were significantly remembered. Mo was only 58 when he passed away on March 15.

Many mourned the death of such a noble and yet simple man, doing all that he could to educate students and raise funds to transform his school located in a harsh mountainous region to become a nationally recognized institute.

However, Mo is not the only one who has these lofty ambitions for the rural schoolchildren. There are countless others who engage in different ways, big and small, to meet the needs of the students. Some volunteer to teach, some donate funds, and others devote time to cater to other type of school needs such as fixing roofs. Some were praised by the media, recognized for their efforts, but many would go on unnoticed.

The thing is, while these golden-hearted individuals should be lauded and given the praise theyso deserve, the Chinese government should wake up to the fact that they cannot be complacent with their own actions.

Volunteers and people of goodwill still would not be able to singlehandedly resolve the issue of high attrition rate among rural schoolchildren. The government should do more than just raise salaries of teachers and recruit more teachers. Trained teachers simply are not easily swayed by increased income if they do not want to live and teach in remote villages.

In addition, rural schoolchildren's greatest problem is the lack of funding. Education is only free up until a child turns 15 in China. This is the reason why many just ultimately drop out. The government should considering extending the subsidy to three more years.