China's highest elevation primary school relocates

2017-09-04 08:55:24 | From:China Tibet Online

On the evening of August 18, 53 students between grade one and three from Puma changtang Township Primary School ate up their first meal including stewed potatoes and boiled corn in the Nanggarze Town Primary School, their new school.

This marks China's highest elevation primary school has completed the relocation of all its 148 teachers and students to the Nanggarze Town Primary School, which are both located in Nanggarze County, Lhoka City, southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region.

Puma Changtang Township is located 5,373 meters above sea level. It is the highest township in China and shares a border with Bhutan. The local air oxygen content is  60 percent less than that at the sea level, air pressure is half that of the flatland, and the annual average temperature is negative 7 degrees Celsius. The school was built in 1986 with an enrollment rate of 100 percent; not a single school-age child dropped out. But due to objective conditions, it was difficult for the school's quality of education and teaching to steadily improve.

"The school had received strong support for many years from the state, the autonomous region, and the city, and school conditions had improved significantly in recent years. However, because of the harsh natural environment and poor weather, with full consent of the township's residents, the County Education and Sports Bureau decided to move the teachers and students of the school to the 4,500-meter-high Nanggarze Township Primary School befor the fall semester this year in order to ensure the children's health and the quality of education,"Chimei Dorje, an official with the county's education department told the reporter.

Norbu Tsering, principal of the Nanggarze Township Primary School, said accepting this many students in one time, puts some pressure on the school, but they will strive to make every effort to take care of the students and teachers from Puma Changtang.

Sixth grader Tashi Dawa has been at the new school for a few days. He misses his mom and dad and cannot help but shed some tears. However, he is also excited about the new school. "I want to study well and give back to my mom and dad in future," he said.

In recent years, thanks to strong investment from the central and local governments, the infrastructure at Nanggarze Township Primary School has been greatly improved, teaching and living standards have been raised, and they are able to accept more students. After graduating, all students move to the nearby Nanggarze County Middle School for further study. For the last six years, students from the middle school have achieved outstanding results in their high school entrance test, with many students leaving the area. Norbu Tsering said, "One student who is able to make something of himself is able to make great changes to a nomadic family. We feel a great responsibility to work hard to lay a solid foundation for their life."

Although the "highest elevation primary school" has moved, a "highest elevation kindergarten" will be built in its place. According to Chimei Dorje, the county plans to remodel the former Puma Changtang Township Primary School and convert it into a kindergarten. Children from near villages can be accepted for two years of pre-school education here, and the kindergarten will hire new teachers and nursing staff for them.

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