|Chinese Exchange Initiative Group from Pennsylvania|
Shijiazhuang Foreign Language School
After a tour of the marvelous facilities, we chatted with our colleagues at the various grade levels. We had great conversations about curriculum, teacher evaluations, and student concerns. This was a great experience. Educators around the world are not so different after all.
In the afternoon we visited the Shijiazhuang Art School. A contrast to the other, this school is public, and receives its support from the government. There are only 2 public art schools like it in Hebei, but many more private ones. While it is public, it is, however, selective, and students must pass academics, an interview and an audition to be accepted. The government, in order to encourage students to attend these types of vocational schools, pay the student a stipend each month. This promotes these schools to students because not all students in China can attend the universities, and after graduation they have better opportunities to find jobs. The curriculum in the school consists of academic subjects for half of the day, and the student's major for the other half. Students specialize in music, drama, or dance. There are approximately 1000 students in the school, and residency is required. Of course, if you saw their practice schedule, you would understand why. The students here range in age from 11 to 17, but all of them have such great talent! We saw the students practice dance, song and instrumental lessons, but the culminating event was a performance in the auditorium at which we were the honored guests. Afterward, we joined the students on stage for pictures. Wow!
|One of the performance groups|