Education in China, with a population of 1.4 billion, is undoubtedly a national priority. In 2022, with the comprehensive launch of China's rural revitalization strategy, there was a shift in focus to eliminate a rural-urban gap in educational resources and promote educational equity. Given this background, with its mission of improving lives and contributing a better society, OMRON has taken initiatives to promote Equality in China's Rural Education in collaboration with China Guanghua Foundation, a public welfare foundation.
In 2021, a think-tank research institute conducted a survey involving urban and rural primary schools located in Shaanxi Province to find out a reading opportunity for rural children. It was discovered that there have been considerable investment efforts made by various public sectors supporting rural culture for many years, and a reading opportunity for rural children has improved, but there is still a gap in reading resources because of the factors such as economy and culture. *1 The latest survey on Rural Primary School Reading in 2022 also confirms that more than two-thirds of rural primary school students own fewer than 10 extracurricular books at home. *2 Both the quantity and quality of reading resources reflect the imbalance in educational resources available to urban and rural children.
In March 2022, OMRON released a new long-term vision "Shaping the Future 2030". It sets the corporate vision of shaping the society where the affluence of society and individual fulfillment are mutually compatible. OMRON also aims to globally promote non-financial targets, and take more and more corporate social responsibilities to provide comprehensive support in building a sustainable and better society.
In response to the needs to revitalize rural areas in China, OMRON China has been stepping up to promote educational equity and healthy living for rural children. The commitment OMRON is making to the local community has resonated among OMRON employees across China. OMRON China and the China Guanghua Foundation jointly launched a public welfare project, "Fostering Fairness in Education and Brightening the Child's Heart" with the aim to elevating and empowering rural education through a long-term collaboration.
Located on the northern edge of Sichuan Basin, a school was founded in 1993 for experiments in Jiange County. The school model is based on a mixed classroom of general and special needs education offered to around 1,496 students, including 79 special-needs children. As per study conducted in September 2022, the school was found not to meet the reading needs of its students, since only 15,000 books were available, with limited variations and slow refresh rate. The same problem was observed in Tianzige Bike primary school also set out for experiments in Zhenfeng County, an area much in need of assistance in Guizhou province.
In October, OMRON China donated a total of 21,068 books to the school in Jiange County via the China Guanghua Foundation, a public welfare foundation dedicated to supporting youth education and development. Simultaneously, 23,913 books were sent to the students of Tianzige Bike primary school in order to enrich the reading resources.
*1 Data Survey | What is the Difference between Rural and Urban Children's Reading? https://www.163.com/dy/article/G8E1N7AH0524SJAP.html
*2 "2022 Rural Primary School Reading Status Survey Report" released by Nanwang Zhixing Education Development Fund and Chinese Academy of Press and Publication
Since the number of books per student of both schools has dramatically increased, extended variations of books have greatly stimulated students' interest in reading, prompting them to gallop through the pages and roam in the texts, and embracing broader and more exciting possibilities. In the letter Jiange County school wrote in response to the donation, "A book conveys a hope, a hope makes a dream, and a dream writes a wonderful life."
This is just a beginning. With the help of professional resources from the China Guanghua Foundation in increasing high-quality educational resources to rural areas, OMRON China strives to comprehensively participate in two public benefit activities: the "Guanghua Shuhai Project" *3 and "Children's Harbor" *4 . Guanghua Shuhai Project aims to collect books from all walks of life through public welfare means and Children's Harbor, which is a care project for left-behind children in rural China, meets the needs of these children in terms of family companionship and emotional care. These two activities help to allocate more quality educational resources to rural schools.
*3 Guanghua Shuhai Project: officially implemented by the China Guanghua Foundation in 2005, the Guanghua Shuhai Project (光华书海公益工程) aims to collect books from all walks of life through public welfare means, so as to support cultural and educational development of central and western China.
*4 Children's Harbor: the Children's Harbor (童心港湾) is a care project for left-behind children in rural China launched by the China Guanghua Foundation, which mainly meets the needs of these children in terms of family companionship and emotional care.
Xu Jian, President and CEO of OMRON (China) Co., Ltd, said, "To be in line with the SF2030, OMRON Group's long-term strategic plan with the vision of realizing a society that enjoys both overall prosperity as well as growth of the individual, we will continue to engage in the education equity project for the next three years. To this end, all employees across China work hand in hand in supporting and enhancing rural education so as to jointly build a prosperous and sustainable future society." Going forward, OMRON China looks forward to working with its partners to proceed further on the road of contributing a better society.