China’s Bai Bilingual Education Project evaluation
(July 2011) On 31 May at Jianchuan Shilong Village Primary School in Yunnan Province, China, a group of education experts from the Yunnan Ministry of Education convened to evaluate the Bai Bilingual Education Project. Elizabeth Lee, Program Director for the SIL East Asia Zero Barrier Bilingual Education Program, reported on the project’s progress.
After reviewing case files, conducting interviews, and taking part in a panel discussion, the experts concluded:
- Strong leadership was evident in the project. The implementation team and the local government attached great importance to the project, setting up an office manned by local staff to manage the program, which contributed to its success.
- The project team achieved its goals within the set time-frame. An eight-week Bai adult literacy course was organized in Shilong village, training more than 250 people. Also, a monthly Bai-language newspaper has been published for the past 30 months. These activities positively impacted the promotion of the Bai language and the continued vitality of traditional Bai culture.
- The Bai-Han (Bai-Chinese) bilingual teaching experiment aspect of the project played a catalytic role in improving the quality of education. As a result of this experimental project, new cultural and context-relevant materials are being used in the classroom. An increase in teacher competence and student interest can be observed.
- Donors invested the sum of ¥1,474,600 ($227,000) to improve school conditions, resulting in major changes, especially in the campus environment. Improvements included landscaping, fresh paint for the school, new classrooms and the purchase of new tables, chairs, computers and library books.
- A total of 81 educational publications were developed (reading booklets, cultural information, textbooks, workbooks, etc.), contributing significantly to the Bai-Han (Bai-Chinese) Bilingual Experiment.
- The experts specifically commended the project team for the love, selflessness, and dedication they have demonstrated in their work on the Bai Language Collaboration Project. The evaluators expressed: “Their spirit is admirable.”
The experts concluded that the experimental pilot has been successful and that continuing and expanding the project is feasible.