A construction worker from China State Construction Engineering Corp undertakes decor work at the sports field of a primary school in Hefei, Anhui province, in August, 2022. (ZHAO MING / FOR CHINA DAILY)
The autumn term began this month in China, which made quite a difference for some middle school students in Liaocheng, Shandong province. This semester, they are relocated to carry on with their education in brand new school buildings in the Liaocheng High-speed Railway New District.
Some 2,000 junior high students from Wenxuan Middle School, a public school in Liaocheng, have begun their new school year in more spacious classrooms and dormitory rooms. What's more important is that with the establishment of the new school, more local students will have a better opportunity to study in a public school when they need one, which generally boasts lower education fees and better teaching resources.
"We moved to the New District to live and would worry about the distance between our new house and our kid's original school, but not for long, as the new school was built at such a convincing speed, which eased our worries quickly," said Zhang Huarong, a local housewife who moved to the area in 2019, the year the school plan was settled.
According to China Railway 24th Bureau Group Corp Ltd (CR24), the builder of the school and a unit of State-owned enterprise China Railway Construction Corp, the middle school is part of a key livelihood-improving project aimed to promote public education opportunities to cover more students in Liaocheng
According to China Railway 24th Bureau Group Corp Ltd (CR24), the builder of the school and a unit of State-owned enterprise China Railway Construction Corp, the middle school is part of a key livelihood-improving project aimed to promote public education opportunities to cover more students in Liaocheng, with more projects including a kindergarten, a primary school and a high school underway.
Since March, despite challenges brought by the COVID-19 outbreaks and extreme weather, the builders managed to accomplish a construction area of 83,500 square meters in time before the autumn semester began, showcasing their edge in infrastructure construction, said Ma Weihong, vice-mayor of Liaocheng, while addressing the project delivery ceremony in late August.
Built using environmentally friendly materials, the middle school project is designed to receive some 3,500 students with a block that can meet diversified student demand, as it contains buildings and venues of different functions, including a canteen, a lab, a gym and a pool, CR24 said. Smart technologies are also widely applied to facilitate boarding school life.
Covering about 10 hectares in western Liaocheng, the builders said there have been projects in the pipeline to further upgrade the infrastructure around the school, with venues such as shopping centers and a road network.
Answering the nation's call in the 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-25) of enhancing infrastructure, Liaocheng has been ramping up efforts in infrastructure projects in recent years, especially those generating long-term benefits related to livelihoods. According to the Liaocheng Municipal Bureau of Statistics, the city witnessed its infrastructure investment surge by 18.5 percent in the first six months, covering projects such as high-speed railways, intercity expressways, water conservancies and hospitals.
Also, as a major part of the nation's revitalization plan, renovating old schools and building more new schools to benefit more students with better learning facilities have seen an uptrend nationwide, which has witnessed more participation from SOEs in recent years.
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A role model for such efforts among SOEs in Guangdong province is Shenzhen Metro Group, which has helped build seven schools, 12 kindergartens and recently announced construction plans for a middle school in the metropolis.
Located in the college cluster in Shenzhen, the new school, covering 1.8 square meters, will offer education for more than 1,500 students from communities nearby, relieving the locals' headache of picking up their kids from schools far away.
Additionally, in Nanping, a lower-tier city in Fujian province, the construction of a comprehensive school comprising a middle school and a primary school has recently kicked off, with an investment of some 640 million yuan (US$91.7 million) by local SOE Nanping Wuyi New Area Investment and Development Group Co Ltd.
"China needs to bring into full play the pivotal role of investment and continue to support investment in infrastructure projects to address weak links essential for people's livelihoods. Expanding effective investment is still the key to accelerating economic recovery," said Wang Yiming, vice-chairman of the China Center for International Economic Exchanges.
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To catalyze domestic demand and sustain economic recovery, China is channeling more financial support to infrastructure construction amid national efforts.
The fresh move came as a top meeting held recently announced that the quota of policy-backed and development-oriented financial instruments would be expanded by another 300 billion yuan to better fund major infrastructure projects.