Youth foundation investigates abandoned school

Updated: 2013-02-26 06:57


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BEIJING - The China Youth Development Foundation (CYDF) on Monday released the results of an investigation into a deserted primary school that was built with charitable donations.

The Lingchuan Laoshan Hope Primary School, located in Longchang township in the city of Kaili in southwest China's Guizhou province, was reportedly closed just one year after opening.

CYDF launched an investigation following media reports that stirred public criticism regarding the disused school.

The school was one of many schools built by the Hope Project, which was launched in 1989 by the CYDF and the Central Committee of the Communist Youth League of China to give poor children greater access to education.

The project has raised more than 5.3 billion yuan ($851 million) to build more than 15,000 primary schools in less-developed regions.

The Lingchuan school was built in 2008 with 200,000 yuan donated by the Hong Kong Lingchuan Charitable Foundation and 150,000 yuan in supportive funds provided by the Kaili municipal government.

Although the school was supposed to have about 200 enrolled students from five adjacent villages, the CYDF investigation showed that just 30 students were enrolled in March 2009, when the school opened, due to local residents' migration to other locales.

In January 2010, a plan to build an expressway was issued that called for expropriating the land that the school was built on, although the school was not closed. However, in September 2010, the 11 students remaining at the school were transferred to the Longchang Primary School.

After the school was abandoned, it was turned into a chicken farm before becoming a garbage recycling center. It is scheduled to be demolished when construction on the expressway begins.

The CYDF and its local branch have urged the local government to transfer the school's assets to the Longchang Primary School.

In response, local education authorities chose to spend the 549,900 yuan that was allocated as compensation for the expropriation of the school's land to fund the construction of the Longchang school's main building. The compensation will be combined with local government supportive funds totaling 3.35 million yuan.

The CYDF investigation team requested that the Longchang school's main building be named the "Lingchuan Hope" building, as well as bear an inscription that honors the philanthropy of the Hong Kong Lingchuan Charitable Foundation.

The foundation has given approval for the plan.

Pan Qiyi, education chief of Kaili, said the building will be completed by the end of the year.