Introduction to the BE Programme

From the China page on the VSO International website: "In rural western China the quality of education and teaching remains poor and outdated and this is made worse by the fact that many qualified teachers seek jobs in the wealthier cities. Although a new national curriculum places greater attention on using teaching styles and resources that are more active and vibrant, rather the traditional method of memorisation, rural teachers have not been trained to adapt their teaching style and the examination systems haven’t caught up with the curriculum reforms.

Schools in the UK still struggle with these big issues, albeit on a different scale.

VSO volunteers are working improve opportunities for learning through basic education for disadvantaged girls and boys in three selected prefectures of Gansu and Shaanxi provinces. They are placed in advisory and training roles, as school management advisers, English and science education advisors and child psychologists, with the aim of strengthening teachers' professional development, improving systems of school management and increasing the level of community participation in education services."

Click here to see some photos of the project areas.


VSO China aims to help poor students, especially those that are disadvantaged due to various social and economic factors, in acquiring a quality basic education. By a quality basic education, we mean that all students, regardless of their circumstances, are able to learn effectively through autonomous and cooperative learning, and are equipped with essential life skills.

There are 3 objectives:

1) To improve teachers’ capacity in using student-centred participatory teaching methods, and adopting an equal and inclusive attitude and approach in identifying and meeting different learning needs of students

2) To improve school leadership and management practices that promote the interests of the most disadvantaged girls and boys and support teachers professional development.

3) To increase the level of community participation in providing education services to overcome barriers preventing students from accessing, completing and enjoying schooling.

Where we work