Top pupils bring home the bacon as Chinese primary school hands out unusual academic prizes

Principal uses money from donor to give 50 students 600g of pork for their outstanding performance at rural school where many are ‘left-behind children’

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 08 July, 2018, 3:43pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 08 July, 2018, 3:43pm

Top pupils at a rural primary school in southern China went home not just with certificates last week but something more meaty to share with their families – a cut of pork.

Fifty children were given 1 catty (600g) of pork for their outstanding performance on the last day of school on Friday in the village of Dudongxiang, in Guangxi, Liuzhou Wenbao reported on Saturday.

The practical reward earned a tick of approval from internet users after photos of the beaming children with their certificates and pork dangling from red string were shared on social media platform Weibo.

The school principal, identified only by his surname Zhang, said a donor from Beijing, Yang Qian, had given the school in Sanjiang county 1,425 yuan (US$215) to spend on awards for academic excellence. So he decided to use it to buy the pork from local farmers who were struggling financially.

“In the past, we have given students cash prizes to recognise outstanding performance, and some pupils have used the money themselves and not told their parents about it,” Zhang told local news website Lzgd.com.

One of 60 million: life as a ‘left-behind child’ in China

Zhang said he hoped that by sending the pupils home with something to feed the family, they would appreciate their children’s achievements more.

Ninety per cent of the school’s 178 pupils are “left-behind children” from poor families, he told the news outlet.

There are some 61 million of these children in China, whose parents – either one or both – have left their rural homes to find jobs as migrant workers in the cities. They account for about 22 per cent of all children in the country, according to a 2013 report by the All-China Women’s Federation.

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“I’m feeling happy but also sad for these children,” one person wrote on Weibo, referring to their plight as left-behind children.

“This is a very down-to-earth gift! Very practical,” another said.

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