Counting On Research To Ensure Progress

Modern day China is being transformed with its educational system adapting to the daily needs of the population and the world.

Parts of China that have embraced the modernisation trend mostly talk of poverty in the past tense with pictures and video projections to show any curious guest how the people once lived in total misery. The transition from their precarious past to a new era which the Communist Party of China is celebrating its 70th anniversary this year shows signs of careful planning and reflection which have not only shaped the general mind-set, but equally endorsed education as the bedrock of the society. The steady planning and research both at the industrial and academic levels has taken small administrative units like Ningde to an international standard with a Lithium-battery production plant that has taken leading world position in 2019 in the production of renewable energy. From its inception in 1999, the CATL Factory plant today talks big as major automobile brands across the globe have direct business transactions with the Ningde Company. Another example of such innovative, purposeful and fundamental research initiative in China that is firmly anchored on the Belt and Road Initiative is the Fujian Agriculture And Forestry University (FUFA). Since President Xi, as Governor of Fujian in 2000 authorised a number of higher education institutions to group into FUFA, the University has grown to World standards with scholarships offered to 200 foreign students. They have not only discovered new varieties of sugar cane, sweet potatoes, groundnuts, tea and so on. Professor Lin Zhanxi of FUFA invented a game-changer technology called Juncao, a Chinese name for mushroom (Jun) and herbs (Cao) which combine to produce mushrooms with nutritive and medicinal qualities as well as animal pasture. Juncao has spread to over 100 countries in Africa and Asia.

President Xi presented Juncao Technology to the UN Summit in 2015 as a pragmatic initiative by China to help developing countries implement the SDGs as well as the China-UN Peace and Development Trust Fund. As a priority project in the Fund that China is promoting, it targets issues that are closer to developing countries such as fighting poverty, reduction of hunger, use of renewable energy, promotion of employment and response to climate change. As an agricultural technology that replaces wood with grass, it helps in cultivating edible and medicinal fungi, mainly using wood logs and sawdust as ‘soil’. In addition, power generated from burning Juncao grown on a hectare of land is said to be the equivalent of over 50 tons of coal. And as it helps in conserving soil and preventing soil erosion, the technology equally serves against desertification and brings economic benefits to people in desert zones or people facing farmer-grazier problems. Apart from traditional forestry training, FUFA has over the years through the Tea Research Institute erected tea production to a science. Students studying tea production have also developed tea serving techniques that keep any onlooker anxious to consume their produce. The students ensure sequencing, choreography, delicacy and discipline in the way tea has to be prepared and served especially at public events. The various forestry and agricultural domains being offered by FUFA have attracted students and young scholars from Cameroon, Nigeria, the Central African Republic, Mali, Burkina Faso, South Africa and so on.

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