Church-Run Primary School in Fujian, Founded 100 Years Ago

By CCD contributor: Lin Muli , September 03, 2019 09:09 AM

Shima Private Elementary School, founded in 1906(Provided by Eric White )

Rev. Hong Kechang, the first president of Shima Elementary School(Provided by Eric White )

Zhu Qi'en, the second president of Shima Elementary School(Provided by Eric White )

There was a church-run primary school located deep in an alley near Shima Church in Longhai, Fujian. It is recorded that the school was named Shima Private Elementary School and was founded by Rev. Hong Kechang in the spring of 1906. In 1928, it was renamed "Prefectural Weili Elementary School".

It was closed due to financial difficulties, but was taken over by a board of nine directors in 1929. The board included members of Shima Church (set up by the Reformed Church in America), volunteers, and persons in the medical and business fields. Shima Church financed the school, and the school board covered any shortage of funds.

The school had five buildings with an area of 4662 square meters (1.1 acres), including seven classrooms, a teachers' office, a library, four boarding houses, and a stadium (911 square meters or 0.2 acres). The school's elegant appearance was marked by its two-story arched door, red-brick classrooms with cement trimmings, and chapel. More than 100 fruit trees were planted on the campus, producing an income as one of the school's financial resources. 

The school enrolled children over six years of age from Shima Town and nearby areas. Children from poor families were promised free tuition. The students wore the school uniform and students living in remote districts could board at the school or have their lunch. In the first year there were seven classes totaling 238 students. The faculty numbered more than ten. The first president was Fang Yuanyuan, a graduate of Fukien Christian University and the previous president of a private school. 

The school's purpose was to train children with basic knowledge skills in order that they could fit into social life, based on the development patterns of the children's physical and mental health. "The six school years consisted of the first four years of junior primary school followed by two years of senior school." The curriculum covered Chinese, arithmetic, health, history, psychology, music, PE, science, English, writing, conversation, graphic arts, and word usage. It also had an affiliated kindergarten that took in preschoolers. 

The second president was Zhu Qien, son of one of the first board directors and previously in charge of a photo studio. After the establishment of the PRC in 1949, the school was suspended and used as the office for the county-level government.  

- Translated by Karen Luo


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