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Can you imagine a student not being able to see the blackboard? March 29, 2012

Posted by George Dong in China, Countries, Fulbright, Undergraduate.
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George Dong

George Dong

Many children in developing countries struggle to read the blackboard because of their poor eyesight. About 97% of child eye problems are caused by refraction errors, nearly all of which can be corrected with properly fitted eyeglasses. However, most children in rural China who have vision problems do not have eyeglasses. When students cannot do simple tasks such as taking notes from the blackboard or reading the textbook due to poor eyesight, poor vision prevents better learning outcomes. According to research conducted by the Rural Education Action Project, providing eyeglasses to a student with poor eyesight can improve his or her average grades by half a letter grade or more. Addressing vision problems is less costly and easier to implement than other broad interventions such as improving technology, teacher training, merit scholarships, vocational training, or reduced class size.

In the past months, two Teach For China teaching fellows and I worked on a grant proposal together. Thanks to the generosity of Lucy Ball (Executive Director of Lone Pine Capital), we just found out that we would receive 18,000 rmb (about $3,000) to provide eyeglasses to 250 students in three schools of Lincang County, Yunnan Province.

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