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Tutorial system to improve competence of young rural officials

By Zhu Peixian, People’s Daily

To accelerate rural vitalization, Puyang city in central China’s Henan province has piloted a tutorial system targeting grassroots officials including chiefs of the Communist Party of China (CPC) branches of villages with a relatively weak collective economy and newly elected village Party chiefs.

The new system is aimed at giving play to the exemplary role of outstanding officials and helping relevant villages with Party affairs, administrative affairs of village, industrial development, as well as village governance.

A total of 410 villages in 32 townships of six counties (districts) have been selected for the pilot system, under which 482 officials were designated as “tutors” and 483 officials as “students”.

“Don’t rush into construction after land transfer. You must make a good overall plan first,” Li Liancheng, an experienced Party chief of Xixinzhuang village, Puyang county, Puyang city, told Liu Enzhao, chief of the Party branch of Shuocun village, Puyang county, while teaching the latter how to make solid plans and increase the collective income of his village.

“The planning process may sound like a lot of work, but with reasonable planning, you will see your project go smoothly with nothing needing to be redone. In this way, you are actually moving faster,” Li explained.

Li Liancheng (first from left), gives a special lecture to young officials, Sept. 3, 2021. (Photo/Official website of the organization department of the Communist Party of China Puyang county committee)
Li Liancheng (first from left), gives a special lecture to young officials, Sept. 3, 2021. (Photo/Official website of the organization department of the Communist Party of China Puyang county committee)

Liu planned to transfer land-use rights in the village so as to concentrate the land for developing industrial projects. However, the 31-year-old newly elected Party chief lacked experience in formulating high-quality plans for projects.

Under Li’s guidance, Liu has led officials of his village to make steady progress in promoting the development of relevant projects. They first established specialized farmers’ planting cooperatives and integrated about 26.67 hectares of scattered cultivated land, and then planted seedlings of over 20 tree species for afforestation, laying a solid foundation for increasing the village’s collective income as well as the income of villagers.

“Thanks to the guidance from Lu Wushen, our village has avoided some detours in the construction of the edible mushroom base and found viable paths to development and increasing people’s income,” said Liu Jiufeng, Party chief of Lishawo village, Qingfeng county of Puyang city.

Lu, secretary of the CPC branch of Xizhaolou village, Qingfeng county, played a leading role in the building of edible mushroom base in the village, and has been providing guidance for Liu to speed up the development of the collective economy of Lishawo village since the pilot tutorial system was launched.

Besides assigning outstanding officials to help with the development of villages with sluggish collective economy, Puyang city has also arranged for professionals and technicians to provide guidance for village officials and help solve problems in financing, technical support, and the sale of products, effectively facilitating the development of characteristic industries, stimulating the economy of villages, and increasing the income of villagers.

Farmers harvest wheat in a field in Dazhaozhai village, Langzhong township, Puyang county, central China’s Henan province, June 8, 2021. (Photo by Zhao Shaohui/People’s Daily Online)
Farmers harvest wheat in a field in Dazhaozhai village, Langzhong township, Puyang county, central China’s Henan province, June 8, 2021. (Photo by Zhao Shaohui/People’s Daily Online)

In order to provide grassroots officials with a platform for more extensive exchanges, Puyang city instructed townships participating in the pilot system to hold a meeting once a month to enable “students” to share their experience and exchange ideas on the effects of the tutorial system.

“To do a good job in serving the people, we should not only respond to the urgent needs of the people, but constantly think about the difficulties the people are faced with and meet their needs.   Only in this way can we truly deliver good and concrete services to the people,” said Wang Guanghui, Party chief of Macun village, Nanle county of Puyang city, sharing his experience of learning from his “tutor” Li Xingmin at a meeting.

When Macun village was hit by continuous heavy rain during the harvest season of wheat, some villagers didn’t hurry to harvest wheat at first, which made Wang very anxious. After visiting some households with his “tutor”, Wang learnt that some villagers worried that rushing to harvest wheat then may not be a wise decision, since the price of wheat was relatively low due to the high water content of wheat grains at that time and rush-harvest costs more money and effort.

Under the guidance of Li, Wang tried to dispel concerns of villagers. He contacted local flour mills, arranged for harvesters to collect wheat, and negotiated with wheat buyers for a better price. More than 90 tons of wheat was sold before harvest.

The pilot tutorial system has achieved initial effects. It has helped a good number of young village officials improve their competence quickly. Since the implementation of the pilot system, a total of 310 industrial projects have been launched in villages the “students” in the system work for, involving more than 64 million yuan ($10 million) of funds. In addition, these “students” have resolved over 1,200 dispute cases related to handling of public complaints.

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