A Confucius School was opened inside a prison in Luzhong, Shandong Province, in the beginning of the month. Unlike the more famous Confucius Institutes, the Confucius Schools are a large-scale cultural program organized by the China Confucius Foundation with the aim of spreading Confucian thought, promoting traditional culture, and strengthening local communities.
Starting in July 2014 over five hundred schools have been opened in mainland China, including provinces like Xinjiang, Qinghai, and Tibet. This Confucius School in Luzhong is the first school the foundation has opened inside a prison. Staff members at the prison said that the school helped to provide educational resources and professional knowledge which were mostly unavailable to the prisoners, who were also able to attend lectures, read the classics, and learn calligraphy.
Apart from the prison system, the China Confucius Foundation has also opened schools in Drug Treatment Agencies in Shandong, and its next step will be to open schools for special groups like the “left-behind” children. Currently, the foundation’s goal is to open one thousand Confucius Schools by the end of 2020, so that over 100 million Chinese people can study Confucian thought and learn traditional culture.