China / Education

China's financial support for education keeps growing, but tweaks are needed, education expert urges

By Zhao Xinying ( Updated: 2015-12-09 17:08

China established a comprehensive financial support system for education over the past five years that covers preschool to higher education, promoting equality in schooling across the country, but some tweaks are still necessary, an education expert said on Wednesday.

Ding Xiaohao, deputy director of the Institute of Educational Economic at Peking University, told a news conference that the amount invested in education and the number of students being supported kept growing from 2010 to 2014.

"The establishment of the system makes it possible for students from impoverished families to enjoy the same rights of being educated as their peers, which has greatly promoted equal access to education nationwide," Ding said.

A survey conducted by Ding’s research team determined that 556 billion yuan ($87 billion) was spent to support 410 million students across the country from 2010 to 2014, including those in preschool, primary and middle school, secondary vocational education, high school and higher education.

In 2014, 142 billion yuan was spent to educate students, a 105-percent increase over 2009, Ding said.

Although the achievements are noteworthy, "efforts made to provide students with financial support are not balanced at different stages of education", he said.

"For example, the support offered to master’s and doctoral students is quite sufficient, while there’s still a lot to be done to help preschool children and high school students financially," Ding said.

Current spending policies cannot meet the needs of the two groups, he said.

Ding also said China hasn’t enacted laws on financial support for education and legislation is urgently needed to ensure the spending is supervised and delivered effectively.

The central government already is planning some changes. The 13th Five Year Plan (2016-2020) recommends that high school student tuition be waived, in steps, starting with students from impoverished families.

A better financial support system for education can be anticipated in the future, Ding said.

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