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Beijing schools slashed by a quarter
By Liu Weifeng (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-01-06 22:47

An overhaul of primary schools in Beijing will see the total closure of 500 branded "weak" and falling far short of target standards.

It will spell a move for thousands of children, but will mean a more balanced quality of education in the capital.

The work of readjusting primary school numbers begun in 1995, was initially a response to varying roll numbers, Beijing Education Commission spokesman, Xian Lianping, was quoted as saying by Beijing Youth Daily.

But ensuring a more uniform standard in the capital subsequently became fundamental to the programme.

Defending the move to close a quarter of Beijing's 2,000 primary schools, Wang Pan, a commission official, said: "It's not a simple cut, but a must to better re-arrange teaching resources."

All the schools earmarked for closure have inadequate student numbers and poor teaching facilities and resources, said Wang.

It is also a step towards realizing the capital's goal of modernizing the basic education system by 2008, he added.

In the 2001--03 period, over 300 primary schools closed , statistics show.

At the same time 28 middle schools were also shutdown.

In 2004, the restructuring of teaching resources entered its peak period, with more than 100 primary schools closed.

The current school-age children were born post a peak birth period.

Rebuilding of outdated teaching buildings and related facilities in some districts has accelerated the city's school reshuffle.

In Xuanwu District, in the southwest, there were around 3,000 pupils in 1991, but by 2003 that number had fallen to 1,200 .

One of the old districts of Beijing it has undergone widespread redevelopment.

Responding to the concerns of some parents on hearing the news, Wang said:"There is no need to worry at all,"adding: "this is an opportunity to provide better education for our children."

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