Rural kids to get free education by 2010
By Guan Xiaofeng (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-11-11 05:50
Rural elementary and secondary schools will get the bulk of educational funds
allowing children to enjoy new computer and multimedia classrooms and free
education as early as 2010, according to the Ministry of Education (MOE).
"Rural education is still the weakest link, and our newly-allocated
educational funds will be used mainly in rural areas," said Zhang Xinsheng,
vice-minister of MOE.
The Chinese Government will increase funds for rural education to fulfil the
goal of free compulsory education in rural areas by 2010.
A pupil from a
primary school, mainly for children of rural laborers working
in Harbin, capital city of Northeast China's Heilongjiang Province,
does his homework on his shabby desk with a tiny piece of pencil stub
November 3, 2005. Most children in this school are from
low-income migrant workers' families. The children wear threadbare
clothes and use poor stationeries so as not to ask their families for
money to buy new ones. It was found in a physical checkup that many
of the 300 students even don't have socks and underwears and
sometimes don't have money for lunch. The government, institutions
and citizens are joining hands to help children from poor families to
receive education. [newsphoto]
"All the rural students receiving the nine-year compulsory education
(elementary and junior secondary education) will be exempted from paying
miscellaneous as well as tuition fees by 2010, which is a goal we put forward in
the 11th Five-Year Programme (2006-10)," said Han Jin, director of MOE's
department of planning, at a press conference yesterday in Beijing. "Already 36
million rural students are now benefiting from this policy."
Zhang said China aims to increase the percentage of educational input in
gross domestic product from 3.41 per cent in 2003 to 4 per cent in the future.
He added that the central government would allocate special funds to implement
the Modern Distant Education Programme in rural elementary schools and secondary
schools in five years' time.
Upon completion, all rural secondary schools and primary schools will gain
access to satellite educational programmes and have DVD equipment in class to
teach the same courses used in major cities like Beijing and Shanghai.
"The National Report on China's Education for All" issued by MOE yesterday
showed that in 2004, the nation allotted 107 billion yuan (US$13.2 billion) for
rural primary education and 57.4 billion yuan (US$7 billion) for rural junior
secondary education, an increase of 74.35 per cent and 87.69 per cent over 2000
But Zhang admitted that rural and literacy education in China face numerous
For example, China still has 87 million illiterate people, of whom 23 million
are youths and middle-aged individuals. Eight per cent of the country has not
yet adopted the nine-year compulsory education, all in the poor western part of
"The current administration is determined to solve this problem," Zhang said.
According to MOE, China had 112 million elementary school pupils in 2004,
with an enrolment rate of 98.95 per cent and an enrolment rate for girls of
98.93 per cent.
Zhang said the UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural
Organization) Fifth High Level Group Meeting on Education For All, co-sponsored
by MOE and UNESCO, will be held on November 28 in Beijing. The theme of the
meeting will be "Literacy with special focus on education for rural people."
A day before the meeting, the Sino-African Education Minister Forum will be
held in Beijing to discuss educational strategy and international co-operation.
Zhang was elected chairman to the UNESCO's Executive Board on October 24.
(China Daily 11/11/2005 page2)