Social Centers for Teenagers Planned

China plans to build more after-school recreation centers for teenagers to enrich their lives, according to a group of ministries and commissions under the State Council.

Officials from the 30 ministries and commissions have set up the Joint Conference System for Youngsters’ Out-Of-Class Education to improve facilities dealing with fitness, culture and science.

The state will use 600 million yuan (US$72 million) of all two billion yuan of lottery tickets it sold this year to build such centers in central and western areas.

In the tenth Five-Year-Plan period (2001-2005), the state will continue to support the construction of children’s palaces and recreation centers by selling lottery tickets, said Feng Jianshen, an official with the Ministry of Finance.

The establishment of the joint conference is good news for teenagers because it will accelerate the building of recreation centers and make their lives more interesting, said Minister of Education Chen Zhili.

She said the central government has made a great effort to improving students’ teaching, as well as promoting other areas such as morality and fitness.

A large number of science museums, children’s palaces and recreation centers have been built in China since the late 1970s.

But some of these palaces have become dance, video or game halls, set up to make money, said Chen.

Chen urged local government departments to consider recreation facilities for children in their urban plans.

Well-equipped children’s centers are mainly located in better developed eastern areas in China, according to Vice-Minister of Education Wang Zhan.

About 30 percent of counties in central areas and 90 percent in western areas have no after-school centers for students.

The joint conference will help 140 counties in western areas and 20 in central areas set up children’s centers each year.

(People’s Daily 10/09/2000)

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