China has spent a lot of money very quickly in the area of education, the fastest growth in the country’s consumer market, at 20 percent a year, according to the latest figures of the State Administration of Internal Trade.
Total expenditures on education, including tuition fees and living allowances, have reached 450 billion yuan (US$54 billion) annually. Educating elementary and high school students costs 2,000 yuan a year for each on average, while tuition fees and living expenses at universities are 10,000 yuan a year for each student.
Tuition has increased in the country along with the reform of the official charging system at local schools, according to an official from the administration.
“The reform is aimed to make it compatible with the market by raising funds through different ways,” the official said.
Nowadays, people have come to accept the idea that people have to pay for their education. For decades, Chinese spent little on schooling as the government had covered most of it under a planned economy.
“A college education is not compulsory in China,” said a parent of a Beijing University student. “But university students are expected to earn more after graduation.”
Despite the increasingly higher tuition to go to college, many parents are willing to scrape and save only for their children’s education. A survey shows that 43 percent of Chinese families have opened special accounts for education, 29 percent have bought educational insurance policies, and 38 percent are saving every coin for the purpose.
Moreover, rural families are beginning to spend more on the education of children, according to the expert.