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Compulsory Education to Be Fully Available in Five Years

China has vowed to provide nine years of compulsory education for all children by 2008, said a senior education official Saturday.

Official statistics show that 90 percent of children already receive nine years education, but false reporting by some institutions cast doubt on the figures, said Wu Qidi, vice-minister of education, at the ongoing Chinese Women's Ninth National Congress in Beijing.

Many female children are deprived of education especially in rural and poor areas because their parents think they should stay with the family, said Wu.

In China, some female children have to leave school and move to cities for work after ending their primary school life. Despite women's rapid improvement in social status, women and children remained a weak group, Wu said.

Education for female children was of extreme importance since they will become mothers and can affect generations of families, she said.

China's national law stipulates that every child has the right to nine years of compulsory education, but the law has not been fully implemented, said Wu, calling on full legal protection for the children.

It is reported that the central government is scheduled to hold a meeting on rural education within the year in order to safeguard rural children's compulsory education.

(Xinhua News Agency August 24, 2003)

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