China's central government will invest 10 billion yuan (US$1.2 billion) from 2004 to 2007 in building and renovating boarding schools in nation's rural west, said a senior official of the Education Ministry on Thursday. The scheme will affect some 6,400 primary and middle schools.
The program is expected to give 3.2 million impoverished students access to education, said Chen Weiguang, vice director of the ministry’s finance department at the Global Conference on Scaling Up Poverty Reduction, held in Shanghai on May 26 and 27.
In 2003, China launched a 6-billion-yuan (US$723 million) program to renovate dilapidated buildings in elementary and middle schools across the country, and a 9-billion-yuan (US$1.1 billion) project to provide distance education for elementary and middle schools in rural areas.
Also begun in 2003 was a 10 billion yuan (US$1.2 billion) program propagate nine-year compulsory education and basically eliminate adult illiteracy in the western part of the country.
More than 80 percent of China's elementary schools and 64 percent of its secondary schools are located in rural areas.
(Xinhua News Agency May 28, 2004)