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Serious Gap in Higher Education Opportunities

As part of China's National Education Science tenth Five-year Plan, the working group "Research into Equity Issues in Chinese Higher Education" announced that a widening education gap exists between China's rural and urban populations.

China's rural areas have a far higher proportion of residents with low and middle education levels than do China's urban areas. The proportion of urban residents who have attained higher education also surpasses rural China.

This represents the primary disparity in China's education system. The group's research further indicates that the disparity between urban and rural areas has widened gradually as education levels have increased.

51.5 percent of rural residents and 16.3 percent of urban residents have only achieved an elementary education.

41.5 percent of the rural population and 32.4 percent of the urban population have a junior middle school education.

6 percent of rural residents and 21 percent of urban residents have attained a senior high school education. Graduates of technical secondary school accounted for 0.8 percent and 13.2 percent of rural and urban populations, respectively. And only 0.2 percent of rural residents had attended junior college, compared to 11.1 percent amongst China's urban population.

Residents with a university education accounted for just 0.02 percent and 5.63 percent of the agricultural and nonagricultural populations, respectively.

Those with a graduate education made up 0.001 percent of rural Chinese and 0.323 percent of city dwellers.

In urban areas 3.5, 16.5, 55.5, 281.55 and 323 times the number of people in rural areas had attained senior high school, technical secondary school, junior college, university and graduate levels of education, respectively.

(chinanews.cn February 15, 2005)

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