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Schoolmasters Punished for Charging Illegal Fees
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Six schoolmasters in Dazhou, southwest China's Sichuan Province, have been suspended from their duties for charging students extra fees.


The Dazhou city government made the decision after seven educational task forces discovered the banned activities in the six elementary and middle schools, according to a local government official.


Among the six schools, some students were required to buy school uniforms or bedding, while other students were ordered to buy insurance and film tickets.


The Ministry of Education states that students only need to pay fees for textbooks, workbooks and accommodation fees.


The local government has instructed the educational bureau to keep a close eye on elementary and middle schools.


In the past, students were charged various types of fees as the main support for rural school operations and teacher salaries.


Last December, the State Council made a decision that rural students in China's relatively backward western region will enjoy free compulsory education from 2006.


The Ministry of Education has forbidden the primary and junior middle schools in rural areas to collect extra fees for students. Schoolmasters will be removed from their posts if extra fees are collected in their schools.


"Rural schools are forbidden to collect any other fee aside from the three permitted categories," said Wang Xuming, spokesman for the ministry, last month.


(Xinhua News Agency February 26, 2006)


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