China will spend 218 billion yuan (US$27.25 billion) to help improve the country's education in the rural areas in the next five years, according to a recent executive meeting of the State Council.
The fund will be jointly provided by both the central and local governments, according to the meeting, which was presided over by Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao.
In the next two years, China will also exempt all the education tuitions and fees for the students in compulsory education period and provide free textbooks and subsidies for the students from needy families, it said.
At the same time, a mechanism will be established to ensure the wages of the teachers with middle or elementary schools in the rural areas.
"There remain some outstanding problems in rural compulsory education and related mechanisms must be streamlined to that end," said Chinese State Councilor Chen Zhili at the meeting.
She said China will further reform its mechanism that serves to safeguard the funds for rural education purpose, which should be taken atop the list of China's education tasks.
"The use of the fund should be carefully managed so that it could be spent where it should be," she said.
(Xinhua News Agency December 27, 2005)