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Assistance to Help Poor Students
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A national public funded organization was established yesterday in Beijing to assist China's large number of poorer students. It's hoped that Chinese individuals and organizations along with others from throughout the world will contribute to the cause.

Supported by the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Finance, the China Education Development Foundation, with capital of 50 million yuan (US$6.2 million), will assist mainland students from poorer families as well as those from Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan who study at mainland schools.

Donations and technical assistance from domestic or overseas governments, organizations and individuals are all welcome, said the foundations' chairman Zhang Baoqing, the former vice minister of education.

He said help from individuals and organizations in China and worldwide would greatly assist in the government's efforts to help poorer students.

"China now has about 40 million poor students," he said. "It's not only the government's responsibility to help them but a responsibility for us all."

He stressed the Foundation's work would be transparent and publicly supervised. Students will be required to apply directly to the Foundation for subsidies and the money would be given to them without going through intermediates.

"It may help to prevent the possibility of corruption," Zhang said. But he admitted that such a scheme could bring difficulties when trying to verify the details of student applications because China was such a big country and it would be impossible to visit each the homes of all students applying for assistance.

Each primary school student will receive an annual subsidy of 600 yuan (US$74), middle school student will receive up to 1200 yuan (US$148) and those at university  will each have access to 6,000 yuan (US$740).

The Foundation has so far received donations of more than 200 million yuan (US$24.7 million), most of which has come from domestic organizations and enterprises.

The Foundation will also give support to poorer schools encountering difficulties with educational reform and development. Subsequently awards will be given to those who've made special contributions to China's educational development.

(China Daily March 31, 2006)

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