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Beijing to Ensure Compulsory Education for Migrant Children

China's capital Beijing has vowed to ensure equal opportunities for all migrants' children to receive at least nine years of education.

The Beijing municipal government is responsible for offering the nine-year compulsory education to all school-age children, both local and migrant, says Long Xinmin, deputy secretary of the Beijing Municipal Committee of the Chinese Communist Party.

By the end of July, Beijing had reported 288,400 migrant children, 235,000 of whom were from the country's rural areas, Long told a working conference on primary and secondary school education Monday.

Some 189,100 of these children are attending public schools in Beijing and another 99,200 are going to small-scale private schools that are run by migrant workers exclusively for the migrant children, according to Long.

He said Beijing presently has 299 such migrant schools, most ofwhich are located on the city's outskirts where large numbers of migrant workers live.

However, only 13 of these small, inexpensive schools are up to the standards set by Beijing's education authorities in terms of facilities as well as the number and qualification of teachers.

Long said another 28 of these migrant schools will hopefully meet the standards within this year, and the city government has encouraged public schools to recruit more migrant children.

To make schooling more affordable for the floating population, the city has banned public schools from demanding "donation charges" in their recruitment of migrant children.

Public schools used to charge 1,200 yuan (145 US dollars) a year for each primary school student who was not a permanent resident of Beijing. The charge for a junior high was 2,000 yuan (240 US dollars) a year.

On the other hand, the local government has allocated 35 million yuan (4.2 million US dollars) from the municipal treasury this year to help migrant children from poverty-stricken families finish primary and junior high school education.

(Xinhua News  Agency  August 18, 2004)

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