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Britain-funded Education Project Helps Poor Students in NW China
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A Sino-British education project that has helped tens of thousands of poor students return to school in northwest China's Gansu Province, has been extended for another four years.


According to local education authorities, the Sino-British Basic Education Program was first initiated in 1999 and funded by British Department for International Development.


It helped increase the enrolment of school-aged children in four underdeveloped minority-populated counties in Gansu and provided training programs for local teachers.


Statistics released by Gansu Provincial Education Department (GPED) show that the program helped reconstruct 190 schools and furnished them with tables, chairs, books and teaching aids for 28,000 students.


Over the past six years, more than 70,000 primary and middle school students have received a total of 6.36 million yuan (about US$795,000) in financial support to help them resume their education.


The project has led to a rise in enrolment from 70.85 percent six years ago to 95.2 percent among the minority population in the four target counties


The project has also carried out a series of training programs for 40,000 teachers and 5,000 schoolmasters in the province. As well, the project has compiled and published over 50 textbooks and complementary reading material.


Gansu, home to a number of China's minority nationalities, is an underdeveloped agricultural province in northwest China, where the national nine-year compulsory education law has yet to be fully enforced.


In early April, the Britain-funded education program was extended and renamed the Sino-British Program to Popularize Nine-year Compulsory Education in Gansu.


This program has received a grant totaling 6.25 million pounds over four years and will extend its reach to 35 counties. Its goal is to train some 70,000 teachers and 3,000 schoolmasters in minority-populated and poverty-stricken mountainous areas.


(Xinhua News Agency May 25, 2006)

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