Zhang Baoqing, the former Chinese Vice-minister of Education and chairman of the China Education Development Foundation (CEDF) said in Beijing Monday that the foundation had raised 264 million yuan (US$33 million) to sponsor poverty-stricken students.
Zhang Baoqing said the money raised would be used to help students who couldn't afford their schooling and to award those who've made contributions to the development of education in China.
The CEDF has sponsored more than 8,800 poor students since being founded in March and was undertaking another sponsorship project to include 4,500 students, said Zhang.
"China has more than 40 million poverty-stricken students," said Zhang. "Our job is to make sure they don't drop out of school for economic reasons."
The CEDF funded 5,000 students in Sichuan, Fujian, and Hunan Provinces as well as Chongqing to go back to school after their homes were affected by flooding or drought earlier this year.
About 260 million yuan came from companies and other organizations while individual donations accounted for four million yuan.
The largest individual donation of 3 million yuan came from former Chinese premier Li Peng while the smallest sum came from a rural student in the central Anhui Province.
Zhang Baoqing retired from his vice ministerial post at the age of 61.
(Xinhua News Agency November 28, 2006)