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Government Urged to Finance Rural Teachers' Paychecks

Salaries of primary and middle school teachers in China's vast rural areas should be covered by the central budget, suggests a provincial education administrator in Beijing Sunday at the on-going session of the National People's Congress (NPC), China's top legislature.
Hu Pingping, deputy director of the provincial education department in east China's Anhui Province, said tight local revenues have kept rural teachers from getting paid adequately and timely, thus hindering the nine-year compulsory education from being implemented fully on a nationwide scale in rural areas, as indicated in Premier Wen Jiabao's government work report delivered to the NPC session on March 5.
Presently, appropriations from the central, provincial and county governments support the rural education with special efforts at the grassroots level contributing to bigger roles. However, it is usually very difficult for governments in the less-developed rural regions to have ends meet in imbursing their overworked and less-paid teachers.
According to the Ministry of Education, average annual salary of China's primary and middle school teachers totaled 13,293 yuan (some US$1,620) in 203 and some 7 million teachers worked in rural areas.
To have all rural teachers in China get paid, a total of 93.05 billion yuan (US$11.3 billion) is needed per year, or 6.2 percent of the total revenue on the central budget last year, amounting to 1.5082 trillion yuan (US$184 billion).
If expenditure in the central budget is reasonably monitored and readjusted, it is "viable" for the central government to pay all rural teachers in due course, Hu said.

(Xinhua News Agency March 14, 2005)


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