The Chinese government will allocate a record 650 million yuan (US$78.31 million) in special fund to support the compulsory education in southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region, according to the region's education authority.
The money will be used mainly to improve the infrastructures of primary and middle schools, particularly boarding schools, in the rural areas of Tibet, and to train teachers for local schools.
Priority will be given to counties on the border, pastoral areas which distribute in a scattered way and those in a poorer condition.
China has decided to make the nine-year compulsory education basically available in the western areas and basically eliminate illiteracy among the adults there by 2007. It has decided to spend10 billion yuan (US$1.2 billion) on this work, of which compulsory education program in Tibet is a part.
Tibet's program is focusing on infrastructure construction for rural boarding schools and teacher's training.
It is of great importance for Tibet, which is blessed with a vast area of land but a small population and is plagued by underdeveloped transport, to accommodate farmers' children with boarding schools and thus make the nine-year compulsory education available for them, the regional education authority said.
There are now in Tibet 18,000 full-time teachers and another 3,000 part-timers for the nine-year compulsory education, falling far short of demand.
In the coming few years, Tibet's education authorities will train and import from other parts of China teachers for the compulsory education program.
(Xinhua News Agency May 24, 2004)