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Chinese Education Spending Far from Enough
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During China's tenth five-year period (2000-2005) the proportion of government input to education had remained, for an extended period, insufficient and far below the 4% average level of developing countries in the 1980s. Due to this lack of spending the type of education given varied from place to place and most Chinese families had to meet the heavy financial burden of education.


These facts are identified in a document entitled Report on Chinese Youth Development During the Tenth Five-Year Plan Period and Prospect for Their Developmental Trend During the Eleventh Five-Year Plan Period. It was released by China Youth and Children Research Center.


The report says that in 1993 the Chinese Communist Party Central Committee and the State Council jointly issued a document called China Educational Reform and Development Program.


In the document the central government proposed that "by 2004 the proportion of government input in education should reach 4 percentage points of the country's GDP value." The figure was later adopted by the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee in its Decisions on Some Major Issues in Building a Socialist Harmonious Society. It was regarded as the only one requirement in which a specific index was given.


In the document it's also stated that the government's fiscal input to education should increase at a much higher rate than in any other areas.


However, the 4%-growth-rate goal has never been achieved. In 1995, for example, government educational input accounted for only 2.46% of the GDP value of that year. Although in December 1998, the Ministry of Education issued the Rejuvenation Action Plan for Education in the 21st Century, stressing that the 4%-growth-rate goal should be met education input accounted for only 2.64% of the GDP figure that year.


In 2000 the government's input in education still failed to achieve the desired result. In fact, it was even smaller than the input in 1986 and 1990. In 2001 the government had to extend the period for attaining the goal to 2005. But not much progress has been made.


In 2002 the government's education input accounted for 3.41% of the national GDP and the figures were 3.28%, 2.79% and 2.82% in the following three years. Currently the world average for education input is 7% and in developed countries it's 9%. Even in some developing countries the level has reached 4.1%.


"The result is very disappointing," said Fang Yi, one of the authors of the report. He said that although government input in education had increased every year, due to a large population, the per capita amount was small. Even in the year when state education input reached the highest level, if calculated on a per capita basis, the education spend was less than 350 yuan per student.


(Chinanews.cn January 16, 2007)

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