Reflecting the fact that most of China's population live in the countryside, 95.2 percent of all elementary schools, 87.6 percent of junior high schools and 71.5 percent of senior high schools are in rural areas (including counties and towns), with 160 million students at the compulsory education stage. The 1995-2000 "National Project of Compulsory Education in Impoverished Areas" involved special funds of 3.9 billion allocated from state finance and 10 billion yuan raised by local governments to improve schooling conditions in impoverished areas. In 2004, various special funds allocated from state finance for compulsory education in rural areas reached 10 billion yuan, an increase of 72.4 percent on the 2003 figure of 5.8 billion. In 2005, state finance allocated another special fund of 3 billion yuan for constructing boarding schools in rural areas.
The China Agricultural Radio and TV School has developed over 20 years into the world's largest distance learning organ for rural areas, with nearly 3,000 branch schools and a teaching and administrative staff of 46,000. Using radio, television, satellite, network, audio and video materials, it has provided over 133 million person-times training in applicable technology for work in rural areas.
In the three years commencing from 2006, the Central Government will input 10 billion yuan to complete the project of modern distance education for elementary and high schools in rural areas. In 2006, the Central Government will provide TV, VCD/DVD equipment, and teaching disks to 110,000 rural elementary school, including their branches; equip 380,000 elementary schools with satellite radio and television receivers; and equip some 40,000 rural junior high schools with Internet-enabled computers and multi-media classrooms.