The number of girls in colleges and universities in northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region has exceeded that of boys for the first time in history, education officials said.
There were 102,900 girls, or 51.62 percent of the total students in all the 31 colleges and universities in Xinjiang last year, the officials with the region's education department said.
Among the total of 8,421 postgraduate students in Xinjiang, 4,292 or 50.97 percent were female.
The number of female college students and postgraduates grew by 8.3 percent and 17.8 percent from the previous year, the officials added.
The increased number of female students was a result of Xinjiang's smooth development of education. More farmers and herdsmen in the ethnic region sent their daughters to school as the government invested more in education.
More than 99 percent of children at school age were in primary schools at the end of last year.
Last year China exempted students in rural areas of western China from tuition and miscellaneous fees related to nine-year compulsory education. The exemptions will be expanded to central and eastern regions this year.
The move will relieve the financial burden on 150 million rural households with school-age children, who make up nearly 80 percent of the country's primary and junior middle school students.
Educational investment in rural China will total 223.5 billion yuan this year, a rise of 39.5 billion yuan year on year.
(Xinhua News Agency July 21, 2007)