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Beijing to Offer Free Nine-year Compulsory Education

Primary and middle school students in Shunyi, an eastern district in Beijing, will get free education and uniforms starting September next year, according to local education authorities.

Shunyi will offer free textbooks to about 60,000 students and school uniforms to the about 41,000 who have registered permanent residences in the district.

The district is the first in Beijing to set forth detailed provisions. China's capital plans to offer free nine-year compulsive education in the coming five years.

"Besides the exemption of tuition, miscellaneous fees as well as free textbooks, we are also considering offering every student that has a local registered permanent residence three sets of school uniforms," said Jia Linxin, an official with Shunyi education committee.

Students will get uniforms, which include summer and autumn wear, in the first and fourth grades of primary school and the first grade of middle school.

Every student will save 2,000 yuan (US$247) after nine years of free education, according to official statistics.

China will invest more than 100 billion yuan (US$12.5 billion) in elementary education in the coming five years, said a senior official of the Ministry of Education Tuesday.

(Xinhua News Agency December 23, 2005)

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