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9-year education to be free in cities
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China will make all urban students free from tuition and other incidental fees as of the coming Autumn term to promote the nine year compulsory education system, according to a State Council decision made Wednesday.

The decision was taken at a State Council meeting presided by Premier Wen Jiabao.

The meeting decided that the government would continue to offer free textbooks and subsidized boarding fees for students from low-income families.

Education departments and governments at all levels were asked to take full responsibility to enhance education fee management, improve the education fund guarantee mechanism, and monitor fund usage.

People who misuse of funds for compulsory education would be punished, a statement issued after the meeting said.

Efforts must be made to ensure that children of migrant workers receive proper schooling in cities. The majority of them should study in public schools and exempted of tuition and miscellaneous fees. Those who study in private schools shall also receive subsidies, the statement said.

The government would make greater efforts in supporting compulsory education in rural areas, including priority in funding, reinforcing and renovating of school building, opening more boarding schools, increasing subsidies to poor students and improving working conditions for rural teachers, said the statement.

The meeting also examined an amendment to the patent law, and decided that the amendment should be further reviewed before it could be submitted to the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress for enactment.

(Xinhua News Agency July 31, 2008)

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