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China Vows to Increase Input into Education in Coming Years

China's input into education is kept increasing in recent years, with more to be injected into the fundamental career, the government said on Sunday.

A senior official with the Department of Education, Science and Culture of the Ministry of Finance, said in an interview with Xinhua on Sunday that education has been listed as the priority area for the central government to increase input in the coming years.

The official's words echoed what the Chinese President Hu Jintao said on August 31. The president delivered a speech to more than 100 model teachers from all over the country, marking China's 23rd Teachers' Day which falls on September 10.

President Hu stressed that education should be developed in priority to help train more professional and skilled people for the building of a well-off society in an all-round way and propelling of socialist modernization, and vows to support the development of education with more fiscal input.

Statistics with the Ministry of Finance said that China's fiscal budget on education in 2007 reached 646.1 billion yuan (US$85 billion), 105.3 billion yuan (US$13.9 billion) more than that of the previous year, up 19.5 percent year-on-year, higher than the 15.7 percent growth rate of national fiscal budget.

In the first half of 2007, China's input into education within the budget has increased over 30 percent in comparison with the same period of last year, according to the ministry.

The ministry said China is improving its national input mechanism on education, with the input kept increasing in the past years.

During the tenth five-year plan period between 2001 and 2005, China's input on education within the budget totaled 1.5 trillion yuan (US$200.4 billion), increasing 1.22 times that of the input during the ninth five-year plan between 1996 and 2000, realizing an annual increase of 17.63 percent.

According to the ministry, this year, the increased government input into education will be used in four aspects, namely the rural education, subsidy to poor students, high-schools and colleges, and vocational education.

On the basis that the country exempted students in rural areas of western and middle China from tuition and miscellaneous fees related to nine-year compulsory education last year, the same has been applied to the total of 150 million rural students of the whole country this year.

The ministry said that in the coming years by 2010, the newly added input from both the central and local governments used on reforming the rural education input mechanism will reached 218.2 billion yuan (US$28.9 billion), including 125.4 billion yuan (US$16.6 billion) from the central government.

The government also started to improve its subsidy system since the fall semester this year, a move to improve education equality. The system will benefit about four million students from the 1,800 high-schools and about 16 million students from 15,000 vocational schools.

To buildup the five-class subsidy framework, the government will input 15.4 billion yuan during this fall semester, with the input to be doubled to 30.8 billion yuan next year. The ministry said the annual input from the government on the improved subsidy system will reach 50 billion yuan in the future.

In addition, the Chinese government has also input nearly 40 billion yuan to improve the teaching quality of the high-schools, so as to help China's high-schools listed among the world's top-level schools.

To train more professional and skilled talents in the coming years, the central government also planned to input a total of 14 billion yuan on the development of vocational education in the 11th five-year period. The fund will be used to set up more training bases for the vocational schools and further improve teaching quality of those schools.

(Xinhua News Agency September 10, 2007)

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