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China Channels 8.64 Bln Yuan to Offer Free Textbooks for Rural Students

China's Ministry of Finance said on Tuesday that it will spend 8.64 billion yuan (US$1.3 billion) to give free textbooks to rural students this autumn.

This added the total free-textbook funds channeled from the central budget to 17.28 billion yuan this year, more than doubled compared with a year earlier, the ministry said.

The country kicked off the free textbook program in the autumn term of 2007. Free text books are for the compulsory education period -- six years of primary school and three years of middle school.

In rural areas, the program can save 90 yuan for each primary school student annually and 180 yuan for a middle school student, according to the ministry.

The program had helped about 150 million rural students in the country, according to statistics from the Ministry of Education.

(Xinhua News Agency August 13, 2008)

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