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China Improves Education of Ethnic Minorities
The Ministry of Education yesterday announced that it would build more schools and train more teachers to boost education in areas inhabited by China's ethnic minorities.

The educational program will aim to build up primary and secondary education in administrative areas above county level, the ministry said at a Beijing press conference.

China's compulsory education policy means that all children should attend primary school for six years and secondary school for three years.

However, poor economic and educational conditions mean that the policy cannot always be implemented.

The ministry's department for minority education said that the policy was effective in around 45 percent of areas above county level inhabited by China's ethnic minorities.

Secondary technical school education will also be developed to train farmers and herdsmen in other skills, said department director Xia Zhu.

Middle schools in cities or relatively rich pastoral areas are expected to open courses on information technology, said Xia.

Bilingual teaching programs in standard Chinese and the local minority language will be further promoted in ethnic groups' regions, he added.

In North China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, trilingual learning programs in Chinese, English and Mongolian took effect in middle schools last year and will continue in the future, according to the educational administration of the region.

Over the next few years, schools in better-developed cities will recruit more teenagers from the Tibet and Xinjiang Uygur autonomous regions to help train professionals for the two regions, according to ministry official Ah Budu.

In 1985, the central government decided to provide State funding to sponsor Tibetan trainee teachers in better-developed cities such as Shanghai and Beijing to help ease the region's shortage of teaching staff.

By 2000, some 8,200 students had graduated as teachers and returned to the Tibet Autonomous Region.

A further 14,500 Tibetan students are now studying in 150 schools across 26 provinces or municipalities.

Starting in 2000, Beijing, Shanghai and 10 other better-developed cities opened classes at middle-school level and recruited the first group of 1,000 Xinjiang students.

(China Daily June 13, 2002)

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- Education for Ethnic Minorities in China
- Educating the Poor
- Long-Distance Education for Tibetan Teachers

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