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More Schools to Be Built in Three Years

Guangzhou is planning to build 20 middle schools and 75 primary schools in three years to meet increasing demand for basic education.

Most will be built in rural areas in a bid to build a broader system of quality, basic education throughout the city.

A total of 34 middle schools and 532 primary schools will be either closed or merged. The city aims to provide 81,466 more school places in primary schools at municipal level and above by 2007, and 60,771 more school places in middle schools at municipal level and above.

Guangzhou had spent 4.7 billion yuan (US$121 million) on reforming its basic education layout since late 2001, Hua Tongxu, director general of the municipal education bureau, was quoted as saying by the Information Times. The government had closed 15 middle schools and 153 primary schools, which were either too small or too poorly equipped to be improved. Hundreds of schools had been merged or expanded.

The reform had also resulted in 22 more middle schools at municipal level and above and 41 more primary schools at municipal level and above.

In some newly developed districts such as Panyu, the poor education system in some housing estates had forced many parents to send their children to expensive private schools. Hua said the government could subsidize the cost above the standard public school fee. The newspaper did not elaborate.

The expansion of existing schools and construction of new schools could face obstacles in land acquisition. Authorities had studied the issue, and called for wide social support.

Guangzhou had seen imbalanced development in basic education, with some schools improperly located and education quality greatly varying among schools. The city's campaign was in line with a decision by the State Council.

(Shenzhen Daily January 6, 2005)

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