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Rural Children Exempted from Compulsory Education Fees

China has earmarked an education fund of 10.6 billion yuan (US$1.36 billion) to cover the nine-year compulsory education fees and textbook expenditures for all rural school children, said an educational official on Tuesday.


"The fund can save each rural primary student at least 140 yuan (US$17.5) each year. If living maintenance is also subsidized, a rural middle school student can save 620 yuan (US$77.5) each year," said Tian Zuyin, an official with the Ministry of Education.


Statistics show about 200,000 rural dropouts in western China returned to campus last year with the help of the subsidies.


Zhao Lu, an official with the Ministry of Finance, assures that the money will be tightly regulated to protect against embezzlement of the fund.


China exempted rural students in the western area from compulsory education fees last year, and will expand the exemption policy to the central and eastern regions this spring when the new semester starts.


(Xinhua News Agency February 28, 2007)

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