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Guaranteed Education System for Poor Students in Guizhou

A year ago, Luo Xianxue, a boy from Pingtang County, Guizhou Province, discontinued his study because his parents could not afford his tuition fees. While in the spring semester this year, Luo, who was sad because of leaving school, received a notice saying that he had been included in the guaranteed education system, which meant that he could go to school with tuition fees waived and an extra subsidy of 100 yuan (US$13.01) each semester.


In recent years, the investment in elementary education from the Guizhou Provincial Government has been increasing steadily, particularly in rural secondary and primary education, with the establishment of a guaranteed education system for poor students in their compulsory education period to ensure their right to receive schooling. By the end of last year, the enrollment rates of primary and secondary schools in the province reached a record of 98.62 percent and 100.53 percent respectively.


In 2003, under policy guidance from the Central Government, the Guizhou government started implementing a program for the exemption of tuition and textbook fees for rural poor students and subsidies for poor boarding students. In that year alone, 210,000 primary school students and 75,000 secondary school students received free textbooks, and were exempted from tuition fees of 25 yuan (US$3.25) and 30 yuan (US$3.9) per primary and secondary students respectively. In addition, every secondary school boarding student received a 200 yuan (US$26.03) subsidy each year.


This program has expanded to cover the entire province, providing free textbooks for 1.93 million poor students of primary, secondary, and special education schools, exempting from tuition fees for 6.31 million rural students, and offering subsidies for 310,000 poor rural boarding students.


In the spring semester of last year, Guizhou Province started the new rural compulsory education expenditure guarantee system one year ahead of the nation’s plan, exempted from the tuition fees for all the rural students in the compulsory education period, and planned to gradually include rural compulsory education in the public financial expenditure in five years, in a bid to fundamentally solve the problem of tuition fees for rural students in their compulsory education period. This system has by far relieved the financial burden of more than 800 million yuan (US$104.12 million) for the parents of rural students.


In addition, various scholarships and assistantships, such as “Shenzhen-Guizhou Assistantship,” “Learning-aid Project in West Area,” and “Hong Kong Seagull Assistantship,” have provided effective assurance for the further education of poor rural students. Four cities, including Shenzhen, Qingdao, Dalian, and Ningbo, also offered subsidies for poor students in Guizhou Province.


Donations from citizens spanning all walks of life provide the last guarantee for the poor students as well an effective supplement to the national education assistant system. Domestic and foreign NGOs and individuals, like Hong Kong Main Force Group, Hong Kong Entrepreneur Huang Pei-qiu, and Taiwan Entrepreneur Chu Ying-long, showed concern for the poor students in remote and mountainous areas of Guizhou by making donations in various ways.


(China Development Gateway by Xu Lin May 17, 2007)

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