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190 Special Schools to Be Built for Disabled Over 3 Years

The central government is to invest 600 million yuan (about US$78.9 million) over the next three years to build and expand 190 special schools for the disabled, according to a program issued by the Chinese authorities.

"About 450 million yuan will be used for construction of the schools and 150 million yuan on the purchasing and installing of teaching and rehabilitation facilities," said the program, jointly issued by the Ministry of Education and the National Development and Reform Commission.

The program said the schools will be built mainly in China's less prosperous central and west areas, where more than 80 percent of the cities and counties don't have educational access for disabled people.

A 2006 national survey showed that China has nearly 82.96 million disabled people, among those about 3.87 million are aged under 14. However, the country had only 1,605 special schools, with 140,000 students on campus, in 2006.

The program said China needs to build about 1,150 special schools in the future so that all cities and counties with a population of more than 300,000 in the central and west areas would have at least one special school for the disabled.

(Xinhua News Agency October 19, 2007)

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