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China to invest 30 Billion Yuan in Basic Education

    The State will invest more than 30 billion yuan£¨US$3.6 billion£© during the 10th Five-Year  Plan period £¨2001-05£©,to increase the accessibility of basic education throughout the country, sources from the Ministry  of Education said,according to today's China Daily.

    The investment is much larger than the 5 billion yuan  £¨US$602 million£© set aside during the Ninth Five-Year Plan  period£¨1996-2000£©, said Li Lianning, director of the ministry's Department of Basic Education.

    The money will be used to widen the nine-year compulsory  education programmes and improve educational facilities throughout  China.

    The nine-year compulsory education programme covers six  years of primary school education and three years of middle  school education.

    At present, some 85 per cent of the country's population  have received or are receiving such an education programme.

    According to Li, during the next five years, more than 95  per cent of China's population are expected to have received  the nine-year compulsory education programmes.

    Efforts will be particularly focused on the country's central  and western areas, where educational conditions are inadequate,  Li added.

    Educational departments in more developed eastern areas  will be mobilized to help the central and western areas advance  education by donating money and teaching instruments, and sending  teaching staff to these areas through a rotation system, according  to the ministry.

    Li stressed these are only part of the education development  strategy for the 10th Five-Year Plan.

    The strategy, recently revealed by the State Development  Planning Commission, spells out the desire to increase the number  of students attending university to 15 per cent by 2010 from  the present 11 per cent.

    Colleges and universities across the country will further  widen recruitment in the future to cultivate more specialized  talents for regional economic development, according to the  plan.

    To help raise learning efficiency, distance-learning networks  - such as television, broadcasting and computer-aided learning  programmes - will cover primary and middle schools in cities  and towns across the country in the next five years.

    The plan also stresses the development of life-long education  programmes for people of different ages.

    Government and non-government sectors will also be encouraged  to set up schools or learning centres to promote community-based  education programmes.

    The State Development and Planning Commission has listed  education development as an important part of the country's  western development campaign.


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