Local governments offer free education

Source:Chinese Business View Published: 2012-12-23 19:20:05

Students in Yulin, Shaanxi Province, will enjoy totally free education from preschool through high school starting in 2013, according to a decision from the city government, the Chinese Business View reported Friday.

The decision was made at a government meeting presided over by Lu Zhiyuan, the mayor of Yulin, on December 17. Detailed plans are still being discussed.

In accordance with the new plan, private kindergartens and private high schools will be subsidized at the same level as public kindergartens and other schools.

The city has carried out such policies in education in the past. Starting in the fall of 2011, preschoolers were given a free year of education, with 44,300 preschoolers benefiting.

Last spring, Yulin became the first city in the province to carry out a "zero-pay" platform for compulsory education, benefiting 380,000 students by covering the costs of their supplementary documents, accommodations and uniforms. The annual expenditure reached 185 million yuan ($29.67 million).

In fact, Yulin's Shenmu and Fugu counties were the first to offer 15 years of free education.

Fugu spent about 991 million yuan on education last year. In 2012, its education budget grew to about 1.1 billion yuan.

Ningshan county also launched a 15-year free education program in 2011.

"Ningshan county is at the national level of poverty-stricken counties, with a tight fiscal budget, but it still offers free education. Financial problems are important, but they do not overshadow the commitment to leadership in education," a Yulin government official said.

In September, the Tibet Autonomous Region became the first provincial-level region to announce a 15-year free education program. Some counties in the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region and the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region have also announced similar policies.

Chinese Business View

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