BEIJING -- Government investment in compulsory education has
grown at an annual rate of 19.4 percent over the past decade an official with
the Ministry of Finance said on Friday.
The public budget for compulsory
education was 1.1993 trillion yuan (188 billion U.S. dollars) in 2014 while the
figure for 2005 was 243.2 billion yuan, said Yu Weiping, vice Finance Minister,
at a press conference, according to state news agency, Xinhua.
The spending is set to keep growing as
China has just promised that rural students and children of migrant workers
will soon be given the same subsidies as their urban counterparts.
According to a statement released after
an executive meeting of the cabinet chaired by Premier Li Keqiang on Wednesday,
China will set a unified benchmark for public funds per student in rural and
urban areas from 2016.
Currently, students from different
parts of China are entitled to varying amounts of education-linked public
subsidies, taking into account the cost of living and wage levels. Generally,
urban areas get more public funds. A nationwide unified benchmark will put an
end to that disparity.
All students covered by the compulsory
education program will also have their tuition and textbook fees exempted from
2017, while the state will provide regular allowances for those from families
with financial difficulties, Wednesday's statement said.
It is estimated that the moves will
cost central and local governments more than 15 billion yuan over the next two
China requires children to receive nine
years of compulsory education, with the age range normally 6 to 15.