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425 million students receive financial assistance

chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2017-09-06 21:32

Nearly half a billion students in China received financial assistance for their education between 2012 and 2016, China's top education authority said on Wednesday.

A total of 425 million students across a wide range of educational categories received funding from governments and other organizations. These included those signed up for preschool education, compulsory education, common senior middle education, secondary vocational education and higher education.

"In the four years, the total amount spent helping students at all levels of education is 698 billion yuan ($106.87 billion), with the average annual growth rate of 10.66 percent,” said Tian Zuyin, the official in charge of student assistance affairs at the Ministry of Education of China.

According to Tian, from 2012 to 2016, government financial input hit 478 billion yuan ($73.29 billion), accounting for 68.48 percent of the total, which has a critical role in sponsoring students. Meanwhile, the remainder, 31.52 percent, came from schools, enterprises and public institutions, social organizations and individuals, reaching 220 billion yuan ($33.73 billion).

China has hundreds of millions of students from poverty-stricken families, especially in western China. With the financial assistance of governments at all levels and society over the years, the majority of those students now have gained access to various levels of education.

About 77.4 percent children in China entered kindergarten in 2016, compared with 64.5 percent in 2012. During the four years, the penetration of China's nine-year compulsory education rose from 91.8 percent to 93.4 percent.

Benefitting from some special financial aid policy, plenty of students are inspired to be engaged in grassroots work, including in agriculture, forestry, mining and the petroleum industry. In the past four years, governments have invested over 3 billion yuan ($460 million), guiding 285,000 undergraduates to devote themselves to grassroots.

"We have supported lots of students to acquire knowledge indeed. And we also demand educational organizations respect and protect students' privacy when assessing their families' economic conditions or giving out grants, which allows needy students to accept aid with dignity," said Tu Yicai, an official with the Chinese education ministry.

Jiang Chenglong contributed to this story.
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