Campaign to improve education in areas with high poverty

Updated: 2015-12-16 15:41


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The central government will embark on a special national campaign to oversee basic school conditions and billions of yuan in renovation projects as part of an effort to improve education in areas with high poverty.

The four-year campaign will supervise the progress of ongoing renovation projects at 218,000 schools in China’s poorest 2,656 counties, and will specifically oversee safety and spending, according to government guidelines made public on Wednesday.

A nationwide school improvement project is devoting 522.7 billion yuan ($80.8 billion) to improving conditions of primary and junior secondary schools that provide compulsory eduction in poverty-stricken areas.

He Xiuchao, head of the supervision office at the Ministry of Education, said the supervision campaign is aimed at ensuring the country will be able to modernize education and make it more equitable before 2020.

“It is a hugely important issue as it involves the basic education level of the whole nation,” he said in a news conference on Wednesday.

The spending project will help schools in the poorest areas purchase education equipment worth 106.6 billion yuan, and renovate or expand school buildings by 220 million square meters. Formally launched in April 2014, it is the largest single investment to compulsory education in the central government’s history.

As of October, construction of 51.66 million square meters of school space already has been completed, and education equipment worth of 28.6 million yuan has been purchased.

The investment will help ensure the balanced development of the nine-year compulsory education nationwide, said Tian Zuyin, deputy director of the supervision office.