China improves compulsory education in rural areas

BEIJING, Aug. 16 (Xinhua) -- China is stepping up efforts to improve compulsory education in rural areas, increasing expenditure and offering support for rural teachers, to narrow the gap with urban areas.

Compared to 2012, there was a 60-percent increase in average educational spending on each primary or junior high school student in rural areas in 2017, according to statistics released by the Ministry of Education.

China's nine-year compulsory education includes six years of primary school and three years of junior secondary school.

Central financial authorities have transferred 306.7 billion yuan (around 44.4 billion U.S. dollars) for education in 2018, up from around 281.7 billion yuan in 2016.

Official statistics show that 80 percent of the transfer payment was granted to impoverished areas and villages in central and western regions.

To attract and nurture teaching staff in rural areas, over 3.6 million teachers and headmasters received professional training from 2016 to 2017. Around 80,000 university graduates were selected and appointed to teach in rural schools in 2017.

A total of 1.27 million rural teachers from 725 counties have benefited from allowances and housing plan policies, the Ministry of Education said.

The overall size of school buildings rose by 10 percent last year, compared to 2015, and 103,000 schools in 832 impoverished counties met the basic standards for compulsory education, making up 94.7 percent of all schools in those areas.