Tue, March 31, 2009
China > Mainland

Free compulsory education universal in Tibetan areas in Qinghai

2009-03-31 02:03:58 GMT2009-03-31 10:03:58 (Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

Dainzin of the Tibetan ethnic group attends class of the Tibetan language at No. 1 Primary School in Lhasa, capital of southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region, in this undated photo.  (Xinhua/Purbu Zhaxi)

BEIJING, March 31 (Xinhuanet) -- "At boarding schools in Tibetan-inhabited areas in Qinghai, students can have free education, food, clothing, accommodation as well as free school supplies," said a headmaster of a primary school in northwest China's Qinghai Province.

"The Central Government grants more than 2,000 yuan (292.6 U.S. dollars) to each primary student and even more to middle school students," said Kangbao, headmaster of a boarding school in Dawu County in Guoluo Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in Qinghai.

"All the subsidies added up can satisfy the basic needs for studying and living of a student for a whole year," added the headmaster.

Qinghai has six Tibetan autonomous prefectures, with a total of 1.2 million Tibetans.

Kangbao, who has been a teacher in grass-roots boarding schools for more than 10 years, was very excited when talking about the changes in education in Tibetan-inhabited areas.

As a teacher, what moved him most is that in recent years, the Central Government has invested heavily in the education in Tibetan-inhabited areas, especially in education of children.

"Four or five years ago, staff from local governments and teachers had to go to herdsmen to persuade them to send their kids to school. Now, most herdsmen voluntarily send their kids to school," Kangbao added.

"This year alone, budget for education in Guoluo will exceed 170 million yuan (24.87 million dollars), which is four times the fiscal revenue of Guoluo Tibetan Autonomous Region last year," said Jiaoba, chief of the Education Bureau of Guoluo.

Jiaoba said that compulsory education in all Tibetan-inhabited areas is free. Besides, living subsidies for primary school students were raised to 1,300 yuan (190.19 dollars) a year from previous 300 yuan (43.89 dollars) a year; for middle school students, it rose from 800 yuan (117.04 dollars) to 1,500 yuan (219.45 dollars).

Boarding schools also provide students with subsidies for heating in winter and canteen fuels. During compulsory education years, each pupil can enjoy 40 yuan (5.85 dollars) aids for school supplies while middle school students can have 30 yuan (4.39 dollars) each.

"The total for a primary school student exceeds 2,000 yuan (292.6 dollars) if subsides from local governments are included, and for middles school students it's more than 3,000 yuan (438.9 dollars)," said Bajiao.

"As a matter of fact, free compulsory education in Tibetan-inhabited areas in Qinghai has been made universal. Parents don't need to pay anything if their kids go to schools."

According to the education office for ethnic groups of the Education Bureau of Qinghai Province, the provincial government has spent 83.11 million yuan (12.26 million dollars) on education in Tibetan-habited areas in the past five years. Meanwhile, the Central Government spent about 740 million yuan (108.26 million dollars) on renovating dilapidated schools or building new boarding schools.

In 2009, the provincial government of Qinghai will spend 650 million yuan (95.1 million dollars) building boarding schools in Tibetan areas.

There are 1,161 primary and middle schools in Tibetan-inhabited areas in Qinghai, with a total of 336,000 students and 18,655 faculty staff. Enrollment rate for children of school age reaches 98.35 percent.

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