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Aside: Education In China

December 13, 2006

I realize that U.S. history and education are the focus here, but today the Guardian Unlimited reported the following on China:

“China will waive tuition fees for 150 million rural children next year in an attempt to close the education gulf that has opened up between rich and poor students since the start of the country’s market reforms. The 15bn yuan (£1bn) scheme was hailed by the state media as a major element in the government’s construction of a ‘new socialist countryside,’ but it will have to be followed by more funds if China is to shed its reputation as one of the lowest education spenders in Asia. Under the plan, pupils will save £9-12 per year, which is a significant sum of money for rural families living on an average annual income of £195. . . . Free schooling for all was once one of the proudest boasts of the communist state, but in the past 25 years, the state has put a priority on economic rather than social development. Although the nine-year compulsory education is nominally free, cash-strapped – and often corrupt – local authorities have introduced a raft of supplementary fees on everything from chalk and textbooks to classroom heating and telephone bills.”

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There are some amazing numbers here: 150 million students potentially affected, $2 billion more spent (in U.S.), $18-24 savings per year per pupil, average annual rural incomes of $390. – TL

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