The State Council issued a guideline on Nov 28 to further ensure funds are available for compulsory education in both urban and rural areas.
A unified fund will be set up to guarantee compulsory education in both urban and rural areas, and the government will increase investment in compulsory education in rural areas, old revolutionary base areas, areas with ethnic minorities, border areas and poor areas, according to the guideline.
It said that efforts will be made to achieve these goals within two years. Starting from the spring term of 2016, China will unify the basic funds per student for public use, and grant subsidies to urban and rural compulsory education schools (including private schools) no less than the stipulated amount. Subsidies will be raised for boarding schools, schools with access to a heating system in northern China, and small schools.
Starting from the spring term of 2017, students receiving compulsory education in both urban and rural areas will be exempt from tuition and incidentals, while provided with free textbooks. In addition, boarding students from poor families will receive subsidies to cover their living expenses.
To provide a safer environment for students, the authorities also support public schools in rural areas to rebuild and expand buildings. For those in central and western areas, the cost will be equally divided between the central government and local authorities.
In addition, the guideline stipulates that teachers at compulsory education schools in central and western areas and in parts of eastern areas will be financially guaranteed, with governments at provincial and county level making sure teachers are paid in full and on time. Educational departments will give strong support to those working in poor and remote areas and low-performing schools.