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People's Daily Online>>China Society

Funds sought to help educate kids in rural west (2)

By He Dan  (China Daily)

08:26, November 16, 2011

The foundation has run two pilot projects in Qinghai and Yunnan provinces since 2009 by recruiting those who are either experienced in early childhood education or graduated from normal universities to provide free education to rural children.

Every volunteer teacher needs to frequently visit one or two teaching sites - usually set up by renovating an abandoned room or house in a village - and make sure that children in the selected villages are given three-hour lessons three times a week.

So far, the China Development Research Foundation has established 147 teaching sites in Qinghai's Ledu county with support from local educational authorities, and more than 3,400 children have benefited from the program, said Su Ning, standing committee member of Qinghai provincial Party committee.

The provincial government has decided to allocate 15 million yuan ($2.4 million) every year to promote this program across the whole province, she announced.

Lu from the foundation calculated that the cost of offering early childhood education was 800 yuan per head per year. Therefore, it will cost the Chinese government 4.7 billion yuan to help educate the 5.9 million children in West China's rural areas.

Chen Zhili, vice-chairwoman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, stressed at the meeting that the Chinese government was capable of sponsoring such programs to enhance early childhood development among the rural population, especially in terms of education and nutrition.

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