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Premier Wen promises increased investment in rural education

(Xinhua)

14:36, September 09, 2011

BEIJING, Sept. 9 (Xinhua) -- Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao has promised to increase rural education investment and improve the welfare of rural students as the country looks to tackle the uneven distribution of educational resources between rural and urban areas.

Wen made the promise in a speech delivered to more than 1,000 teachers during a visit to a middle school in northern China's Hebei Province late last month. The full text of the speech was published by People's Daily on Friday.

In his speech, Wen pledged to offer financial subsidies to primary and middle schools in China's less-developed central and western provinces so they can provide better food for students.

Rural schools in wealthier regions are encouraged to "buy the best shuttle buses and hire the best drivers" in order to set up a "green channel" to bolster children's safety, according to Wen.

In an effort to seek coordinated and balanced education development, Wen underlined the efficient use of educational resources and said education authorities need to address challenges brought about by China's fast-paced urbanization.

Wen said it is important to enlarge and improve the quality of the country's boarding schools, which accommodate millions of rural children that were left behind by their migrant worker parents.

The Premier also underscored the importance of promoting the development of compulsory education, pre-school education and vocational training in rural areas.

China's nine-year compulsory education program typically consists of six years of elementary school and three years of junior high school.

Wen additionally pledged to improve the welfare of the country's 9 million impoverished rural teachers.

The government will increase rural teachers' salaries and wealthier regions are encouraged to establish affordable housing projects for teachers, according to Wen.

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