Rural students in Chongqing Municipality, southwest China, will enjoy free compulsory education from 2006, according to a local government decision.
The program will benefit 3.5 million students in nine suburban areas and other rural counties of Chongqing, according to the decision made recently at a Chongqing municipal government meeting on education development.
In addition, students from poor rural families will be provided with free textbooks. Boarding students will receive subsidies to support their daily lives, according to the decision.
The scheme requires an investment of 1 billion yuan (125 million U.S. dollars), 80 percent of which will be covered by the central government with the remainders to be shared by local governments.
Under a State Council decision made last December, rural students in China's underdeveloped western region will enjoy free compulsory education as from 2006.