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Xinjiang subsidizes rural school cafeterias

(Xinhua)

13:42, February 28, 2012

URUMQI, Feb. 28 (Xinhua) -- Northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region has begun offering subsidies to rural school cafeterias to ensure nutritious meals for students, local education authorities said Tuesday.

The government-funded nutrition program will benefit 917,000 primary and junior high school students in 31 underdeveloped counties in Kashi, Hotan, Altay, Kizilsu and Ili prefectures, said Jin Boran, an official in charge of school cafeteria management at Xinjiang's education department.

"It will improve the nutritional quality of meals at school cafeterias in these counties," Jin said.

The program will be annually funded with 503 million yuan (79.9 million U.S. dollars) from the central treasury, as well as an additional 46.3 million yuan from Xinjiang's regional finances, he said.

"The subsidy will amount to 3 yuan per meal for each student during their nine-year compulsory education period," Jin said.

China provides nine years of compulsory education for all school-age children, including six years for elementary school and three years for junior high.

Jin said Xinjiang will step up evaluations of students' health, including surveying their weight, height and athletic ability.

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