"Not One Less" -- China offers free compulsory education to rural children
2006-03-07 00:00

www.chinaview.cn 2006-03-07 21:01:50

    NANCHANG, March 7 (Xinhuanet) -- Wu Bingbing, a poor rural middle school student in east China's Jiangxi Province, was overjoyed at the good news that he wouldn't need to worry about tuition any more.

    He heard the news from the principal of his school, as he is ill-informed about events at the ongoing annual parliamentary session in Beijing.

    The central government has decided to scrap charges for rural students during their nine-year compulsory education by the end of 2007. The decision makes it possible for Wu's poverty-stricken family to save 250 yuan (31 U.S. dollars), equivalent to 10 percent of its annual income.

    The 14-year-old is one of the 160 million rural students to benefit from the new policy. They make up 80 percent of the country's 200 million primary and junior high school students.

    "After 20 years of teaching in the countryside, I am sure that this will put an end to our bitterness," said Zhang Zhou'ai, principal of the village-run Chengmen Junior High School in Jiujiang County of Jiangxi Province.

    Chengmen Villag