China's financial support for students, especially those from remote and poverty-stricken areas, has reported rapid growth for ten consecutive years since the country launched the nationwide student aid programme in 2007.
In 2016, more than 90 million Chinese students received financial support from the programme, up 7.6 per cent year on year, according to a recent report released by the Ministry of Education (MOE). In the given period, China spent more than 160 billion yuan ($23.2 billion) to help students of all levels from pre-school up to university, registering an 8.24 per cent growth from the previous year, the education authority said.
Of the total financial aid, over 110 billion yuan ($15.9 billion) came from government finance, 5.73 billion yuan more than last year, or up 5.45 per cent, while another 58 billion yuan ($8.4 billion) was from National Student Loan Programme, schools' funds and social donations, 7.1 billion yuan more than last year, or up 13.4 per cent.
The fund allocated to provide free textbooks and nutritious meals for students is not included in the 110. Ninety two billion yuan of government funds, according to the authority, adding that the donors from social sectors included public institutions, businesses, non-governmental organisations and individuals.
The ministry disclosed that it will set targeted aid and aid for education as two key tasks in future.
Last year, the National Centre for Student Financial Aid under the MOE launched a pilot project, which allowed students who get state loans at high schools to be subsidized without a reapplication after they are admitted by university. In 2016, a total of 620,000 university students have benefited from the programme.
In 2017, the China Development Bank (CDB) will spread the pre-application system to nationwide high schools, according to Xiao Zhiming, an official in charge of financial poverty alleviation affairs with the CDB.
The work this year will start in March, two months earlier than previous years, so that those impoverished students can better prepare for their entrance exams without worries about university tuition, Xiao explained.
Courtesy: People's Daily of China.