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China to make new investment in rural schools

More than 2,000 schools in central and western China will share 4.4 billion yuan (644 million U.S. dollars) from central budget to improve infrastructures, a Ministry of Education spokesman said on Monday.

The investment, to be distributed before the end of December, will be used to improve school buildings and add teaching facilities, said the spokeswoman Xu Mei.

More than one million students in the central and western areas, which are less developed than coastal regions in the east, are to be benefit from it, she said.

Xu said the funding was made possible after the State Council, the country's Cabinet, decided to allocate 100 billion yuan from the central budget before the end of this year to support infrastructure projects in the areas of cheap housing, education, health care, employment, and environmental protection.

Of the total investment, three billion yuan will be used to newly build or renovate buildings, of a total floor space of three million square meters, at 1,600 schools in central and west China.

This will include new boarding facilities such as beds, costing 200 million yuan, which will provide accommodation to some 400,000 students from remote rural areas, Xu said.

One billion yuan will be given to some vocational schools to construct laboratories and training stations of a total floor space of 1.5 million square meters, as well as lab facilities.

A group of special education schools for disabled children will receive the rest 400 million yuan of investment for the improvement of school buildings and health recovery facilities, Xu said.

"The money is spent on schools in rural and poor areas, as well as areas affected during major earthquakes this year. It is a significant step to promote education in rural China," she said.

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