China to spend 4% of GDP on education

Updated: 2012-10-04 15:16


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As part of the Chinese government's overall plans for spending some 4 percent of the GDP on the education system, monitoring of the local government's control of the funding is becoming more of a priority.

At an experimental school in Weifang city of East China's Shandong province, the students are doing life skills. They control smart robots, make hand-made pottery, clay sculptures, and take home hatched chickens for observation.

Zhang Guohua, head of Weifang education bureau, says this school is totally financed by the local government. The government has spent more than 60 million yuan ($9.48 million) on it.

"We spend 25 percent of fiscal expenditure on education and this year it is about ten billion yuan. The city's governments at all levels carry out the policy properly," Zhang added.

In recent years, Chinese central and local governments continuously increase investment for education and the total spending on education grows by 20 percent every year on average. This year's Report on the Work of the Government set the target of spending four percent of GDP on education.

China first pledged to increase its education spending to four percent of GDP in 1993 but has so far failed to achieve the target.

The implementation by local government is considered to be a decisive factor in meeting the target. The central government last year demanded the local government should spend 10 percent of its land grant profit on education.

Wu Guosheng, head with Department of Finance under the Ministry of Education, says this year the central government will further ensure the local government's responsibility on education spending.

"We established a special office along with the Ministry of Finance as well as National Development and Reform Commission. The office analyzes and evaluates the local government's education spending in aspects of growth rate on education spending and percentage of land grant profit on education."

To achieve the target, analysts believe increasing education spending in China faces new challenges such as insufficient supervision of education spending.

The Education Minister Yuan Guiren notes that China will enhance the supervision to ensure the usage of education capital is regular, safe and effective.

"We drafted a series of documents to supervise the usage of education capital. The best way is to be open and transparent. This will guarantee our big projects implemented according to the central government's requirement," Yuan said.