Ethnic minority areas of Sichuan province to receive 15 years of free education

At a press conference held on Dec. 10, director of Sichuan Provincial Department of Education Zhu Shihong told the reporters that since the spring semester of 2016, 51 counties in the ethnic autonomous regions of Sichuan will implement 15 years freeeducation.

15-year-free education means an additional 6 years on top of the current 9-yearcompulsory education and free secondary vocational education. Sichuan will furtherexempt the tuition of kindergarten and senior high school in ethnic minority areas andprovide free textbooks. With this new policy children who live in ethnic minority areas ofSichuan can enjoy free education from kindergarten to senior high school.

According to Zhu Shihong, students of government-run schools will have the 15-year-freeeducation, and students of private owned schools will also enjoy a subsidy, which willcover the amount of tuition equal to public schools, and parents will pay the privateschool the balance.

Since the spring semester of this year Garze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, on the backof a successful free kindergarten program, started a free senior high school program. In2013, the Ngawa Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture had already implementedthe 15-year free education.

Zhu Shihong said that the 15-year-free education in ethnic minority areas will encouragemore farmers and herdsmen to send their children to school, which in the long run willimprove the economy of ethnic areas and stop the cycle of poverty.