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Laixi lets no one behind for school,September 18, 2017 Adjust font size:


A resident of Huangbu Village, Dianbu Town, Laixi City, and a member of a registered low-income family, Zhang Shan said that with a limited income from farming and sheep-herding, he could hardly afford the tuition fees for kindergarten. However, with the help of student subsidies granted by the government, his children can now go to the town’s central kindergarten, where they also enjoy a free lunch. This allows him to focus on his sheep-herding, as he does not need to take time off to collect his children at noon.

Laixi is a county-level city in Qingdao, east China’s Shandong Province. Since the beginning of the anti-poverty battle, Laixi has always promoted “innovative, collaborative, green, open and shared” education; it has made education a priority in improving living standards; it has encouraged the balanced development of education; it has targeted education as a means of poverty alleviation; it has focused on students from urban and rural low income and registered low income families, and on students who are disabled or in financial difficulty; it has applied innovative working methods and intensified financial aid; it has realized the goal of “never letting any child drop out of education because of poverty”.

First, the primary safeguard of student subsidies. The total value of student subsidies granted in 2016 was 7.63 million yuan (U.S. $1.12 million). 7,903 students were subsidized, who were thereby freed from the burden of financing their tuition and were therefore able to focus on study. In specific terms, 2.46 million (U.S. $362,000) went to children from families in financial difficulty, benefiting 2,740 children; 3.77 million (U.S. $553,500) went to high school students from families in financial difficulty, benefiting 3,766 students; 1.4 million (U.S. $202,400) went to secondary vocational school students from families in financial difficulty, benefiting 1,397 students.

Second, the middle/high school tuition waiver. From the autumn of 2016, with the aim of exempting tuition fees for specific students, including students from minimal assurance households, registered low income families, and disabled students, Laixi government has extended the range of subsidy to students from potentially impoverished families. Those who pass a careful and thorough means test will be exempt from tuition fees for non-compulsory education. They will also be eligible for subsidized accommodation and meals. This measure is crucial in improving the student subsidy system, and in creating equal opportunities in education. From autumn 2016 to spring this year, 74 students from regular high school had qualified for the subsidy; the value of tuition fees waived amounted to 118,000 yuan (U.S. $17,300).  

Third, increased subsidies. Last year the annual standard subsidy for students attending regular high school and secondary vocational school was raised to 2,000 yuan (U.S. $294) per person. This year, the annual standard subsidy for preschool children was raised by 30% from 1,200 yuan (U.S. $176) per person to 1,800 yuan (U.S. $265).

Fourth, measures to ensure the completion of university study. Laixi government implemented a range of measures to help university students from low income families to complete their studies. In 2016, 16 freshman students from low income families were each given a 3,000 yuan (U.S. $441) “Learning Fund” grant, and 241 students from families in financial difficulty received student-origin-based loans to a total value of 1.86 million yuan (U.S. $273,500), which helped them to enter university. The city charity federation and other sectors of society have allocated grants of various amounts for university students from poor families.

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