China's fiscal funds for education grew 7.9 pct annually from 2012 to 2016
A report delivered to China's top legislature, the National People's Congress Standing Committee, shows China's education spending rose 7.9 percent annually on average from 2012 to 2016.
The report shows the overall funding for education through 2016 reached 3.9 trillion yuan, over 80 percent of which was provided by the government.
Chinese Minister of Finance Xiao Jie says a vast majority of the funds provided through 2016 have gone to impoverised areas, with 84 percent going to central and western regions.
"The ratio of spending for education compared to the GDP has exceeded four percent for five years in a row. Half of the funds have been used for nine-year compulsory education. In 2016, for example, 1.6 trillion yuan was spent on compulsory education, making up 52.8 percent of total education spending. It shows the core position of the government when it comes to compulsory education. Over half of that spending has gone to central and western regions, especially to countryside," Xiao said.
The report also suggests the government will continue to give priority to education, with allocations expected to increase.
But at the same time, the government is also calling for more investment from the private sector, suggesting non-public education can be a sound investment.
Xiao Jie says his officials have been making headway in dealing with improperly used funding on local levels.
"When it comes to education transfer payments from the central government to local governments, we have been forced to cancel, rearrange and take-over just nine allocations this past year," noted Xiao.
"This is down from the 23 special transfer payments we had to deal with in 2013. In cooperation with the Ministry of Education and other related departments, the Ministry of Finance is still able to put out funds through our current quotas."
In 2016, enrollment rates for elementary schools came in at just under 100-percent.
Senior middle-school enrollment hit 87.5 percent last year, while 42.7 percent of high-school graduates were able to enroll in some form of higher education.
Figures also show over 80 percent of children of migrant workers were able to receive education in cities where their parents work.
Xiao Jie says the stats show that the overall development of education in China has stood at a moderately high level compared with other countries in the world.
"In 2016, the enrollment for different levels of education surpassed the average level of some middle and high income countries. University education has been able to put over 8-million people into work in our society on an annual basis; vocational schools are also putting 10 million technical workers on the job. People from rural areas are also being given access to high quality education," Xiao added.
The report also suggests that pre-school, special and online education options do need to be improved.
Authorities are also going to put a priority on trying to ensure that more middle school students make the step into high schools.
Additional funding is also going to be earmarked for old revolutionary bases, ethnic minority areas and border areas.