[photopress:WANG_RONG_Beijing_university.jpg,full,alignright]The Ministry of Education (MOE) has said spending on education in 2006 reached RMB634.8 billion yuan ($87 billion), a record in terms of the percentage of gross domestic product (GDP) at 3.01%. (Let us not get too excited by that figure. Several other countries surpass it.)
Expenditures on education rose 23% from 2005, when it stood at 2.81% of GDP.
The central government’s share of educational spending in 2006 was RMB53.8 billion, less than 10% of the total. However, central spending in this category grew 53.88%, which was nearly three times as fast as central government revenues rose.
Spending on compulsory education, which is six years for the primary level and three for middle schools, saw the biggest annual increase of more than 60%.
Wang Rong, an education finance policy expert at Beijing University and shown here, warned government spending on education might not rise fast enough to meet the goal of reaching at least 4% of GDP by 2010,
She said, ‘One major reason for the slow growth is the limited capability of the central government to spend significantly more on education.’
In a market-oriented economy of the sort pursued by China since the late 1970s, the central government had gradually decreased its influence over local economies and given local governments greater say on how to spend their revenues.
Wang Rong said, with great truth, ‘Local governments are prone to use their financial resources in sectors more profitable than education. . . We need to work out a solution in which the fiscal education financing of 4% GDP might be reasonably shared by the central and local governments.’
Source: China View