It is seriously interesting as a guide to the problems of making sure everyone gets a proper education. It reports that under a directive of China’s State Council, provincial governments have gradually settled local-level debt resulting from their offering of free rural education. In the process they discovered debt scams.
The debts were a result of implementing nine-year free compulsory education in the countryside since the early 1990s. By 2005, official statistics revealed that free rural education had incurred at least RMB50 billion in debt.
In December last year, the government initiated a pilot program in 14 provinces to settle the debts, and by August, some RMB14.6 billion in arrears were cleared. But in assessing the records, officials discovered some creditors and debtors had jointly marked-up debt figures, hoping to gain from the government intervention program.
At one time there were suggestions for the central government to take over all debts.
However, an official from the Ministry of Finance, said from past experiences, the government had learned that once it committed itself, it would actually encourage the debts at the provincial level to grow, and fabricated debts would also emerge.