BEIJING, Jan. 5 (Xinhua) -- China plans to build enough school canteens to provide safe and nutritional meals for all primary and junior high school students in impoverished rural regions by 2015.
According to a circular, jointly released Saturday by the ministries of education and finance, local governments should submit their dining hall building plans to the two ministries for approval and the granting of funds before construction starts.
Chinese students in poor regions often rely on government-funded or charitable lunch for sufficient nutrition.
Last year, the "Free Lunch for Children" project, initiated by some 500 journalists and domestic media, received millions of donations. It allocates three yuan per person each day to provide free lunch for impoverished school children.
The circular said that some local governments are not fully aware of the importance of the issue. It said substandard canteen construction plans as well as insufficient financial support have hindered the drive to improve students' nutrition.
The circular urged local administrations to focus on areas such as seating capacity and quake-resistance levels.
Also on Saturday, the General Administration of Press and Publication urged local publishing groups to purchase enough government-funded dictionaries for primary and junior high school students in rural areas.
The move comes after widespread media reports that counterfeit dictionaries had seriously misled students during their studies -- especially those in impoverished areas where an official copy was hard to obtain.
According to the administration, more than 30 printing firms across the country will supply 100 million dictionaries for primary and junior high school students in rural regions this year.