BEIJING, May 8 (Xinhua) -- Public expenditure on education in China reached 2.2 trillion yuan (357 billion U.S. dollars) in 2012, accounting for 4 percent of its GDP, the Ministry of Finance (MOF) said Wednesday.
Of the total, 378.1 billion yuan was pooled from the central government's budget, an increase of 15.7 percent year on year, a ministry statement said. The rest was sourced from local government budgets.
China is moving to shift its growth pattern by enhancing education, with more resources allocated to rural, remote and poor schools last year.
In 2012, the country earmarked 86.54 billion yuan from its central budget to support nine-year compulsory education in rural areas.
With the money, tuition was waived and textbooks provided for free to 120 million rural students. The country also provided allowances for 13.33 million students who came from poor families and attended boarding schools in central and western regions.
The central government also offered a subsidy of 15.05 billion yuan to improve the nutrition of primary and junior high school students in rural areas.
To help more pupils get into senior high school when they finish nine-year compulsory education, the central government provided 4.66 billion yuan last year as a subsidy to 4.91 million senior high school students.
In an effort to support higher-learning education, the central government provided scholarships to 5.61 million students with a total expenditure of 16.2 billion yuan.
China originally planned to raise the government's input on education to 4 percent of GDP by the end of 2000, but did not achieve the goal until last year.