BEIJING, Aug. 7 (Xinhua) -- China's central government has allocated 31 billion yuan (5.02 billion U.S. dollars) to improve schools in poor regions, said the Ministry of Education here Thursday.
The fund is about 50 percent more than last year and will be spent on the worst equipped public schools in the poorest regions.
According to basic targets set by the ministry, the money will be used to provide each student his/her own desk and chair, each boarding student his/her own bed, clean drinking water, properly equipped canteens and toilets, safe school buildings, heating systems and digital teaching facilities.
The money must not be spent on staff offices, meeting halls, stadiums or office buildings for local education departments.
Private schools, nurseries, public schools in cities and all schools for non-compulsory education will not be funded.
In China, compulsory education covers nine years: six in primary schools and three years of middle schools.
The ministry stressed that precautions will be taken to avoid misuse of the funds. Details of all projects must be published on department websites and media for at least a year so that people can supervise how the money is spent.
If a provincial government is caught cheating , future payments will be reduced. If the fraud is serious, the province will be removed from the list, according to the statement.