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South China city offers 15-year free education program for disabled children

2015-01-10 07:50 Xinhua Web Editor: Qin Dexing

A city in south China's Guangdong Province on Friday announced it would provide all the city's disabled children with 15 years of free education.

Starting March 1, children with disabilities in Zhongshan City are entitled to three years pre-school education in addition to 12 years of formal education, from elementary to high school, said the city's education bureau.

The initiative is part of Zhongshan City's 2014-2020 program to improve education for the disabled. The project was jointly carried out by eight city departments including the education, sports, development and reform bureaus.

According to the new plan, educational expenditure for children with disabilities -- such as learning difficulties, autism and cerebral palsy -- should be no less than 10 times that allocated to a general student; and for those with hearing, sight or communication disabilities it should be no less than 8 times the amount allocated to a general student.

A special educational foundation will also be established to manage the construction of facilities for disabled students.

In addition, schools in the city are encouraged to accept more students with disabilities.

In 2014, subsidies for special needs education in China hit about 410 million yuan (66.4 million U.S. dollars), about 650 percent more than in 2013, according to the Ministry of Education (MOE).

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