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Shanghai earmarks 60 billion yuan for education in 2012

The Shanghai government will allocate more than 60 billion yuan (US$9.49 billion) to improve the city's school facilities and education quality next year, Mayor Han Zheng said at a municipal conference that ended today.

Next year's fiscal budget is estimated around 400 billion yuan and 15 percent of this amount will be used to build more school facilities and hire more teachers, apart from financial aids to needy students.

The soaring number of children from migrant families will be a major group to benefit from the government initiatives. Many of them live in the city's outlying areas where qualified schools and teachers are few.

Officials at the conference also foresaw more challenges for the city's economy next year, especially in the first quarter, as the world economy remains stuck in the doldrums.

They said Shanghai would expand the trial of business tax cut next year to boost the service sector. Retirement pensions and allowances for the low-income group would be raised early next year.

Shanghai is likely to achieve an 8 percent economic growth this year. However, global recession is affecting the city's economy, especially in the trade and manufacturing sectors as seen in their sluggish growth in recent months.


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