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August 13, 2009

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Fuel-rich county rewards students

HIGH school graduates who enroll in China's top two universities, Tsinghua and Peking, will be awarded 100,000 yuan (US$14,638), according to a notice of a senior high school in northwest China's Shaanxi Province.

"We know it is rare to offer such high award to elite students," said Yang Yun, principal of the Wuqi Senior High School, the only high school in Wuqi County of 120,000 people.

"But no student from our county has been admitted to the two top universities in the last 30 years. We think it is a shame, as the county has been better off and has invested heavily in boosting education."

He said the school had taken steps to attract excellent students, including cash awards for pupils achieving high scores in the National College Entrance Examination, scholarships and financial subsidies for those from low-income households.

"The school issued grants worth 3.4 million yuan to students last year. Each scholarship ranges from 2,000 to 50,000 yuan.

"In addition to scholarships for high scores, we have also set up scholarships for innovation, sports, artistic excellence and many others, through which we encourage our students."

Liu Yanliang, who was enrolled by the City University of Hong Kong last year as the top student from Wuqi, received a 65,000-yuan cash award.

"Good scores mean good cash awards," said Yang.

"Education in Wuqi used to be very poor, and talented students went to the big cites of Yan'an or Xi'an in Shaanxi to pursue high school studies," said Yang Shiyuan, an education official in Wuqi.

He said the county's economy had been growing fast. The county government can afford high educational expenditures to improve the basic education standard.

Wuqi has been verified to have a deposit of about 150 million tons of petroleum and natural gas.

The county has become better off through developing the petrochemical industry.

Its financial revenue surpassed 2 billion yuan in 2006, when it became the richest county in Shaanxi.

The county government invested 140 million yuan to help upgrade the Wuqi Senior High School in 2005.


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