(Yicai Global) Dec. 6 -- China will not make senior high school compulsory in the country in the short-term, the government said, following rumors circulating online that it would extend obligatory education from nine to twelve years and abolish the national high school entrance examination.
"We are yet to have the conditions to include senior high schools in compulsory education, the principal task in terms of senior high school education is for it to meet the needs of more junior high school graduates," the Ministry of Education (MOE) said in a press briefing yesterday.
In response to reports online that authorities could cancel the high school entrance examination, the MOE said, "Instead of canceling it, we will try to reduce the burden and pressure on students by combining the graduation exam and high school entrance exam, therefore, reducing the number of exams."
China does plan to extend mandatory schooling to encompass high schools nationwide by 2020, the education ministry said in a guideline on their popularization released this year.
"Popularization, compulsory education and free education are three different ideas," the MOE said "Popularization of high school education is more about making high schools more accessible, rather than including them compulsory or free," it added.
The enrolment rate of students in nine-year education reached 93.4 percent last year. However, imbalances still exist and the government has set up a subsidy system to help students from poor backgrounds to attend high schools. "For the next step, we aim to provide free high school education to those with family-related difficulties," said the ministry.