Southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region plans to set up 251 new kindergartens offering education in both Mandarin and the Tibetan language next year, the regional government said Tuesday.
The statement was made during an economic conference in Lhasa, in which the government promised to increase the region's spending on education and to promote bilingual preschool education in its farming and herding areas.
According to the plan, Tibet will enroll 15,000 rural children into bilingual kindergartens in 2012, said Chen Quanguo, secretary of the Tibetan Regional Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC).
By 2015, the two-year bilingual preschool education shall cover most of the region's rural areas, Chen said.
Tibet has already implemented bilingual preschool education in its cities and counties and is working to expand such kindergartens into the region's vast countryside starting this year.
In an earlier statement, education authorities said preschool education shall be made free for all children in rural Tibet by 2015.
Tuition fees, as well as food and lodging expenses on campus, have been free for all primary and secondary school students from Tibetan herders' families since 1985.