Authorities in west China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region have decided to send more high school students, especially ethnic Uygurs, to schools with better educational resources in inland regions, a local official said Friday.
The number of students from Xinjiang enrolled at inland high schools will increase by 712 to reach 7,090 this year, according to Tilixati, an educational official with the regional government.
More than 90 percent of the enrollment slots will go to Uygur ethnic minority students, the official said.
Educational authorities started the program in 2000, aiming to give Uygurs living in the country's remote western regions easier access to quality education and to give them more opportunities.
A similar program helped 70,000 Tibetan students to study at inland middle schools and colleges since being launched in 1985.
About 95 percent of the 13,200 Xinjiang natives who have participated in the program over the past decade have made their way into universities and colleges in inland regions, official statistics show. More than 60 high schools in 36 inland cities are currently participating in the program.
Xinjiang, which accounts for one-sixth of China's total land area, holds rich oil reserves but remains relatively poor. Last year, the central government created a set of favorable policies to boost the region's economic development, including tax cuts, financial support and programs that send professionals from various industries to the region to provide consultative support for local businesses and governments.