Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region in northwest China is to build enough kindergartens in rural areas for 220,000 children.
The regional education department said Sunday that from 2016 to 2017, 220,000 children from the underdeveloped areas in southern Xinjiang would reach kindergarten age, but the facilities are far from adequate.
Only around 1,700 of 5,000 villages in southern Xinjiang have kindergartens. The situation is somewhat better in townships where around 260 of 370 townships have kindergartens.
The central government has approved a budget of 1 billion yuan (144,600 U.S. dollars) to build 552 bilingual kindergartens in Xinjiang this year and the regional government is encouraging the conversion of empty houses into kindergartens.
China has nine years of free and compulsory education, but in Xinjiang, this has been extended to include kindergartens and senior high schools.
By the end of 2015, southern Xinjiang region has 1,700 bilingual kindergartens attending to 350,000 children.