The government has allocated 13.44 billion yuan (2.12 billion U.S. dollars) to buy textbooks for rural students in 2012, the Ministry of Finance said Monday. The fund will benefit around 130 million rural students, according to a statement posted on the ministry's website. China started a free textbook program for rural students in 2007. Under the program, each rural student can receive free textbooks for the duration of their nine-year compulsory education period. China currently provides its children with access to basic education for nine years, covering elementary and junior high education.