More than 300 Chinese higher-learning institutes will increase enrollment of students from northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region in government-sponsored education programs.
At an education conference organized by the Ministry of Education and the State Ethnic Affairs Commission on Saturday, representatives from 323 higher-learning institutes signed an agreement to enlarge the annual enrollment of Xinjiang students to 10,000 between 2016 and 2020, up from 6,800 students a year before.
The program has been aimed at improving the education level of ethnic talent from Xinjiang, said Zhu Zhiwen, vice minister of education at the meeting held in Urumqi, Xinjiang's regional capital.
Chen Gaihu, vice director of the ethnic affairs commission, said the program helps protect education rights of ethnic minority groups in Xinjiang.
Although the number of primary and secondary schools has met the need in Xinjiang, the region lacks higher education resources.
In December 2015, the China University of Petroleum inaugurated its campus in Karamay, a renowned oil town in Xinjiang, to become the first higher-learning institute directly under the Ministry of Education to establish a campus in Xinjiang.
To ensure access to education for the ethnic people in Xinjiang, the central government initiated the "education coordination program" in 1989 by encouraging universities across the country to reserve seats for students from Xinjiang.
Over the past two decades, 323 higher-learning institutes have joined the program, which have helped train more than 60,000 Xinjiang students. The graduates have been serving as backbone professionals in all major political, economic and agricultural sectors in Xinjiang.