China's basic education involves pre-school, nine-year compulsory education from elementary to junior high school, standard senior high school education, special education for disabled children, and education for illiterate people.
China has over 200 million elementary and high school students, who, together with pre-school children, account for one sixth of the total population. For this reason the Central Government has prioritized basic education as a key field of infrastructure construction and educational development.
In recent years, senior high school education has developed steadily. In 2004 enrollment was 8.215 million, 2.3 times that of 1988. Gross national enrollment in senior high schools has reached 43.8 percent, still lower than that of developed countries.
The government has created a special fund to improve conditions in China's elementary and high schools, for new construction, expansion and the re-building of run-down structures. Per-capita educational expenditure for elementary and high school students has grown greatly, teaching and research equipment, books and documents being updated and replenished every year.
Government's aim for the development of China's basic education system is to approach or attain the level of moderately-developed countries by 2010.