China's political advisory body has criticised the Government's failure to reach education spending targets.
"The growth of education spending should at least keep pace with growth in state revenue and military spending," said Bou Shorgan, a delegate of the education group of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference and president of Inner Mongolia University.
Despite a rapid expansion in student numbers since the 1990s, China's education spending has remained low, at about 3 per cent of gross domestic product.
China's economy expanded by 10.7 per cent last year, and state revenue rose by 24.3 per cent. The Government has set a 17.9 per cent growth target for military spending this year.
"It is unacceptable that our country's education spending is even less than that of India's and the developing world's average," said Dong Zixiao, another education group delegate.
Jin Renqing, the Finance Minister, stated that spending on education is likely to exceed 3 per cent of GDP this year.
However, this still falls short of a target set by China in 1993, when the Government pledged to raise spending to 4 per cent of GDP by 2000.
The Government renewed this aim last year, saying it hoped to reach 4 per cent by 2010. "The Government should do whatever it can to reach this target," Mr Dong said, "no matter what difficulties they come across."