More than 10,000 elementary and middle schools teach in both Chinese and ethnic languages, according to the State Ethnic Affairs Commission (SEAC).
Twenty-one ethnic languages are used in these bilingual schools, which enroll more than 6 million students in areas dominated by ethnic minorities. Many teachers have been trained by the government for this purpose, the SEAC sources said.
According to official figures, China publishes more than 3,500 kinds of minority language textbooks every year, totaling more than 100 million copies.
The government has launched a pilot program for remote-teaching in rural areas. A special fund of 10 million yuan (about 1.2 million US dollars) has been allocated by the central government to make discs for bilingual teaching in minority-dominated areas.
Beginning in 2004, a number of universities have launched a program to recruit postgraduate students from 11 provinces and autonomous regions in the western region of the country in order to foster high-level professionals for these poverty-stricken areas.
Last year, 2,500 postgraduate students from the western region have entered these universities. By 2007, the figure is expected to top 5,000, with a total of 15,000 postgraduates studying in these universities.