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Marco reported that homeless children [in Kublai Kahn's city of Daidu] were cared for and educated. While he says little about the system of education in China, we know from records of the time that Kublai Khan created thousands of public schools to provide a basic education for all children, including those of poor peasants. Until then, only the wealthy were literate. Kublai's bid at 'universal education' had never been attempted by any country on Earth. In the western world, nearly 500 years would pass before governments began to take responsibility for the public education of all children.

Russell Freedman


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