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China: 'Learning Society' Promised in Education Plan
Source: Xinhua
Source Date: Friday, July 30, 2010
Focus: Institution and HR Management
Country: China
Created: Aug 02, 2010

Universal preschool education and a pledge to eliminate illiteracy are among the reforms of China's education system published in the country's national education plan for the next decade.

The pledges are among a host of promises listed in the "Outline of China's National Plan for Medium and Long-Term Education Reform and Development (2010-2020)," which was published in full on Thursday.

"The strategic goals to be attained by 2020 are to basically modernize education; shape a learning society; and turn China into a country rich in human resources," says the document, which comprises 22 chapters and 27,000 words.

It says that preschool education should be basically universal by 2020, and the nine-year compulsory education policy should be consolidated.

The enrolment rate for senior middle school should be 90 percent of those of school age, while the enrolment rate for higher education should be 40 percent of high school graduates.

It also sets the goal of eliminating illiteracy among young and middle-aged people by the end of the decade.

The Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and the State Council have issued a notice requiring local Party committees and governments to carefully implement the national education outline.

The outline vows to spare no efforts to "run every school well and bring quality education to every student. No child shall be allowed to drop out due to family financial difficulties."

Minister of Education Yuan Guiren said the outline addressed major issues faced by China's education system, educational development bottlenecks, as well as issues of public concern.

The outline's drafting began in August 2008 and it was made public on the Internet twice to solicit feedback. Millions of suggestions were received and the draft was revised about 40 times accordingly.

The outline says issues about providing equal compulsory education opportunities for children of migrant workers in cities shall be addressed.

To prevent quality education resources unfairly going to key schools and parents trying to send their children to such schools, the outline also says that by 2020, the quality of compulsory education shall be balanced in all regions, ensuring school-aged children and adolescents have equal access to quality compulsory education.

In a bid to lessen assignment burdens on primary and secondary school students, the outline requires the establishment of an assignment burden monitoring and reporting mechanism.

To address inadequate funding, the outline states the country's fiscal education expenditure should be increased to be four percent of GDP in 2012.

In 2008, China's fiscal education expenditure was 3.48 percent of GDP, lower than the world average of 4.5 percent.

The outline also says the Chinese central and local governments shall expand financial assistance for education in the ethnic minority-inhabited areas.

The country will strengthen campus safety management and boost safety education among teachers and students to improve schools' emergency response capacities and guard against crime, says the outline.

The outline says that China will tighten fund management in a bid to prevent school financial risks. Also, a consultancy commission for higher education funding will be established to enhance efficiency of fund distribution.

In mid-July, a high-profile work conference on education was held in Beijing. At that conference, Chinese President Hu Jintao urged the Communist Party of China and the whole country to give priority to education in their work.
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