Press conference on China's achievements in education reform and development since the 18th CPC National Congress

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Changjiang Daily:

The reform to the examination and enrollment system is a major concern of students and their parents. Could you introduce the progress of the reforms? Thank you.

Huai Jinpeng: 

This is a very good question. The examination and enrollment system is a basic educational system in China. Concerning national development as well as the immediate interests of the people and the health of teenagers, its reform is an important matter that almost everyone and every family has paid attention to.

In 2014, the State Council issued a document on deepening the reform of the examination and enrollment system, marking the start of a new round of reform to the system. The MOE then adopted a series of documents and policies to instruct 29 provinces to comprehensively reform their college entrance examination practices. An examination and enrollment model with Chinese characteristics has since taken shape, marked by categorized examination, comprehensive evaluation, and diversified college admission. Related institutions and mechanisms have been improved to further ensure fairness, sound talent selection, and strong supervision. The modern education, examination, and enrollment system with Chinese characteristics has been improved, as demonstrated in the following five aspects.

First, education access among different regions and between urban and rural areas has become more equitable. We have continued the program to enroll more students from central and western China and allocated new enrollment quotas in favor of central and western provinces and provinces with large populations. We have also continued the special program for major universities and colleges to enroll students from rural areas and poverty-stricken areas. From 2012 to 2022, annual enrollment from such areas has increased from 10,000 to 131,000 thanks to the program, and the total enrollments have exceeded 950,000. We have further implemented and improved the policy to grant children who live in urban areas with their rural migrant worker parents the same eligibility to go to secondary school or college as local students after receiving compulsory education. Some 1.68 million relocated children have sat the college entrance exam in the places of relocation.

Second, examinations have been improved to better promote well-rounded human development. All localities across China have generally put in place mechanisms for evaluating the well-rounded development of high school students. The function of college entrance exams in cultivating talent has been strengthened, with its content now focusing more on prompting comprehensive moral, intellectual, physical, aesthetic, and development of labor skills among students. There is a greater tendency to test a student's capabilities in the exam, and exams are now being more effectively linked with teaching. We have vigorously promoted categorized examinations for vocational college enrollment to test a student both on their academic achievements and professional skills. Annual enrollments through categorized examination have now passed three million, accounting for more than 60% of the total enrollments by vocational colleges. 

Third, talent selection has become more scientific and standard. In recent years, designated circumstances for granting extra scores to certain college entrance exam sitters have been significantly reduced and strictly controlled. Five national categories of circumstances have been canceled, and we are gradually canceling 95 local categories. The preferential policies for ethnic minorities will be made more targeted. In 2020, we launched a program to select and cultivate top-notch innovation talents in basic disciplines to meet the needs of China's major strategies. Around 18,000 enrollments have been made in the past three years under the program. We have also further reformed the examination and enrollment methods for art majors and members of high-level sports teams in colleges and universities to make selection fairer and more scientific. 

Fourth, we have further strengthened institutional development. We have increased information transparency, thoroughly implemented the Sunshine Project in college student enrollment, and earnestly carried out a series of restrictions on work related to student enrollment such as the "30 Prohibitions" and "Eight Basic Requirements." We have strengthened management on the process of examinations and admissions and strictly cracked down on illegal and criminal activities related to examinations. Since 2020, we have actively responded to the COVID-19 pandemic and created a model for organizing large-scale examinations under the regular epidemic prevention measures based on China's experience.

Fifth, we have made steady progress in comprehensive reform of the national college entrance examination. So far, a total of 29 provinces across the country have implemented the reform, giving students more choices in the combination of exam subjects instead of having to choose between liberal arts or science subjects. Regular senior high schools have to varying degrees adopted a system allowing students to choose electives. Colleges and universities have further improved curriculum provision requiring more focus on the cultivation of talents with solid foundation and wide career scope.

The examination and enrollment system is the country's basic education system. The MOE will continue to deepen reform in line with the needs of the country's economic and social development and personnel training to better serve national strategies. Thank you.

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