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Public opinion key to reform
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Public opinion and participation should be involved in the drafting of a middle- and long-term education development blueprint of the country, says an article in Beijing News.

A 12-year education reform and development program, the country's first in the 21st century, was announced recently by the Ministry of Education and is now open to public debate. Premier Wen Jiabao will head the committee drafting the program, which is expected to be laid out by the end of this year. The high profile of the committee best demonstrates the utmost importance the government attaches to this public matter.

During the past decades, the country made several major and complicated reforms of its education system. However, no satisfactory formulas have been presented to the public. One underlying reason is the lack of considerate planning. Also, most of the major decisions were made on a haphazard basis.

To stop such a phenomenon from recurring in the drafting of the new education development outline, the government should make an in-depth investigation as to where the country's fundamental education problems lie and how to resolve these before taking any major steps.

To this end, a special research team consisting of experts and professionals of various kinds is needed desperately. Also, in the process, public opinions should be fully respected given that education is closely related to every citizen and decides the civilizational value of the whole nation. Only in this way is a scientific and democratic program expected to be worked out.

(China Daily January 12, 2009)

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