Beijing Vows to Promote Education

Beijing will maintain its position as China's research center in the new century and expand even further its advantage as a breeding ground for scientific talents, pledged Lin Wenyi, Beijing vice-mayor in charge of education, science and technology.

Speaking at the city's ongoing Fourth Session of the 11th Beijing Municipal People's Congress, Lin said Beijing will not only dedicate itself to building some of the world's best universities and institutions, as well as well-known study and research centers, but also strive to improve its educational structure at the more fundamental levels.

Although Beijing has always had the luxury of being home to the most and best universities and institutions in China, it falls far behind the world's more developed cities in terms of general education for ordinary people, the vice-mayor said.

Making improvements in this realm will be key to maintaining and improving Beijing's position in the world of high technology, she added.

To this end, Lin said Beijing will make the development of ordinary high schools a priority over the next few years.

Last year, the city saw the number of students enrolled in ordinary high schools rise dramatically, so that, for the first time in a decade, vocational school and ordinary high school student populations were roughly equal.

In the past five years, Beijing has taken the lead among Chinese cities in having over 90 per cent of its schoolage children enrolled in either high schools or equivalent vocational schools.

Of those students, 40 per cent have passed the country's highly competitive college admission examinations.

This percentage rate will be increased to over 50 per cent in the next five years, Lin promised.

The vice-mayor's remarks were widely applauded by the people's deputies, but some said they believed Beijing should pay more attention to local children's extracurricular activities.

Zang Tiejun, of the Central Education Science Institution, said the city should equip communities with special recreation areas to appeal to the vigorous youth, because today's transportation situation no longer allowed them to play on the streets as in the old days.

Another deputy, Ma Zhongliang from the Beijing Social Science Institution, urged the municipal government to attach more importance to community education for grown-ups.

(China Daily 02/06/2001)

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