The Chinese government will make basic education the priority on its development agenda, said Vice-Minister of Education Wang Zhan in Beijing Thursday.
Wang said basic education is the foundation of China's strategy of revitalization through science and education, which will help improve the nation's quality, nurture talent and promote economic development.
The State Council will hold a national working conference on the issue next week. Some 400 local government officials including governors, deputy governors in charge of education and directors of provincial finance departments will discuss basic education reform and development.
Wang sees the coming conference as a vital step in the education progress after the country has fundamentally achieved compulsory education and eliminated child illiteracy, and improved higher education.
According to the vice-minister, basic education in China including pre-schooling, schooling, special education for disabled and that for illiterates, directly involves 230 million people. Including parents of the children, half of China's 1.2 million population are involved.
Government statistics show that 85 percent of school-aged children were able to receive primary and middle school education and the illiteracy rate of young people was reduced to less than five percent in 2000.
However, Wang Zhan said the basic education in China is still weak with an imbalance in some areas, a lack of financial support in rural areas and a stereotyped education system centering around exams.
The Ministry of Finance will allocate some five billion yuan (US$602 million) to improve the basic education level in poor areas.
Wang is optimistic that by 2010, China will see a population of 400 million enjoying high quality basic education.