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Widen Access to Education

The large number of workers with only low-level education has become a sticking point for economic development, says an article in Xiaoxiang Morning News. An excerpt follows:

The National Bureau of Statistics recently published a document warning that an excess of unskilled labour will hamper the country's economic development.

It has been reported that those with senior high school education at best account for more than 70 percent of the unemployed.

According to prevailing ideas, a country's soft strength should include an education system capable of cultivating high-quality talent and an academic research system that can stimulate innovation.

The large contingent of citizens with low-level education will hold back the increase of our national strength, and be unfavourable to economic development.

According to Zhang Baowen, vice-minister of agriculture, among the country's 480 million rural labourers, 420 million have only received junior middle school level education or below.

The existence of such a large army of citizens with low-level education is the result of the unbalanced distribution of resources. Efforts to reverse the trend should be made.

Governments at all levels should continue to attach great importance to education, lower costs and build an all-inclusive system.

Premier Wen Jiabao recently made a solemn commitment that the country will provide completely free compulsory education in rural areas within two years. This is encouraging.

It is expected the move will help improve the general education level of the rural population and push economic development forward.

(China Daily December 16, 2005)

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