Vice-Premier Li Lanqing yesterday urged governments to make greater efforts to promote China's basic education to ensure the country's sustainable development in the new century.
Many difficulties still exist in the development process of compulsory education in China, especially in rural areas inhabited by more than 800 million farmers, Li said.
As a developing country, China still has many illiterate people of various ages, especially in poverty-stricken areas. And because of a lack of money, many students are still dropping out of school.
In cities, people with poor education have major difficulties getting a job. He said that regardless of where people live, there is an urgent need for people to improve their education.
"To enhance compulsory education is an effective way for China to turn its heavy population burden into a rich talent resource," the vice-premier said at a national conference on basic education yesterday in Beijing.
Governments at all levels are asked to allocate more money to invest in developing compulsory education.
In seriously poverty-stricken areas, special support will be given to help children go back to school, to build more schools and to improve education conditions.
Li also said teachers' wages should be paid promptly and that they also should receive necessary training.
(China Daily 06/12/2001)