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China Embarks on Basic Education Reform


Teachers involved in compulsory education in China's most populous province of Henan will not need to worry about their salary being paid late because of the shortage of funds in schools, as they will be paid by state finances from January 1 next year.

This will be one of the important steps in China's basic education reform which is expected to draw mammoth state financing. In addition to teachers' incomes, the reform will include new curriculum arrangements and education quality evaluations, according to a decision issued by the State Council earlier this year.

The nine-year compulsory education system has been implemented in most parts of the country, while at the same time, the goal to eliminate illiteracy among young and middle-aged people has been realized.

China has shifted the focus towards experimenting in new methods to improve the quality of compulsory education by relieving students of the examination burden and stressing quality-oriented education.

To pilot the reform, 20 million students in Henan Province have got the chance ahead of their peers elsewhere to enjoy new curriculums with information technology and social practice courses.

The courses are not only designed to arouse students' interests but also to develop their all-round abilities.

Currently, China has over 200 million primary- and middle- school students, who are benefiting from compulsory education. The number accounts for one sixth of the country's total population. The Chinese government has highlighted basic education as a primary area in the country's infrastructure construction and educational cause.

China's basic education covers preschool education, the nine- year compulsory education, special education for disabled children and illiteracy-elimination education. By the end of last century, the compulsory education had reached 85 percent of the Chinese population, reducing the country's rate of young and middle-aged illiterate adults to below 5 percent.

However, the level of China's rural education varies from region to region. The fact that the funds used in compulsory education cannot be ensured, especially in rural areas, is the most prominent problem in the current basic education system.

The Ministry of Finance plans to pool 5 billion yuan to improve the basic education in impoverished rural areas in the next five years.

In order to deal with the unequal school fees, the country has asked impoverished counties to implement unified fee standards and costs for textbooks in compulsory education.

The Chinese government has also appropriated 3 billion yuan to renovate run-down school buildings in rural areas in the next two or three years.

China has set 2010 as the time to achieve the basic education goal, which is to lift the country's basic educational level up to the standard of the world's relatively developed countries.

(Xinhua News Agency October 28, 2001)

In This Series

Chinese Teachers Gain More Status and Salary

Over 10 Million Teachers Help Flourish China's Education

Chinese Teachers Face New Pressures

Role of Basic Education Highlighted

China to Prioritize Basic Education

Leading Group of National Science, Education Holds Meeting

HK Committed to Education Reform

10,000 Rural Teachers to Be Trained for Western Region

China Protects Teachers' Legal Rights

Do More for Teachers

References

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