China has made great achievements in the education sector over the past five years, and an educational system with Chinese characteristics is taking shape, Minister of Education Chen Zhili said in Beijing Thursday.
Chen said at a national meeting on education work that the government's financial input in the education sector hit a record high in 2001, accounting for 3.19 percent of the year's gross domestic product.
Since 1998, some 70 billion yuan (US$8.4 billion) of government funding has been injected into the educational sector. The proportion of educational funds in the government budget has increased by one percentage point annually for five consecutive years.
The minister said that by the end of 2000, China had popularized primary and junior middle school education throughout the country. More than 90 percent of the total population had enjoyed nine years of compulsory education, and the rate of illiteracy among the young and middle aged had dropped to 5 percent.
Over the past five years, China has set up an additional 459 higher vocational schools. By the end of 2002, on-campus students in colleges and universities totaled more than 16 million, with the college entrance rate reaching 15 percent.
In the logistics field, the numbers of dorm buildings and dining halls for college student built or rebuilt in the last three years have exceeded or closed those in the past 50 years respectively.
The minister said pilot teaching for quality-oriented education has also been carried out throughout the country, with priority given to moral education.
Meanwhile, colleges and universities have provided great impetus to the national technological innovation drive. A total of22 high-tech zones launched by universities have become an important base for industrializing research results.
China has also set up a nationwide remote teaching network, with campus networks built in 70 percent of colleges and universities. At present, 67 universities are giving lessons through remote teaching networks.
(Xinhua News Agency December 27, 2002)