According to an investigation by the State Statistics Bureau, education is the most rapidly increased expense of urban consumption, with an average annual growth rate of about 20 percent. With the rapid progress of economic globalization in this century, and China’s entry into the WTO, China’s background of economic and social development has greatly changed, which means that Chinese education authorities must reconsider the mode of qualified personnel training and speed up the development of education.
At present, the average education level of the Chinese is only around eight years, the same as that in countries with the lowest income. Education and labor authorities estimate that, in the period between 2001 and 2005, the annual growth of labor population will be 11 million, and each year an additional several million people need reemployment training. However, to date, the proportion of China’s public education funds in the GDP is far lower than that in the developed countries in Europe and America, and lower than the average level of developing countries. And there is still a long way to go to reach the target of raising the proportion of public education funds to four percent of the GDP. Short of education funds remains a major element that holds back the development of education.
The New-Century Project of Millions of Qualified Personnel currently under way is a measure adopted by relevant government departments to adjust to China’s entry into the WTO. The aim of the project is, in five to 10 years, to train several hundred first-grade, outstanding scientists, engineers and theorists who are able to keep up with the edge of world new and high science and technology, several thousand academic leaders at the leading level in China, who will participate actively in the international sci-tech competition, and tens of thousands of young and middle-aged experts of high attainments in various fields of sciences.