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Vice-Premier Calls for Enhancing Education for Ethnic Minorities
Vice-Premier Li Lanqing has called for greater efforts to improve education for ethnic minorities, in order to promote unity, progress and common prosperity among ethnic groups.

Li Lanqing made the remarks Friday at a meeting of delegates tothe fifth national conference on educational work for minority ethnic groups, presided over by State Councilor Ismail Amat.

The vice-premier, a member of the Standing Committee of the Communist Party of China Central Committee Political Bureau, hailed the achievements China had made in developing education forthe ethnic minorities.

However, he pointed out that education levels of minorities were low and failing to meet the demands of economic and social development in their areas.

Improving education for minority people was a long-term and difficult task, he stressed.

The vice-premier called for greater investment and deeper reform in education for minorities.

During the Ninth Five-Year Plan period (1996-2000), 70 percent of the minority-populated areas ensured nine-year compulsory schooling and eliminated illiteracy among young and middle-aged people, according to Li. By 2010, all the minority areas should dothe same.

He went on to stress that the education for minorities should help promote unity among ethnic groups. While paying attention to teaching in minority languages, substantial measures should be taken to improve teaching in the Han language, he said.

He also called for improvements in teaching minority students foreign languages, "working hard to foster trilingual talents".

Li urged governments at all levels to study, stipulate and implement their local plans on the development of education facilities for minorities, while central and local government should support the reform and development of the cause through various means.

(Xinhua News Agency July 27, 2002)

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