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Wen seeks opinions on education reform plan

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao has held five meetings over the past month to seek opinions and suggestions on a draft featuring guidelines of an education reform plan of China for the next decade.

The document, entitled "State guidelines for middle- and long-term educational reform and development plan", is intended to chart the course for education development in China before 2020.

The country began working on the document in late August 2008, and a leading group with Premier Wen in charge, was set up to be responsible for the drafting efforts.

Among Wen's guests invited to Zhongnanhai in Beijing for the meetings were education experts, teachers, parents, students, and education administrative officials.

The invitees aired advice and suggestions on reforming the management system of colleges, improving quality of vocational education, reducing children's study loads, and loosening limitations on the education of migrant workers' children in cities at the meetings held from Jan. 11 to Feb. 6.

Wen said the reform plan must stick to principles including emancipation of the mind from shackles of traditional concepts and system to realize scientific development in education, letting teaching faculty, instead of the administrative staff, play a leading role in schools, and advancing an equal distribution of educational resources.

Apart from the five meetings, other forms, such as opening a designated e-mail box, organizing Internet forums, and launching a special column with the website of the Ministry of Education have also been tried to solicit opinions and suggestions for drafting of the document.

After the fifth round of opinion soliciting on Saturday, the document would be made public so that more people in the country would participate in the consultation and extra advice be heard before the document could be revised and improved, said Wen.