The State Council issued a circular to prevent students, especially those in remote and poverty-stricken areas, from dropping out of school and enhance the enrollment rate of compulsory education.
According to the circular, all levels of government should earnestly implement the compulsory education law and the Law on the Protection of Minors to protect students’ right to receive education.
They are also required to supervise and urge parents and statutory guardians to send their children to school, and persuade the dropouts to resume schooling.
The circular stressed managing the cultural market and school surroundings. Entertainment sites that can be harmful to students’ physical and mental health, such as video arcades and internet bars, are not allowed to operate near schools or serve minors.
Business entities found recruiting minors under the age of 16 will receive severe punishment.
To enhance quality and desirability of education in rural areas, efforts will be made to offer all the courses listed on the national curriculum, enrich campus activities, appropriately arrange learning time, and improve textbooks and teaching methods.
The circular also encouraged partner assistance between rural and urban schools, and urged improving the treatment of rural teachers with better pay and benefits.
General and vocational education in rural areas should be combined, and assistance to students with learning difficulties should be a major focus in controlling dropout rates.
China’s poverty relief work should put emphasis on helping financially challenged students. Prioritized assistance should be given to disabled children, the minor offspring of people with disabilities or in prison, and children in less developed ethnic group areas, to lift them out of poverty.
The government should offer free compulsory education, subsidies and other preferential policies to students in rural areas, the circular stated.
The circular called for optimizing school distribution, building boarding schools in convenient villages and towns, and teaching sites in remote areas. The commuting issue can be solved with more beds, traffic routes, stations and school buses.
Efforts should be made to improve school buildings and facilities in areas with a high dropout rate due to poor teaching conditions, the circular stated.
Also, all governments and schools are asked to keep monitoring dropout information based on a national system.