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Education equality vital, says Premier

Updated: Feb 20,2015 8:22 PM

Premier Li Keqiang has been promoting education equality, especially to students in central and western regions and rural areas, since taking office in 2013.

At least 80,000 rural students have been enrolled at key colleges and universities thanks to new policies implemented during his term.

In his report to the Twelfth National People’s Congress in March last year, the Premier said the number of key universities’ students from poor rural areas would be increased by more than 10 percent, to “give rural children more opportunity to receive higher education.”

More than 50,000 students benefited from that in 2014, according to the Ministry of Education.

Li called for the promotion of education equality and scientific innovation to better support the country’s social and economic development as long ago as 2013.

More educational resources should be allotted to China’s relatively underdeveloped areas, including encouraging prominent teachers to work there, according to Li.

He also asked education authorities to suggest methods of promoting fairness in education, adding that modern information technology should be employed to ensure rural students enjoy the same access to resources as their urban peers.

Li again called for education equality during a visit to students from the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region studying in Dalian No 20 Senior High School in Dalian, Liaoning province.

He speaks about fairness on almost every occasion he sees students. When he met graduates of Pudong village, Liping county, Guizhou province last week, the rural students told him about difficulties they faced, such as the high repayment rate of student loans. He promised that the State Council would create new policies to ease their difficulties.

The Premier surprised many people when he replied to a letter from students at Jinzhai Project Hope Primary School of Anhui province in East China, established 25 years ago and the first of its kind in China.

Li - who was a member of the Secretariat of the Communist Youth League Central Committee at the time - visited Jinzhai county in Feb 1990 to help choose the location for the school.

In his letter Li wrote: “Poverty is terrible, but not having the opportunity to an equal education is even more terrible. It may be difficult to eliminate poverty in the short term, but we cannot lose any time in creating a fair environment. Together, let’s continue our efforts to create a better world so that every poor child will be able to have a good life”.