The Ministry of Education is set to work with other departments to narrow the education gap between urban and rural areas, according to an education official.
The government’s goal is to eliminate the gap by 2020, Liu Limin, vice-minister of education, said at a news conference on July 12.
Liu said China’s urbanization requires co-development of urban and rural areas, while the reform of the household registration system, the adoption of the second-child policy and the mobility of the population, including students, also pose challenges to basic education in the country.
“In many places of China, rural areas lag far behind urban areas in education resources,” Liu said. “This has led to an unbalanced situation where schools in rural areas are weak in education while their counterparts in urban areas are crowded.”
To solve the problem, Liu said there is a lot of work to do in terms of the construction of schools and the distribution of funds and teachers. This calls for cooperation between the ministry and other departments, including those dealing with housing and human resources, he said.
“By building standardized schools, the gap in facilities between rural and urban schools will be eliminated,” Liu said. “Besides, the pay of rural schoolteachers will be raised to attract more high-quality educators to work in impoverished areas.”
Wei Zhuo, an official at the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security, said the ministry will focus on rural schoolteachers in the reform of teacher evaluations.
“The new evaluation system will emphasize primary and middle school teachers’ daily teaching, rather than their academic achievements,” Wei said.
“Priority will be given to teachers with at least three years’ working experience at rural schools.”