BEIJING — Vice-Premier Sun Chunlan pledged to advance reforms in the education sector and improve education services in rural areas.
Efforts should be made to strengthen areas of weakness in rural compulsory education, address inadequacies in pre-school and vocational education, and modernize capacity and standard of governance in the sector, Sun said at the closing meeting of a two-day national education conference in Beijing on Sept 11.
The government will effectively implement the Party leadership’s decisions on education, enhance the Party’s leadership over education development, and adhere to the correct principles of education development, she said.
The country’s education system is aimed at nurturing capable young people well-prepared to join the socialist cause, she said.
The education authorities will fully carry out the policies made by the Communist Party of China Central Committee and State Council, including more resources for teachers’ welfare, she added.
China’s education budget has been equivalent to more than 4 percent of its gross domestic product since 2013, supporting a series of preferential policies for rural education and needy students.
Over the past five years, about 425 million students have received government financial assistance and more than 37 million students from needy families in compulsory schooling gained food subsidies. Under a special support program, about 370,000 rural students have been enrolled in elite colleges.
However, rural education services still lag behind, particularly with the shortage of teachers. At a bi-monthly session of the National People’s Congress Standing Committee in August, lawmakers suggested improving the welfare of rural teachers and setting up a special allowance for rural teachers in poor areas.