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      China makes significant progress in education in 70 years

      Author  :  Zhao Tong     Source  :    People's Daily Online     2019-12-18

      The status of education in China has become more prominent in recent years.

      In the early days, the nation's illiteracy rate was as high as 80 percent among China's population of 540 million. The actual enrollment rate of primary schools was less than 20 percent, while the number of students in higher education stood at just 117,000. The proportion of government GDP spending on education was only 1.3 percent.

      From 1949 to 1965, nearly 100 million young and middle-aged people learned to read and write, and the illiteracy rate dropped to 38.10 percent. According to UNESCO, China's illiteracy rate fell to 3.6 percent in 2015. The transformation of a country with a large population into a country with vast human resources is the most brilliant chapter in the history of Chinese education in the 20th century.

      The overall quality of Chinese education has improved

      The spring breeze of reform and opening-up revitalized the whole country and accelerated the pace of education.

      Compulsory education became the top priority. In 1986, a mandatory education law was declared, creating a compulsory period of 9 years of schooling. Since the autumn semester of 2008, all tuition and miscellaneous fees have been exempted from compulsory education in both urban and rural areas.

      Higher education is booming. In 1999, the government decided to expand the enrollment of colleges and universities; and 1.6 million students were enrolled in colleges nationwide.

      The teaching team is also getting stronger. Since 2001, the teacher qualification system has been fully implemented. By the end of 2014, more than 6.4 million rural teachers in central and western China had received training.

      According to the statistics, 94 percent of schools at all levels now have internet access. More than 64,000 teaching locations have full coverage of digital education resources, benefiting more than 4 million children in rural areas.

      Giving priority to education

      It is a solemn commitment made by the country in recent years to give priority to the development of education.

      In 2012, government spending on education exceeded 2 trillion yuan for the first time, accounting for 4.3 percent of China's GDP. Since then, government spending on education has increased every year, reaching 3.7 trillion yuan in 2018.

      Comprehensively improving the primary conditions of education in deprived areas, improving the nutrition of students in rural areas, and providing financial aid for students, have all accelerated the pace of learning. Breakthroughs have been made in basic research, and major scientific research projects in China's universities showed that the level of training in universities has gradually improved.

      These reforms and policies have made education in China better and fairer.

      Editor: Yu Hui

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