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Laying the groundwork for one of the world's best education systems-- Overview of progress towards educational modernization since the 18th CPC National Congress

2018-09-09 10:37:00

According to the Statistical Report on China’s Educational Achievements in 2017, China achieved middle or high level rankings in the world in terms of educational performance, with the gross enrollment rate at preschool, upper secondary education and higher education levels reaching 79.6%, 88.3% and 45.7%, respectively; and 93.8% of students in the nine-year compulsory education system finishing their course of study.

These achievements formed part of a historic milestone for China in educational reforms and development since the 18th CPC National Congress in 2012, and have laid the groundwork for China to create a fully modernized education system that provides the best education in the world.

Making use of information and communications technology (ICT)

Great momentum has been generated through efforts to build e-campuses since the 18th CPC congress, most notably, through inter-school broadband network connectivity, inter-class quality resource sharing, creation of online classes, and development of public service platforms for pooling and managing pedagogical resources.

In 2017, the internet penetration rate in primary schools reached 90% from 25% in 2012; the proportion of classrooms equipped with multimedia tools increased to 83% from 40% in 2012. As of 2017, access to quality teaching resources in the classrooms has undergone massive expansion, ICT-aided teaching has become the new normal, and online learning has grown exponentially. Nearly 10 million elementary and secondary school teachers, over 100,000 schoolmasters and over 200,000 vocational school teachers have received training on the use of ICT tools.

China has also made significant progress in improving enrollment rates, school conditions, teaching staff qualifications and funding. Additionally, as a major indicator of progress towards educational modernization, China has established exchange and cooperation frameworks and agreements with 188 countries and regions, and is now the world's largest source of international students and the most popular destination for students from other Asian countries.

Building a teaching workforce equipped with modern teaching tools and educational notions

Teachers are the backbone of any education system, and their ideas and principles relating to education represent the success or failure of China’s drive towards modernizing its education system. Since 2012, China’s teaching workforce has been greatly revitalized and motivated, thanks to the introduction of a wide range of support policies and incentives, including the Rural Teacher Support Program 2015-2020, and the Opinions on Deepening the Development and Reform of the Teaching Workforce in a New Era, released in 2018.

Since 2012, China has continuously reformed its teacher training system, and the quality of teacher education has improved greatly. Between 2012 and 2016, a total of 9.35 billion RMB was invested, under the National Training Program for Primary and Secondary School Teachers, and other programs for support to teachers from central and western parts of China, in providing training for 9.57 million preschool, primary and secondary school teachers and headmasters, as well as improving ICT literacy for 9.4 million school teachers. In addition, the central government has earmarked 700 million RMB a year for the training of 250,000 vocational school teachers.

As part of efforts to raise the level of qualification of teachers, a certification and regular registration system for school teachers has been put in place in 28 provinces, and policies on periodic rotation of schoolmasters have been introduced in 30 provinces. The Chinese government has also initiated an array of incentives to improve teacher pay and to make the teaching profession more attractive.

Developing a new generation of citizens equipped for the modern era

Pursuing modernization of education is not an end in itself, but a means to developing future generations of Chinese citizens equipped for the modern era, both academically and intellectually. In order to produce more human capital to raise China to the same rank as other modern countries, the current administration has introduced a whole bundle of reforms since 2012.

In September 2014, the State Council issued the Opinions on Deepening the Reform of the Examination and Enrollment System to press ahead with structural reforms of the college enrollment system. High school students have since been allowed to take subjects of their interest and are not restricted to a fixed curriculum, paving the way for universities to follow suite and produce graduates that excel in specific fields motivated by the interests of students themselves. In April 2015, in the Opinions on Deepening Reform of Systems for Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Institutions of Higher Learning Education, the General Office of the State Council decided that specialized courses on innovation and entrepreneurship should be offered to all college students. In October 2015, “Internet +”, an annual innovation and entrepreneurship competition for college students, was launched. By the third session of the event in 2017, a large number of innovative business ideas had attracted attention and funding from investors.

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