On January 18, the National Education Working Conference 2019 was held in Beijing. Minister of Education Chen Baosheng attended the meeting and delivered a speech.
Chen first made reference to the 5th national education conference held in 2018, which laid out the framework for building China into an educational powerhouse complete with modernized educational infrastructure and services to satisfy people’s needs and expectations. He outlined the educational breakthroughs made over the past year as a result of relentless effort, such as “Education Endeavor 2018”, under the leadership of the Party Central Committee and the State Council, including introducing reforms and innovation to expand the country’s talent pool, improving educational management consistent with the ultimate goal of education, and further boosting teacher capacity-building.
Noting that 2019 would mark the 70th anniversary of the People’s Republic of China, and would be a pivotal year in China’s march towards its goal to become a prosperous country by 2049, the minister urged all educational authorities and departments to ensure that guidelines emanating from the National Education Conference 2018 were fully implemented, while building on the successes of “Education Endeavor 2018”. Chen went on to table a six-point guidance plan for work in 2019. First, education had to be prioritized to make it a driving force for China’s progress across the board. In that respect, he encouraged forward thinking and further efforts to mobilize resources. Second, moral education needed to be institutionalized, rigid standards introduced for aesthetic and physical education, and a greater role given to family education, as part of the ongoing educational reforms. Third, teacher capacity building had to be reinforced by reviving traditional respect for teachers, ensuring teachers observed codes of ethics and professional conduct, increasing support for rural teacher development, and reducing burdens on teachers. Fourth, existing programs to reduce poverty through education had to be fully implemented. Fifth, inefficient institutional hurdles obstructing educational progress had to be removed through further reforms to educational management approaches. Sixth, the Party’s leadership for all educational efforts had to be consolidated to ensure stability of the education system.
The minister noted that high productivity, efficiency and effectiveness should be guiding principles for carrying out tasks scheduled for 2019. Specifically, he emphasized the central importance of fully implementing established programs, and the strong sense of responsibility and self-discipline as part of the political correctness required for the new era. He underlined pragmatism, creativity and focus as key factors to realize tasks ahead, and cautioned against counterproductive formalities, fudges, and cost-intensive and ineffective practices. He encouraged officials to develop drive, enterprise, and foresight to make better decisions and create synergies in their work. He urged them to improve their operational capability through constant learning, and to apply new knowledge suited to the reality of their working environment. He also underscored the role of legislation in advancing educational reforms.
The conference was attended by officials from the MOE and other ministries, and representatives of local-level educational departments and universities directly affiliated to the MOE, among other participants. Representatives from Hebei, Jiangxi, Hubei, Hunan, Guangdong, Gansu and Qinghai provinces, as well as Beijing and Shanghai made presentations at the conference.