China approves new measures to narrow education gap
Updated: 2012-08-30 02:26
BEIJING -- The State Council on Wednesday approved a string of new measures to narrow the gap in fundamental educational levels between the nation's urban and rural areas.
China has provided children with universal access to fundamental education, or the nine-year compulsory education system that covers elementary and junior high education, but the quality of education differs among regions and schools, according to an executive meeting of the State Council presided over by Premier Wen Jiabao.
Promoting a balanced and quality fundamental education will be a primary task for the nation in the coming years, according to the meeting.
According to the new measures approved, the government will raise educational investment in rural or poverty-hit areas.
Educational facilities in rural schools such as books, laboratory equipment, accommodations and cafeterias will be improved, and excellent teachers will be encouraged to go to rural schools in order to ensure the equal allocation of educational resources.
Education must be quality-oriented, and schools should guide students to develop in all areas and nurture their sense of social responsibility and creativity rather than weigh them down with classes and homework, according to the measures.
Left-behind children, the children of migrant workers and orphans should be guaranteed equal rights in receiving education.
The development of private education institutions is also encouraged in the new measures.
Moreover, the measures require county-level governments to determine the locations of their elementary and primary schools in accordance with local population ratios.
The closing or merging of rural schools must strictly adhere to relevant rules and procedures, and parents and teachers should be invited to offer their suggestions, according to the measures.
The Ministry of Education issued a circular in July aiming to ensure that students have easy access to their schools, putting a 40-minute limit on students' commutes to and from school.
The measures also called for bolstering protection for boarding students by increasing standards for school facilities and services, including domestic installation and security guards.
Local governments are urged to strictly implement the Regulation on School Bus Safety Management created in April by the State Council to ensure safe school transportation, according to the measures.