Xi reaffirms education top priority

Updated: 2013-09-26 10:48

By Hu Haidan at United Nations (China Daily)

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President addresses UN's meeting on education via pre-recorded video

Chinese President Xi Jinping expressed his nation's commitment to education in a message to a meeting marking the first anniversary of the United Nations' Global Education First Initiative (GEFI).

In a pre-recorded video, Xi, on behalf of the Chinese people, voiced his firm support to the GEFI, which was proposed by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

"Education is the foundation of national development in the long run. It is the fundamental way for mankind to pass on civilization and knowledge, bring up new generations and create a better life," Xi said.

"China will continue to respond positively to the UN initiative. With more than 260 million students and some 15 million teachers, China faces an arduous task in the development of education," Xi said.

The GEFI was launched by Ban Ki-moon and UN Special Envoy Gordon Brown at the UN General Assembly on Sept 26, 2012. It is a five-year initiative to mobilize political and financial commitments to accelerate progress towards Education for All and the Millennium Development Goals of universal education. GEFI focuses on three priority areas: putting every child in school; improving the quality of learning; and fostering global citizenship.

China joined GEFI in May this year.

"China will firmly implement the strategy of invigorating the country through science and education, give strategic priority to education, step up investment in the area, and vigorously promote education for all, lifelong learning and pro-learning society to ensure that every child has equal access to education and that our 1.3 billion people have better and more equitable education and hence the capacity to develop themselves and make a contribution to society and mankind as a whole," Xi said.

Xi reaffirms education top priority

He said China will continue to enhance educational exchanges with other countries. "We will further open up education, support educational development in developing countries, and make joint efforts with other countries to usher in a better future for mankind," he said in the video, played to an audience of more than 100 people, including pianist Lang Lang, who served as UN Children's Fund Goodwill Ambassador.

During the 68th session of the UN General Assembly, GEFI focuses on education and the challenge of getting 57 million out-of-school children into classrooms and learning.

A second-round of Learning for All ministerial meetings will bring Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, Timor Leste, Chad, and Burma to the table to find constructive solutions to obstacles facing education in their countries.

The first-round of Learning for All ministerial meetings was hosted in April 2013. It included seven countries that were lagging behind in achieving universal education: Bangladesh, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Haiti, Nigeria, South Sudan, and Yemen.

Also in a video message to the meeting, Ban said education is a fundamental right and essential for shaping the future and it is regaining its rightful place on the global agenda.

"Encouraged by the Global Education First Initiative, governments and development partners are working to get every child in school and learning well to equip them for life in the 21st century," he said.


(China Daily USA 09/26/2013 page2)