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Minister Talk: Education Minister on running education to meet people's expectations

2009-10-12 11:05 BJT

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Education is the most fundamental part of a nation, and in a sense, determines its future. China's education has made tremendous achievements over the past six decades. Today, in our special series, Minister talk, the Minister of Education, Zhou Ji, shares his impressions and ambitions with us.

160 million children across China have been able to go to school tuition-free since the fall semester of 2008. The state lifted fees for nine years of schooling nationwide, and finally realized a full implementation of free compulsory education. This is considered a great stride for a developing country with 1.3 billion people.

Zhou Ji said, "It's a great milestone in the development of China's education. Our expenditure on education last year is about 560 billion yuan. That equals the total state revenue of 1994."

In 1949, 80 percent of China's population was illiterate. The enrollment rate at secondary schools, only 6 percent.

In 1985, the government introduced its compulsory nine-year education program. In 2008, 98 percent of children are schooled and less than 4 percent of young adults are illiterate.

The Minister illustrates the achievement with an example.

Zhou Ji said, "I asked many foreign entrepreneurs why they prefer to invest in China. They say many reasons, but one is very important. China has the largest labor force and these young people received nine-year compulsory education. There are hundreds of millions of them. An entire generation receives an education. The quality of the whole nation is greatly increased.”