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Education in central and western regions to be improved

Updated: Apr 27,2016 9:40 PM

The State Council decided to accelerate education development in the central and western regions, tap the potential of cultural and historical relics, and passed a draft plan for regulations on irrigation and water conservancy, during an executive meeting on April 27, presided over by Premier Li Keqiang.

The meeting urged speeding up the development of education in central and western regions, especially in the poorest areas and for the most vulnerable people. Education quality is essential in improving people’s lives, achieving poverty-alleviation and building a moderately well-off society. To meet the targets, the meeting laid out six measures:

First, promote a balanced development of compulsory education in county-level regions. Teaching facilities and faculties should be equipped according to set standards. Boarding schools should provide better service in teaching quality, books, dining and heating conditions. By 2018, the problem of overcrowded classrooms in schools should be resolved. Governments will help cultivate rural teachers with measures such as free education and tuition reimbursement.

Second, develop vocational education by raising funds for students at secondary vocational schools, and gradually exempting their tuition fees. Vocational schools should enhance operations, with a focus on practice and training, as well as promoting cooperation with enterprises.

Third, popularize high school education, by means of building and renovating a number of high schools, and improving their conditions. The high school tuition fee for students from impoverished families will be gradually phased out, with the aim of making sure the gross enrollment rate for high schools in central and western regions will reach 90 percent by 2020.

Fourth, support the construction of high-level universities, expanding the opportunities for students from central and western regions to receive a higher education. The government will help establish a college or university directly under the Ministry of Education in the 14 provinces where no such educational institutions are available.

Fifth, develop preschool education in rural areas, and support the development of affordable nurseries and kindergartens for rural families.

Sixth, strengthen policy inclination toward ethnic groups and ethnic regions. Bilingual education in ethnic regions will be promoted, and special education schools and resource centers will also be established for physically disabled people.

Meanwhile, the State Council urged authorities to take responsibility for developing education at the local level, making the best use of education resources and keeping talent.

The meeting decided to encourage cultural and historical relic units to develop more products.

It said that excavating the collection resources and developing cultural and creative products can have a huge significance in displaying different cultures, passing on Chinese civilizations and promoting a coordinated development of the economy and society.

To better achieve these goals, the following measures should be implemented:

First, choose a batch of different categories of museums, art galleries and libraries as test centers, and allow them to develop cultural and creative products with business models such as cooperation, authorization and independent development. However, the pilot programs’ priorities are non-profit goals, protecting cultural relics and properly handling their main business.

Second, cultivate talent on product development and marketing, improve the guidance and support systems, and facilitate talent exchange channels between public institutions, State-owned enterprises and private enterprises.

Third, promote the integration of cultural resources with creative design and tourism industry. The cultural resources should also be combined with the new-type urbanization and enrich public places. Governments should encourage building cultural brands, protect intellectual property rights and advance the digitalization of cultural resources.

Fourth, provide policy support. State-owned relics units should explore more reasonable income allocation systems, attract private capital to take part in the research, production and operation process.

The meeting also passed a draft plan on irrigation and water conservancy to promote development and agricultural modernization, guarantee national grain safety and increase farmers’ income.

Based on the principle of scientific organization, the plan offered regulations on the construction and operation of irrigation and water conservancy, farmland irrigation and drainage.

The plan encouraged private capital to take part, and made clear legal obligations for negligence or malpractice, with an effort to provide system support for the better use of irrigation and water conservancy.