The State Council executive meeting on July 19 decided to adopt measures to prevent students from dropping out of school.
“We should not only guarantee the basic living standards of the public, but also ensure that eligible children, especially those from poverty-affected families, receive compulsory education to help eliminate poverty among those families,” Premier Li Keqiang told the meeting.
By 2020, the State Council wants 95 percent of students to complete their nine year’s of compulsory education.
Premier Li said China’s education has made several achievements since the reform and opening up, becoming a key force to drive the nation’s economic and social progress.
He said education will continue to support China’s development and must be a priority of the government.
In some regions, especially poor areas, some students are still dropping out of schools. Such phenomenon, if left uncontrolled, will cast a shadow on those poor families, as well as, the future of the nation, Premier Li said.
The Premier recalled his visit to Northwest China’s Shaanxi province where he was told that a kid from a poor family used to walk 20 kilometers to school every day.
“We must make education in the countryside more equal and prevent students from dropping out of school due to poverty or the distance from home to school,” he said.
He mentioned that a significant factor contributing to students dropping out of compulsory education was limited budget, which causes poor school conditions and a teacher drain.
“It is a serious problem that must be addressed, and the educational funding model should be adjusted accordingly,” the Premier said.
He asked related departments to optimize educational expenditure and strengthen investment in compulsory education.
Besides, Premier Li said efforts should be made to improve school facilities in rural areas, increase support for students with learning difficulties and enrich courses and teaching methods, including offering vocational courses, to attract students and keep them from dropping out.
He also called on government departments to come up with ideas to help children be more enthusiastic about school, the Premier said.
“As most children like being together, and they can be easily influenced by their peers, we should let those who dropped out of school be envious of the learning atmosphere in schools.”
The Premier also stressed that “equal access to education is an important basis for social equity, and the major responsibility of the government is to ensure children from poor families have the opportunity to change their fate through receiving education, especially compulsory education.”