Here’s the official word by PRC Premier Wēn Jiābǎo (温家宝/溫家寶) on what the PRC will do regarding education. I’m putting this here mainly for later reference.
We put education high on the development agenda. A total of 184 billion yuan was allocated by both central and local governments to fund rural compulsory education, enabling us to pay tuition and miscellaneous fees for the 52 million rural students receiving compulsory education throughout the western region and in some areas in the central region, provide free textbooks to 37.3 million students from poor families and grant living allowances to 7.8 million students staying in dormitories. Of the 410 targeted counties, 317 reached the goals of making nine-year compulsory education generally available and basically eliminating illiteracy among young and middle-aged adults. The proportion of the target population attaining these two goals in the western region increased to 96% from the 77% of 2003. The central government spent 9 billion yuan over the past three years building facilities for 7,651 rural boarding schools. Eight billion yuan was spent to develop modern primary and middle school distance education for rural areas. The project covers over 80% of the rural primary and middle schools in the central and western regions and enables over 100 million students to have access to high-quality education resources. New enrollment at secondary vocational schools totaled 7.41 million and total attendance reached 18.09 million. Total attendance at institutions of higher education reached 25 million and the gross enrollment ratio rose to 22%….
Education is the bedrock of China’s development, and fairness in education is an important form of social fairness. We need to make education a strategic priority and accelerate the development of all types of education at all levels. The overall goal is to expand the availability of compulsory education and consolidate progress already made, accelerate the development of vocational education and strive to improve the quality of higher education. This year, we will completely stop collecting tuition and miscellaneous fees from all rural students receiving compulsory education. This will ease the financial burden of 150 million rural households with children attending primary and middle schools. We will continue to provide free textbooks for poor rural students receiving compulsory education and living allowances for those staying in dormitories. We will improve the mechanism for ensuring continuing funding for rural compulsory education. This year’s government allocations for rural compulsory education total 223.5 billion yuan, up 39.5 billion yuan from last year. During implementation of the Eleventh Five-Year Plan, 10 billion yuan will be allocated from the central government budget to upgrade rural junior middle school facilities. Local governments should also make corresponding increases in funding in this area. In addition, we will continue working to solve the problems that students from poor urban families and children of rural migrant workers in cities have in receiving compulsory education. This year, we will ensure that the plan to make nine-year compulsory education generally available and basically eliminate illiteracy among young and middle-aged adults in the western region and the modern rural primary and middle school distance education project achieve their final objectives. We will work to ensure that all children are able to afford and attend school. We are definitely capable of reaching this goal. We need to attach more importance to developing vocational education, which is a major reform and historic task to truly make education available to all members of society. The focus of this effort will be on developing secondary vocational education and strengthening the vocational education and training network for urban and rural areas. We will deepen reform of the management of vocational education by setting up a mechanism that combines the participation of industry, enterprises and schools and promoting models of school operation that integrate work and study and enhance cooperation between schools and enterprises. We will accelerate reform of education and teaching in higher education with the focus on improving quality, keep the scale of enrollment relatively stable, increase efforts to develop leading disciplines and universities, make innovations in the model for producing capable personnel and improve the mix of capable personnel being produced in order to produce large numbers of outstanding personnel. We will support and standardize the development of non-publicly funded schools and improve conditions for non-government entities to run schools.
Source: Report on the Work of the Government delivered by Premier Wen Jiabao at the Fifth Session of the Tenth National People’s Congress on March 5, 2007, via Xinhua, March 16, 2007