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Chinese premier calls for more equalized education services, exam reforms


09:05, September 10, 2012

BEIJING, Sept. 9 (Xinhua) -- Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao has called for boosting education reform and creating more equalized basic education services.

Wen made the remarks while giving a speech at a meeting held on Friday for the purpose of recognizing outstanding teachers and education officials across the country.

He said the development of China's education should be geared toward improving the quality and equality of education services, especially in compulsory education.

"We should endeavor to run every school well and train every student well," he said.

By 2011, China had popularized nine-year compulsory education among the entire population and almost eliminated illiteracy among the young and middle-aged population, he said.

Wen said the government should provide higher-quality education services and narrow distribution gaps that have caused many schools, especially those in rural areas, to suffer from a lack of both qualified personnel and facilities.

Although most Chinese students are required to enroll in schools near their place of residence, some parents pay large sums of money to enroll their children in nicer schools that are located far from their homes, leading some parents to complain about unequal access to education due to a failure to enforce the residency-tied enrollment rule.

Wen blamed the phenomenon on the uneven distribution of education resources.

"Due to differences in economic and social development levels, inequality in compulsory education will not be eliminated in a short time. But the objective of promoting equality will not be shaken," he said.

To increase education resources, Wen called for more participation by the private sector in investing and running not only higher educational institutes, but also primary and secondary schools.

The government's function is to ensure basic education services and maintain fair regulations for education development for both public and private schools, Wen said.

The government should eliminate discriminatory policies in private schools and guarantee equal legal status for students and faculty in private schools, he said.

The premier said students and teachers should be freed from exam-oriented education.

"We must accelerate the establishment of a scientific and diversified education evaluation system," Wen said

Currently, admission to Chinese universities is determined by students' performance on the "gaokao," a national college entrance exam that students are allowed to take just once in their final year of high school.

To achieve the above-mentioned targets, Wen urged reforms for the entrance exam system to allow students to have multiple chances to gain admission to universities.

Reforms should be used to create a system in which academic performance is evaluated through a comprehensive assessment process, he said.

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