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Friday, June 15, 2001, updated at 08:41(GMT+8)

Editorial: Tamping Foundation Work for Strategy of Rejuvenating Nation with Science & Education

The National Elementary Education Working Conference held by the State Council was closed day before yesterday. This is an important conference on China's educational work after entry into the new century.

Before this meeting, the State Council made the Decision on the Reform and Development of Elementary Education. This conference and the State Council Decision further emphasize the important position and role of elementary education in the cause of China's modernization drive, put forward a fundamental policy for promoting the development of compulsory education in the countryside, made arrangements for comprehensively pushing forward quality-oriented education in primary and middle schools, and mapped out a blueprint for the reform and development of elementary education in China during the 10th Five-year Plan period.

This represents a major move taken by the Party Central Committee and the State Council to carry out the strategy of developing the country through science and education, as well as a concrete expression of the implementation of Deng Xiaoping Theory and Comrade Jiang Zemin's important thinking as contained in the "three representatives" (the CPC represents the requirement to develop advanced productive forces, an orientation toward advanced culture and the fundamental interests of the overwhelming majority of the Chinese people) in educational work, this conference and the Decision will definitely play an important role in guiding and promoting the reform and development of China's rudimentary education, and will exert major and far-reaching influence on improving the whole nation's ideological morality and scientific and cultural qualities, enhancing China's comprehensive national strength and its competitiveness in the 21st century.

Elementary education is a foundation project in the strategy for reinvigorating the nation through science and education. Earnestly paying attention to elementary education and accelerating its reform and development is not only an urgent task in educational work, but also is a pressing and arduous task for promoting China's modernization drive.

With the beginning of the new century, China's socialist modernization drive has entered a new stage of development, the rapid development of the world's scientific and technological revolution, the stronger trend of economic globalization, the acceleration of the pace of readjusting the industrial structure and the ever-fiercer international competition-all have posed new challenges to us.

A country can introduce funds and technologies, but the qualities of its nationals cannot be imported. As a large developing populous country, China can transform its heavy population burden into tremendous human resources advantage only when it develops elementary education. For this end, we must vigorously strengthen elementary education work and strive to improve the overall qualities of Chinese laborers, so as to provide talent reserve and intelligent support for the country's reform, opening-up and modernization drive.

During the 10th Five-year Plan period, continuing to consolidate and promote the popularization of 9-year compulsory education and to wipe out illiteracy among young and middle-aged people remains the most important task for educational work. Governments at various levels should make earnest efforts to take on the responsibility of developing compulsory education.

In line with education-related laws and regulations, it is necessary, under the leadership of the State Council, to establish and perfect a compulsory education management system featuring the responsibility of local governments, management at different levels and the county's dominant role.

The central government will continue to increase its support for compulsory education in poverty-stricken regions, meanwhile, local governments at all levels should make joint efforts to further increase input in rural compulsory education.

The management of teachers, including wage management, should be undertaken by the county government, it should be guaranteed that wages for teachers should be issued on time and in full. In an effort to support the establishment of a teacher's wage security mechanism for poverty-stricken areas in central and western regions, for counties really having difficulties in issuing wages due to financial deficiency, the problem should be actively resolved through adjusting the financial system and by the method of increased transferred payments from the higher-level government. It is necessary to strengthen management of educational funds and enforce strict auditing and inspection systems. At the same time, it is necessary to do a better job in the renovation of dilapidated houses and adjustment of layout in primary and middle schools, and constantly enhance the utilization efficiency of educational resources.

Comprehensively implementing quality-oriented education is a fundamental task in the reform and development of elementary education. Implementing quality-oriented education is to comprehensively carry out the Party educational principle, to earnestly improve and strengthen the work of moral education, cultivate in students the innovative spirit and practical capability, and bring up builders of and successors to the socialist cause, who have high ideals, moral integrity, a good education and a strong sense of discipline and who achieve an all-round development of morality, intelligence, physique and aesthetics.

We should change educational ideology and establish a concept of taking education of people as the foundation, speed up the construction of a new elementary education curriculum system that conforms to the requirement of quality-oriented education.

We should comply with the requirements of social development and scientific and technological progress, optimize the curriculum structure, adjust course category, update the course content and guide students in their initiative studies.

We should speed up the reform of examination assessment and of the enrollment and selection system, we should actively explore an examination assessment method meeting the requirements of quality-oriented education.

We should perfect the teachers' educational system and comprehensively implement a teacher qualifications system, and foster large groups of outstanding teachers who play a key, exemplary role in education and teaching work.

Party committees and government at all levels must conscientiously strengthen leadership over the work of elementary education, really regard elementary education as an important "infrastructure" construction and place it in a priority position, increase input and guarantee that it undergoes an appropriate, ahead-of-time development.

Party and government leading cadres should frequently go deep into schools to conduct investigation and study, give guidance to work and timely help schools solve their difficulties and problems in educational work. Various social circles should be concerned about and support elementary education, school education and family and social education should be closely integrated, so as to create a favorable environment for the reform and development of elementary education.

The convening of the national elementary education working conference has sounded the clarion call for China's elementary educational undertaking to march into the new century. The prospect for China's elementary educational undertaking is bright, the task for the reform and development of elementary education is heavy and the road ahead is long.

We should conscientiously study and thoroughly implement the spirit of this conference, actively make progress, engage in pioneering and innovative work, be realistic and pragmatic, exert ourselves, constantly study new situations and solve new problems, and raise China's elementary education to a new level, so as to make still greater contribution to the socialist modernization drive.

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The National Elementary Education Working Conference held by the State Council was closed day before yesterday. This is an important conference on China's educational work after entry into the new century.

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