At the opening ceremony of the second session of the 13th National People’s Congress (NPC) on the morning of March 5, 2019, Premier Li Keqiang presented a government work report which set an overarching goal in education for this year: providing more equitable and higher-quality education that meets people’s needs and expectations.
To achieve that goal, Premier Li noted that China would further integrate compulsory urban and rural education through measures such as improving infrastructure in rural schools and addressing the problem of oversized classes in urban areas. Efforts would be taken to ensure access to education for children living with their migrant worker parents in cities. “Internet-plus-Education models” would be further developed to promote quality resource sharing. Support would be given to all kindergartens, public or private, meeting safety standards, charging reasonable fees and benefiting from the trust of parents, with a view to increasing preschool resources. Work would be done to promote wider access to senior high school education and develop education for ethnic minorities, special education and lifelong education. Efforts would continue to increase compulsory education teacher salaries and support the development of world-class universities and disciplines. He added that the government’s budgetary spending on education would remain above 4% of GDP and central government spending on education would exceed one trillion RMB.
Other initiatives mentioned in Premier Li’s report included helping higher education graduates onto the job market, developing modern vocational education, supporting research in core technologies and encouraging the private sector to set up and operate nursery and childcare institutions. He further stressed the importance of developing modern vocational education, as it was both a strategic measure to bridge the shortfall in highly skilled technicians and a way to increase chances for people to find jobs by getting better equipped. He urged action to be taken to improve the vocational college entrance exam system to encourage applications from senior high school graduates, military retirees, laid-off workers and migrant workers, and added that the total planned increase in the number of candidates admitted into vocational colleges across the country this year was 1 million.