Last Update: 2008-9-25 16:47:00; By drwi

Edition History Edit Introduction:

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Education has always been a major priority since the establishment of the People's Republic of China in 1949. The right to education was seen as a basic human right, not a privilege for the few. Accordingly, the government of the PRC passed a series of laws to protect the right to education in China, with special emphasis on the rights of women and children as well as the rights of the disabled and ethnic minorities. Over the past 50 years, China has done much to promote education at all levels, and in the process, to eradicate illiteracy as quickly as possible.

In more recent times, the government of China has accelerated the pace of accessibility to higher education, recognizing that the country's technological development ultimately rests on the level of competency, or level of education, of its workforce. As China moves forward from a labor-intensive production economy towards a more capital-intensive, high-tech economy, it will need all of the talent that it can generate in order to meet the needs of the country's continued growth potential.

A previous reform of China's education system resulted in a 9-year compulsory education program, though young people in today's China recognize the need for ever-increasing levels of education if they are to compete in the more liberalized, global work market. Many Chinese students have traditionally studied abroad – and of course continue to do so – but until recently, this was more or less one-way traffic. Today, Chinese universities have taken up the gauntlet and are competing with foreign universities. At the same time, the government of China has taken steps to reform the management structure of its institutions of higher learning, encouraging in the process a multiplicity of management models and methods.

China's modernized education system, reflecting the diversity that one would expect from such a large and rapidly developing economy, is set to continue along the path of modernization as China strives to meet the challenges of the 21st century. One of the big hurdles ahead for the government of China in this respect will be to try to exert a positive influence on the public's attitude towards vocational training, since China will need ever-increasing numbers of tradesmen (and –women!) and service personnel in all sectors of the economy as the current pace of development continues and the demand for skill sets other than those provided by colleges and universities make themselves felt.

Fortunately, the employment outlook for those with a vocational education is so positive in China that this in itself is the main selling point for a vocational education, another significant selling point being the increasing awareness in Chinese society that not everyone has the temperament, the aptitude, nor the inclination to pursue an academic education. The challenges that China faces in this respect are no different than those of any other highly developed economy, such as the economies of Europe and North America, where a diversity of education alternatives is the norm.


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Topics about Education

Topics Topics
Academic Degree System Compulsory Education Policy
Educational communication and cooperation Major Universities in China
Stages of Education
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