Teachers encourage students to jump over "hurdles" to welcome the new semester at an elementary school in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, on Aug 31, 2023. (Photo by Dong Xuming/For China Daily)
He says this will provide key support for greater sci-tech self-reliance, strength
As international competition increases for cutting-edge technologies and talented people, and particularly amid some countries' attempts in recent years to suppress China's development, the Chinese leadership has emphasized building the country into a leader in education, which in turn will contribute to a stronger nation.
President Xi Jinping, who attaches great importance to the country's progress in the sectors of education, science and technology, and human resources development, has pointed out that making the nation a leader in education will serve as a strategic precursor to building a great modern socialist country in all respects.
"Building a leading country in education is an important support for achieving greater self-reliance and strength in science and technology, an effective approach to promoting common prosperity for all, and a fundamental project to advance the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation on all fronts through a Chinese path to modernization," he said.
Xi, who is also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, made the remarks at a group study session of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee on May 29.
The speech that Xi gave at the group study session was published on Saturday in the 18th issue of Qiushi Journal, the flagship magazine of the CPC Central Committee.
Xi's remarks on education came as the world is undergoing a new round of technological evolution and industrial transformation. Against such a backdrop, China is facing increasing challenges arising from geopolitical competition and attempts by United States-led Western countries to suppress and blockade its economic and technological progress.
On many occasions, including his inspection tours nationwide, Xi has highlighted the importance of seeking scientific and technological independence and strength in advancing the nation's modernization drive in all respects.
In a reply letter sent on Friday to the faculty and students at Northeastern University in Shenyang, Liaoning province, which celebrated its 100th anniversary on Saturday, Xi expressed the hope that the university could cultivate more high-caliber talent based on the country's strategic needs, expand its leading edge in strong disciplines, and continue to produce high-level scientific research results.
In the speech published on Saturday by Qiushi Journal, Xi explained how China will make itself a leader in education. "Only when basic education enjoys sound development, can we make steady progress in building up our country's strength in education and sustaining its momentum," Xi said.
He emphasized that higher education is the key to China's becoming a leading nation in the field of education. "Priority must be given to the building of world-class universities and superior disciplines, and the development of basic, emerging and interdisciplinary subjects must be strengthened."
"Education in science and technology and engineering should be furthered. Greater efforts should be made to nurture China's top-notch and innovative talent on our own to provide support for achieving breakthroughs in core technologies in key fields," Xi said.
Since the 18th CPC National Congress in 2012, the CPC Central Committee has considered education to be of great significance to the future of the country and the Party. It also has made important decisions to accelerate the modernization of education and develop the country as a leader in this regard.
The CPC Central Committee and the State Council, China's Cabinet, released an education modernization plan in February 2019, outlining blueprints for the sector's modernization and development by 2035, the year by which the country is determined to basically achieve socialist modernization and become an education powerhouse.
Yu Yongyue, a professor at Wuhan University's School of Marxism, said that to accelerate the development of China as a leading country in education, the focus should be fixed on the process of the nation's modernization drive.
"We need to comprehensively consider the challenges and opportunities brought by the world's major development, transformation and adjustment to the nation's modernization in the education sector, while aligning with national strategies of building a technology powerhouse, developing a quality workforce in the new era and promoting rural vitalization," Yu said.
China has established the largest education system in the world and joined the ranks of upper- to middle-level countries in terms of the overall level of modernization in education. China ranks 23rd in a global education index, up 26 spots from 2012, with the fastest progress in the world.