The Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee held a group study session Monday on building a leading country in education. Xi Jinping, general secretary of the CPC Central Committee, presided over the session. He stressed that when education in a country thrives, the country will thrive, and strong education makes a strong nation. Xi said that building a leading country in education serves as a strategic precursor of building a great modern socialist country in all respects, 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. It's imperative to fully implement the Party's policies on education, adhere to the people-centered principle in developing education, proactively make strategic planning in advance, effectively respond to changes, and vigorously explore new territories, so as to accelerate the modernization of education, facilitate people's wellbeing with what has been achieved in education, consolidate the foundation of national strength and prosperity with the strength of education, and provide strong support for advancing the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation on all fronts.
Qiu Yong, secretary of the CPC Tsinghua University Committee and academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, gave a lecture on this issue and put forward suggestions about the work. Members of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee carefully listened to the lecture and had a discussion about it.
Xi made an important speech after listening to the lecture and discussion. He said that since the 18th CPC National Congress, the CPC Central Committee has held education as of being great significance to the future of the country and the Party, made important decisions to accelerate the modernization of education and build a leading country in education, and secured historic achievements and structural changes in developing education in the new era. China has established the largest education system in the world and joined the ranks of upper-middle level countries in terms of the overall level of modernization in education. According to estimates, China ranks the 23rd in a global education index, up 26 spots from 2012 with the fastest progress in the world. This fully demonstrates that the path of socialist education with Chinese characteristics is completely correct, Xi said.
Xi stressed that China needs to improve its strength in education, which should feature socialism with Chinese characteristics. It is imperative to adhere to the Party's overall leadership over education, and focus on fostering virtue through education as a fundamental task. Education must uphold it as its target to cultivate talent for the CPC and the nation, as its mission to serve the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation, as its basic approach to promoting modernization in educational ideas, systems, rules, contents, methods and governance, and as its core role to play in supporting and leading Chinese modernization. All these efforts are supposed to make it possible for education to meet the needs of the people.
Xi noted that the fundamental issues education must address are what kind of talent we should cultivate, how and for whom, which are also core issues of building a leading country in education. Building a leading country in education is meant to nurture successive generations of capable young people with sound moral grounding, intellectual ability, physical vigor, aesthetic sensibility, and work skills who will fully develop socialism and carry forward the socialist cause, and shoulder important tasks in the process of socialist modernization, so as to ensure that they are successors to the cause of the Party and of building a great modern socialist country. It is necessary to use the Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era to cultivate soul and educate people, strengthen education about core socialist values, as well as guide students to develop firm ideals and convictions, follow the Party's instructions and path, and devote themselves to the nation and the people, Xi said. Reform must be furthered to explore new grounds in integrating the political education curriculum across all levels, from elementary schools to universities, and make relevant courses more targeted and appealing. Work should be done to let the internet play a more important and effective role in education, and to improve the political and ideological work of our schools in this internet age.
Xi stressed that high-quality development must be maintained as the lifeline for various types of education at all levels to build an educational system featuring high quality. To develop a leading country in education, priority must be given to basic 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. Work must be done to promote the popularization as well as safe and quality development of preschool education for the benefit of all, and promote high-quality, balanced and integrated development of urban and rural compulsory education. Basic education should not only help solidify students' knowledge foundation, but also arouse their interest in science and aspirations for exploring mysteries, thus nurturing their mindset for exploration and innovation. A scientific outlook on talent, personal career and education should be promoted in the whole society, and more work should be done to reverse the utilitarian trend in education so as to foster a healthy educational environment. To develop a leading country in education, higher education is the key. 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. Innovation in research must be developed by following the frontier developments in science and technology of the world and responding to the country's strategic needs, thus to constantly improve the capability for original innovation and the quality of personnel. We must build a learning-oriented society and nation, in which all residents pursue life-long study, and can study whenever and wherever they want to, so that the educational level can be raised for all residents, and human resources can be better developed, and as a result, well-rounded development can be promoted for all.
Xi noted that serving high-quality development should be regarded as a vital task of developing a strong educational sector. The undertakings of building China's strength in education, science and technology, and cultivating a quality workforce are consistent in essence and reinforce each other, so the three should be advanced in an integrated and coordinated manner to create multiplier effects in promoting high-quality development. 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. It is important to conduct systemic analysis of China's talent development trends and deficit in talent in all areas, and thereafter make dynamic adjustment of disciplines and programs for higher education in accordance with the trends of sci-tech development and the needs of the country's major strategies, so as to cultivate talented personnel of strategic importance and in urgent need and strengthen the role education should play in providing more support for and contributing to high-quality development. Xi called for coordinated efforts in developing vocational education, higher education and continuing education, and promoting integration between vocational education and general education, between industry and education, and between science and education, so as to continuously cultivate high-caliber technicians and skilled workers and master craftsmen.
Xi stressed that developing a large country in education into a leading one in this respect means systemic improvement and qualitative change, and reform and innovation must be maintained as a driving force for such transformation. Systems thinking must be upheld to promote reform in a coordinated manner in the ways students are cultivated, in the modes schools are run, in management system and support mechanisms. He urged efforts to resolutely break the shackles of stale thinking, remove the institutional obstacles to the high-quality development of education, and promote the modernization of China's system and capacity for governance in education on all fronts. It is essential to incorporate improving educational equality into all aspects and links of deepening comprehensive reform in education, narrow the gaps in education between urban and rural areas, between regions, between schools and between groups, strive to ensure every child's access to fair and quality education, and better meet the people's needs for good education. It is necessary to deepen the reform of educational evaluation in the new era, and build a world-class evaluation system that features multiparty participation and conforms to China's reality. It is imperative to enhance the development and regulation of textbooks, keep to the correct political orientation and values, and strive to make high-quality textbooks that cultivate souls and develop wisdom. Digital education is where our country can achieve breakthroughs in opening up new areas and forming fresh strength of educational development. More should be done to encourage digital education to support personalized learning, lifelong learning, expanding the reach of quality educational resources, and modern education.
Xi stressed the need to improve the strategy of educational opening up, put equal emphasis on introducing overseas educational resources and going global, and put to good use world-class educational resources and innovative factors, so as to make China an influential and important education hub in the world. It is important to participate in global education governance, vigorously promote the brand of "Study in China," tell China's stories well, spread China's experience, make China's voice heard, and enable China's education to be more influential and have a greater say in the world.
Xi emphasized that we must have better teachers first if we are to strengthen education. Strengthening the ranks of teachers should be regarded as the most important fundamental work for building China into a leading country in education. A teacher and education system with Chinese characteristics should be improved to cultivate a well-structured force of teachers sound in professional ethics and skill, and full of vigor. It is imperative to foster public respect for teachers and encourage public support for education, and enhance the political, social and professional status of teachers so that their occupation becomes one of the most respectable ones. Work should be done to support and attract excellent personnel to engage in teaching all their life with enthusiasm and meticulousness. Xi called for endeavors to foster professional ethics and conduct of teachers, stressing that teachers should be guided to be firm in their ideals and convictions, refine moral sentiment, cultivate solid learning, possess a deep sense of humanity, foster the ambition of always remaining hard-working in teaching to contribute to building China into a great country, stick to their posts and devote themselves to imparting knowledge and educating students.
Xi finally stressed that building China into a leading country in education is a common task facing the whole Party and the whole society. The Party's overall leadership over education work must be upheld, and efforts must be made to improve the leadership mechanism for education under unified leadership by Party committees, under which the Party and the governments work together and relevant departments perform their respective duties. Party committees and governments at all levels should always give high priority to the development of education, and make greater efforts in aspects including organization and leadership, making plans for development, ensuring sufficient resources and financial input. Schools, families and the society should cooperate closely, take actions to the same direction, and actively dedicate themselves to building a strong education system. The whole Party and people across the country should maintain firm confidence and work together persistently to achieve the goal of building China into a leading country in education as soon as possible.