BEIJING, Aug. 31 (Xinhua) -- Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao has said that better education is essential to a powerful China, repeating the central authorities' call to prioritize education reform and development.
"For a country as populous as China, education must be given an even more prominent role. Building a first-class country demands first-class education and top-tier talent," Wen said.
Wen made the remarks in a speech at a high-profile meeting of the central authorities on education last month, according to the text of the speech Xinhua received on Tuesday.
The focus of the National Plan for Medium and Long-term Education Reform and Development, drawn up by the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and the State Council, was on building a moderately prosperous society in all aspects and pushing forward socialist modernization, Wen said.
The government began to draft the plan in August 2008 and published it in full on July 29 this year. It aims to turn China into a country rich in talent, extend educational opportunities, and raise education quality among other goals.
It outlines major goals and policies regarding education in the next decade and, in particular, a goal to increase the proportion of government spending on education to gross domestic product to 4 percent by 2012.
In the speech, Wen elaborated on the thinking of the central authorities in making the plan.
Firstly, educational development must equally meet the needs of the present and the future, fostering both talents that could solve prominent problems in current social and economic development and those that can guide development in the future.
Secondly, improving education was indispensable to fulfilling China's drive to transform its economic growth on the basis of the advance of science and technology and enhanced quality of the work force, because the transformation demanded social progress and development in every way.
Thirdly, it was the duty of the government to provide more educational opportunities that were of better quality and more equally accessible.
Fourthly, educational development must be predicated on improving education quality, for the development is not merely the expansion of education. In improving education quality, reform and innovation were fundamental, Wen said.
China had found a way to develop socialist education with Chinese characteristics and established the world's largest education system, providing opportunities for millions of Chinese, he said.
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