May 31, 2010
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Decision of the State Council on Further Strengthening Rural Education [Effective]
国务院关于进一步加强农村教育工作的决定 [现行有效]
Decision of the State Council on Further Strengthening Rural Education
(September 19th, 2003)
The people's governments of all provinces, autonomous regions, and municipalities directly under the Central Government, all ministries and commissions of the State Council, and all agencies directly under the State Council,
With a view to fulfilling the spirit of the 16th CPC National Congress, accelerating the development and deepening the reform of rural education, and promoting rural economic and social development and coordinated development of urban and rural areas, the decision on further strengthening rural education is hereby made as follows.

(国发[2003]19号 2003年9月17日)

I. Recognizing the Important Role Played by Rural Education on the Building of a Well-off Society in an All-round Way and Taking Rural Education as the Top Priority Among Other Things in Education.
1.Rural education serves as the foundation, the driving force and an important factor that influences the overall building of a well-off society in an all-round way. Well-developed rural education and soundly operated rural schools are a big issue that has a direct bearing on the basic interests of over 800 million farmers in China and on catering to the demand of so large a rural population for schooling. It is the key to improving the qualities of laborers, promoting the transition of agriculture from a traditional model to a modern one and solving the problems faced by agriculture, rural areas and farmers from the root. It is also an important channel for transferring surplus rural laborers, propelling industrialization and urbanization and transforming pressure of population into benefits of human resources. It is a significant step in enhancing the building of rural spiritual civilization, raising the ideological and ethical standards of farmers and promoting the coordinated economic and social development in rural areas. We must give priority to the development of rural education at such a strategic height as acting on the important thought of the "Three Represents" and building a well-off society in an all-round way.
2.Rural education is of great significance in constructing a modern national education system with Chinese characteristics and in building a learning society. Rural education covers so large a territory and has so many contents that its standard is linked to the cultivation of talents at all levels and of all types, the development of the education cause as a whole, and the improvement of qualities of the Chinese nation. Being public service institutions at the grassroots level that spread all over the countryside, rural schools not only train students but also undertake the important task of disseminating advanced culture and science and technologies among farmers and improving their labor skills and business startup abilities. Well-developed rural education provide farmers and their children with opportunities to receive good education, thus is an important aspect in achieving educational equality and social justice as well as an essential requirement of socialist education.
3.In spite of a large population and undeveloped productive forces, China has in the main accomplished the historical mission in reaching the "two basic targets" of universal nine-year compulsory education and eradication of illiteracy among young and middle-aged people. The reform of management system for rural compulsory education has witnessed breakthroughs. Rural vocational education and adult education has experienced big development. As a result, a large quantity of high-quality laborers and rich human resources have been fostered for national economic and social development. However, the weakness of China's rural education as a whole has not been radically reserved; the gap between rural and urban education in China is widening; and the capability of education in serving rural economic and social development has yet to be enhanced. Under new situations, we should have a stronger sense of responsibility and urgency and give top priority to rural education among other things in education. While stressing development on the one hand, we should propel reform on the other, and promote the coordinate development of rural education at all levels and of all types, in an effort to better adapt to the need of building a well-off society in an all-round way.
II.Accelerating the Complete Fulfilling of the "Two Basic Targets" and Consolidating and Improving the Accomplishment / Quality of Universal Compulsory Education
4.Striving to complete the fulfilling of the "two basic targets" in the western regions within five years. At present, there are still 372 counties in the western regions that have yet to reach the "two basic targets". These counties are mainly located in former revolutionary base areas, areas inhabited by minority ethnic groups, remote and border areas, and poverty-stricken areas, where the mission of reaching the "two basic targets" is anything but easy. By the year 2007, the population coverage rate of universal nine-year compulsory education should reach 85% or above, and the illiteracy rate among young and middle-aged people should decline to 5% or below. Completion of this mission is of great significance for propelling development-oriented poverty relief, enhancing national unity, maintaining the stability of border areas and realizing the long-term peace and stability of the whole country. We should take the complete fulfilling of the "two basic targets" as an important task in the development of China's western regions and pay to it no less attention than to the construction of infrastructures and eco-environment. The relevant departments of the State Council and the people's governments of all provinces (autonomous regions, municipalities directly under the Central Government) in the western regions should formulate work planning, set up special funds, arrange for implementation and conduct a supervisory inspection every year, so as to ensure the fulfilling of the targets. While arrangement for and implementation of the targets are conducted, focuses should be given to strengthening the construction of houses for primary and middle schools and of junior middle boarding schools, expanding the enrollment of junior middle schools, improving the proficiency of teachers, fostering modern distance education and supporting students from poverty-stricken families. The Central Government will continue to arrange for special funds for the implementation of compulsory education projects in poverty-stricken areas and divert central funds in special support of the fulfilling of the "two basic targets". The new increase in both Central and local poverty relief funds should support the development of education for poverty-stricken rural areas. The counties in central regions where the "two basic targets" have yet to be reached should concentrate their efforts in reaching them. Intensified efforts should be made in popularizing compulsory education for female and disabled children.
5.The regions (the central and western regions in particular) where the "two basic targets" have been reached should consolidate accomplishment and improve quality. The governments at all levels should come up with good planning and disposition for consolidating and improving the fulfilling of the "two basic targets". We should keep on readjusting the distribution of primary and middle schools, strive to better the school running conditions, strengthen the construction of rural middle schools and of boarding schools in remote and border areas and areas inhabited by minority ethnic groups, improve the sanitary facilities of schools and dining and boarding conditions for students, and raise the standard of laboratory instruments as well as books. We should deepen the teaching reform in education and accelerate the reform of courses in accordance with actual rural conditions. We should improve the proficiency of teachers and schoolmasters and raise the management standard of schools in an all-round way. We should lower the dropout rate in rural middle schools, improve school-running standard and educational quality, and form a mechanism of sustained and sound development of rural compulsory education. The economically developed rural areas should reach the "two basic targets" of high standard and quality. We should strive to realize the ultimate popularization of compulsory education and the overall improvement of compulsory educational quality through unremitting efforts.
6.Developing senior middle education and early childhood education. In the five years to come, the rural areas in the economically developed regions should strive to popularize senior middle education, while the rural areas in other regions should accelerate the development of senior middle education. The state will continue to arrange for funds in special support of a number of well-grounded ordinary senior middle schools and vocational schools, so that such schools can improve their running conditions, raise educational quality and expand quality educational sources. The governments at all local levels should pay attention to and support the development of early childhood education in rural areas and make full use of the surplus resources to that end after readjusting the distribution of rural primary and middle schools. Development of non-government funded senior middle school and early childhood education is encouraged.
7.Establishing and improving the counterpart educational aid system. The state will continue to implement the "Project of Counterpart Aid from Schools in the Eastern Regions to Schools of Poverty-stricken Areas in the Western Regions" and the "Project of Counterpart Aid from Schools in Big or Middle Cities to Poverty-stricken Counties Within a Province (Autonomous Region, Municipality Directly under the Central Government)" and establish the system of counterpart aid from economically developed counties in the eastern regions to poverty-stricken counties in the western regions and from big and middle cities to poverty-stricken counties within a province (autonomous region, municipality directly under the Central Government). The Central Government will further increase its support to rural education in the areas where national self-governance is applied, and keep on running inland Tibetan middle schools (classes) and Xinjiang minority classes.
III. Following the Orientation of Services Towards "Sannong" (nongye, nongcun and nongmin; or agriculture, rural areas and farmers), Developing Vocational Education and Adult Education and Deepening the Reform in Rural Education
8.The guiding principles for teaching reform in rural education are: to fully implement the Party's educational guidelines, to follow the orientation of services towards "Sannong", to enhance the pertinency and actual effect of school running, to satisfy the diversified demands of farmers for learning; to advance quality education in an all-round way, to keep abreast of actual rural situation, to stress on the cultivation of educatees' ideological and ethical standards, practical capabilities and job-seeking abilities; to plan as a whole basic education, vocational education and adult education, to effectively integrate educational resources, to bring into full play the comprehensive functions of rural schools, and to improve the economic effectiveness of school running.
9.Advancing courses and teaching reform in rural primary and middle schools. The selection of contents for rural primary and middle education, the writing of textbooks and the operation of teaching activities should keep abreast of actual rural situation and have rural characteristics while meeting the essential requirements of the state for basic education. Rural junior and senior middle schools should have more contents of vocational education as appropriate and keep on operating "Green Certificate" education. Such schools may set up practical techniques-based courses by creating conditions or utilizing the resources of vocational schools, and encourage students to obtain vocational qualification certificates while securing graduation certificates.
10.Developing employment-oriented rural vocational education. We should adopt diversified, flexible and open school-running modes, integrate education and teaching with production practices, social services and technologies, strengthen practice-based teaching and foster educatees' job-seeking capabilities. While operating formal education that offers academic qualifications, we should develop various types of vocational education in an effort to adapt to the restructuring of rural industries and promote the transferring of rural laborers to secondary and tertiary industries. We should adopt flexible systems in teaching and student records management to facilitate students' completion of studies in such manners as being work-study by turns, part-work-part-study, urban-rural sectional and before-and-in-service sectional. While integrating existing resources, we should focus on the building of core model vocational schools and training institutions at the prefectural (municipal) and county level. We should encourage social forces and attract foreign investment to operate vocational education and diversify school-running sources and investment.

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