China’s government will continue to prioritize and invest in education, and enhance science and technology, to stabilize and transform the slowing economy, Premier Li Keqiang said.
“China should place education, science and technology in strategic positions and view them from an overall perspective,” Li said during the national science, technology and education leadership group’s first meeting.
Li is the group’s leader.
“To upgrade China’s economy and build the nation into a prosperous and harmonious society, we should rely more on talent bonuses when making use of demographic dividends,” he said.
“This requires us to bet first on education and, second, on science and technology.”
China’s economic growth model is transforming from an export- and investment-driven model to one based on domestic consumption. The world’s second-largest economy has been decelerating in recent months.
“Sustaining economic growth, continuously improving people’s livelihoods and promoting social justice are the central government’s three primary tasks,” Li said.
“Equal education access is a fundamental pillar of social justice. We should foster more talent to serve China’s rural areas, and its central and western areas, to narrow the biggest gaps we face ― regional and urban-rural gaps.”
China has pledged to prioritize education’s development for years.
Its fiscal expenditures on education last year accounted for 4 percent of gross domestic product ― 2.2 trillion yuan ($360 million) ― the highest amount to date.
Chinese Education Minister Yuan Guiren said equal access to education is the ministry’s primary concern.
“China will improve education in poor areas and try to equalize public education services, solving the education problem for migrant workers’ children,” he said during the meeting.
By Ding Qingfen and Cheng Yingqi