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Five-year plan looks to improve education at preschools, county-level high schools

Updated: Dec 17, 2021 By ZHAO YIMENG chinadaily.com.cn Print
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A teacher helps a little girl during an art activity at a childcare center in Shanghai. [Photo/China Daily]

The Ministry of Education and eight other government agencies on Thursday jointly released action plans to improve education at preschools and county-level high schools nationwide during the 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-25), aiming to further increase gross enrollment rate by 2025.

The gross enrollment rate of preschools — which covers the first three years of schooling before elementary school — is expected to exceed 90 percent, while over 85 percent of kindergartens will become more affordable, with more than half government-subsidized, the plan said.

A new batch of kindergartens will be built in villages and urban areas with concentrated populations. The number of kindergartens should meet population demands in accordance with the three-child policy, which allows Chinese couples to have up to three children. Local authorities are urged to estimate enrollment needs every year to better make plans, it said.

Local authorities are urged to build more government-subsidized kindergartens to ensure affordable preschool education for families with financial difficulties.

Salaries, benefits and teaching materials for kindergarten teachers will also be improved, it added, and kindergartens should strengthen school security and regulations.

The action plan to improve county-level high school education aims to increase the gross enrollment rate to at least 92 percent by 2025, as these schools account for half the total number of high schools in China.

Many high schools in less-developed regions have struggled to retain high-performing students and teachers. To solve this problem, the plan has strictly forbidden illegal cross-regional enrollment of such students and has asked city governments to establish a unified online enrollment platform. Further, the schools should offer more enrollment opportunities to students in rural areas, it said.

The plan also said city-level high schools must not poach outstanding principals and teachers from county-level high schools or those from less-developed regions.

Additionally, it urged county-level high schools to better control class size, limiting classes to no more than 56 students, and new schools should have no more than 3,000 students and personnel, it added.

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