Call to control student dropout rates
A circular requiring efforts to control student dropout rates and ensure the implementation of compulsory education has been issued by the General Office of the State Council.
Such work is needed to ensure proper education for school-age children and make sure that by 2020 the percentage of students who drop out of school during the nine-year compulsory education period is reduced to less than 5 percent, a press conference was told yesterday.
The circular called for different measures to be taken to limit the dropout rate to address the various reasons why students quit school.
The quality of rural education should be improved to make schools more attractive to students, so they will not leave because of difficulties or weariness with their studies, the document said.
Poverty relief work should also be enhanced to prevent students dropping out of school for financial reasons, it said, stressing preferential policies to support students from impoverished families, students with disabilities or those with disabled parents.
The document also called for improved investment in education, better planning of school construction and the development of boarding schools to solve the transport problems of rural students.
It also required the promotion of information technology to make more high-quality educational resources accessible to rural schools.
The circular stressed that employers are not allowed to hire children under the age of 16 and that parents or guardians of school-age children should make sure that students finish compulsory education.
It also asked schools to establish systems to help those who dropped out to return to school.
The circular said that supervision and assessment systems will be improved to scrutinize relevant government work in controlling the dropout rate, and more publicity was also necessary to raise public awareness in this regard.
China provides nine years of free and compulsory education — six years of primary education and three years of junior middle school education.
The percentage of students who dropped out of school during the compulsory education period was reduced to 6.6 percent in 2016, according to figures released by the Ministry of Education.
“Remarkable results have been achieved so far, but we still face great challenges to further cut the dropout rate and meet the 2020 target,” said Lu Yugang, head of the ministry’s basic education department.
The nine years of compulsory education cannot be completed by children from a few rural areas, particularly those from border and ethic minority regions that live in absolute poverty, Lu said.
Inspections will be carried out across the country, Lu said, adding that parents who were found not to have sent their children to school for compulsory education shall be held accountable for breach of the compulsory education law.
A separate guideline on morality for elementary and secondary schools was announced at the press conference.
Moral performance will be regarded as a primary criterion for teachers’ evaluation, promotion and awards, according to the guideline.