Dropouts dive as govt plan transforms education

Dropouts before completing nine-year compulsory education in China dives, and the enrolment rate of senior high schools and the number of special education schools also increase. 

The number of students dropping out of school before completing nine years of compulsory education in China fell to 831 at the end of November, down from around 600,000 in early 2019, an official with the Ministry of Education said yesterday.

At the end of 2019, the rate of completion of the country’s free nine-year compulsory education was 94.8 percent, up 1.8 percentage points from 2015, said Lu Yugang, head of the ministry’s basic education department.

“The cut in the number of dropouts has laid a solid foundation for meeting the government’s goal of achieving a 95 percent completion rate by 2020,” Lu noted.

China provides nine years of free compulsory education, including six years of primary and three years of junior high.

Lu said that Chinese senior high school education can meet the popularization target of 90 percent both nationwide and at provincial-level regions in 2020. As of the end of 2019, the gross enrolment rate of senior high education was 89.5 percent, up 2.5 percentage points from 2015.

“The gross enrolment rate has exceeded 90 percent in 28 provincial-level regions so far,” Lu said, noting that the remaining three provincial-level regions on the Chinese mainland will also achieve the 90 percent target this year.

In 2017, the government launched a plan to make senior high school education universally available. The central authority has set up a special fund mainly to support senior high schools in poor areas of the less-developed central and western regions.

Lu also pointed out that China had a total of 2,192 special education schools by the end of 2019, up 7 percent from 2015.

In general, special education services across the nation can be accessed in all county-level regions with a population over 300,000.

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