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Chronicle of Major Educational Policies of China (1997-1999)I
Educational Milestones 1997
Li Haisheng

 From January 14 to 15, the National Education Workshop of 1997 was held, with the aim of drawing up tasks to be fulfilled in the realm of education in the year of 1997. The workshop called for conscientiously approaching the problems newly emerging in the educational reform, identifying solutions to the problems and consequently opening up a new prospect for educational development in China.

From January 27 to 30, the General Office of the State Council convened the 3rd National Experience Exposure Workshop on House Building for Educational and Administrative Staff. The conference called for forging ahead state guidelines and policies aimed at alleviating the house strains faced by educational and administrative staff, disseminating successful experience and practice across different regions and departments, examining the implementation of housing program set forth in the Ninth Five-Year Plan and consequently pressing ahead with the housing programs for educational and administrative staff in China.

Initiated by the State Education Commission, the National Supervision Committees for Teaching of Chinese and History in colleges and universities, which, comprised of more than 80 experts and scholars with celebrated reputation, was set up in Beijing,

State Education Commission, in conjunction with Ministry of Personnel, convened the National Workshop on Calling Back Those Studying Abroad, the first national workshop of that nature since China carried out its reform and opening-up policy. The workshop recognized 318 returnees as well as 25 organizations for their remarkable achievements, which, basing itself upon conscientious studies of suggestions concerning calling back those studying abroad during the Ninth Five-Year Plan period, additionally called for seizing current opportunities to open up a new prospect for the task. By the end of 1997, the number of students studying abroad had jumped to approximately 270,000, while that of returned students up to 90,000.

421 common colleges and universities, 315 research institutes, 7 Party schools as well as PLA military academies planned to offer seats to 51,000 students for postgraduate study in the year of 1997.

The National Forum on Education of Traditional Chinese Medicine was convened in Beijing. By 1997, there had been 30 colleges and universities of traditional Chinese as well as ethnical medicine, in addition to 51 secondary schools of traditional Chinese medicine. Education of traditional Chinese medicine offered by colleges and universities as well as secondary schools of traditional Chinese medicine constituted a major part of education in that regard.

 58 young specialists from 32 colleges and universities in China were recently selected by the Plan of Cultivating Cross-Century Talents 1996 sponsored by the State Education Commission. Each of the selected specialists would be granted research funds of RMB 300,000 yuan in 3 years.

The State Education Commission circulated the Suggestions on Guiding Principles for Running Schools in Nine-Year Compulsory Education, pointing out in clear terms that during the nine-year period of compulsory education, state-run primary and middle schools were prohibited from enrolling in disguised forms students who selected schools instead of entering schools in their neighborhood. No key schools, key classes or special classes comprised of students excelling in academic study were allowed to be set up in the compulsory education. Three years should be set aside for fulfilling, on a national scale, the task of exam-exempted admission of graduating students to schools in their neighborhood, and prohibition of enrolling in disguised forms students selecting schools instead of entering schools in their neighborhood in the nine-year compulsory education. 

From February 25 to 27, the State Education Commission convened the National Workshop on Enrollment of Colleges and Universities in 1997, determining an enrollment quota of 1.01 million students in the year of 1997, with the undergraduates and post-secondary candidates respectively accounting for 56.5% and 43.5% of the quota. A uniform operation would be followed in enrollment of students by common colleges and universities in China in 1997, doing away with the former practice of recruiting three categories of students, namely state-funded students, employer-funded students and self-supported students.

On March 12, the State Education Commission, in conjunction with other three ministries, formulated the Administrative Measures for Education Fund Raising in Rural Areas, stipulating in clear terms that the fund raising for education in rural areas shall, in the light of the standard of local economic and educational development as well as local people’s affording capacity, be conducted in compliance with relevant laws, the wishes of local people as well as the principle of acting in accordance with its own capabilities and earmarking the funds raised for education for its specified purposes only. Local people may make contribution to the fund by means of donating money as well as offering materials and services.

The Regulations on Enrollment by Various Adult Colleges and Universities in 1997 were promulgated. Various adult colleges and universities in China planned to enroll a total number of 900,000 in 1997, an increase of 35,000 over that of last year. The said Regulations placed restrictions upon the age of applicants with the same educational level and stopped the experimental practice of enrolling students who had graduated in previous years.

The National Workshop on Enrollment of Common Colleges and Universities in 1997 was convened in Shanxi, calling for consistent efforts to be channeled into registering more achievements in educational reform and consequently putting into place a unified educational system in China. The workshop, apart from calling for reevaluation of colleges and universities approved to be qualified for accepting recommended students, emphatically pointed out that colleges and universities should be prohibited from arbitrarily collecting fees from students and refusing without justified reasons to enroll students who chose other colleges or universities in the national college entrance examination as their first choice.

 The 5th International Conference of International University President Association was held in Fudan University of China. Cheng Jiaer, president of Beijing University, delivered a speech of Higher Education in China.  

On April 3, the State Education Commission, in joint efforts with All-China Women’s Federation, promulgated the Educational Behavior Norms for Parents, in the hope of indoctrinating parents with correct concepts of children education, assisting them in obtaining proper educational methods and consequently improving the general standard of education in China.

On April 11, the State Education Commission issued the Suggestions on Improving the Quality of Primary and Middle School Teachers during the Ninth Five-Year Plan, stating that the number of primary and middle school teachers in China should be up to 9.88 million by 2000, with over 95% of primary school teachers and 80% of middle school teachers holding required diploma. The number of primary and middle school teachers holding medium and senior titles should account for 34% and 45% respectively.

Academic Degree Office under the State Council stated that any organization and individual was prohibited from getting involved in Sino-foreign educational co-sponsorship that awards foreign degrees, and degrees so awarded by the said co-sponsorship were deemed invalid by the state. The said Academic Degree Office would publicize at regular intervals a list of Sino-foreign educational co-sponsorship projects approved by the state, with the view to tightening control and supervision in that regard.

The National Workshop on Education Personnel was held, calling for further implementation of The Education Law of the People’s Republic of China as well as improvement upon the quality of primary and middle school teachers according to law. The workshop announced that the School Teacher Plan Oriented towards the 21st Century, which would offer great supports to mid-aged and young teachers, would be started soon.

The State Education Commission promulgated the Provisional Regulations on Employment of Graduates from Common Colleges and Universities, stating that the graduates, specialized talents cultivated by the state in accordance with set plans, shall fulfill their due obligations of following state guidelines and policies pertaining employment as well as serving the country according to its specific needs. In accordance with the said state guidelines and policies, qualified graduates should seek employment in compliance with relevant reguatlions. The state encouraged qualified graduates to work in remote regions, industries with hard working and living conditions as well as other places in great need of talents.

The National Conference on Educational Achievements of Common Colleges and Universities was convened, 400 out of 1,286 candidate educational achievements were placed into the prize list.

The 15th Conference of Academic Degree Office under the State Council was convened, which examined and adopted the revised Catalogue of Disciplines Awarding Doctoral and Master Degrees and Cultivating Postgraduates, in addition to the list of new members for the Appraisal Team of the said Academic Degree Office. The conference made the decision to offer master degrees for Engineering as well as for Medical Science after adjusting the medical degrees currently in existence.

 On May 2, the State Education Commission printed and issued the Guiding Outlines for Supervision and Evaluation of Tasks Fulfilled by Common Primary and Middle Schools, apart from circulating a notice that called for putting into effect the supervision and evaluation system in primary and middle schools on a national scale prior to 1998.

On May 10, the State Education Commission, along with the Ministry of Construction and State Development and Planning Commission, adopted and issued the Construction Standards for Common Primary and Middle Schools in Rural Areas that would be put into trial enforcement on June 1.

On May 20, the State Education Commission printed and issued the Interim Standards for Ideology Class in Primary and Junior Middle Schools during the Ninth-Year Compulsory Education, pointing out that the said Standards and new textbooks would be put into trial use in some provinces and municipalities from 1998 and would be put into application on a national scale from 1999 after obtaining some experience regarding the application of the Standards and textbooks. The Academic Degree Office under the State Council circulated, in conjunction with State Economic and Trade Commission, the Notice on Admission of on-the-job Management Personnel for MBA during the Ninth Five-Year Plan, making the decision to put into place necessary procedures for admitting on-the-job executives into MBA programs.

 The State Education Commission, after going through reevaluation, publicized a list of common colleges and universities qualified for accepting recommended graduating students in 1997.

 Shanghai University of Medical Science established the system of annually examining the qualifications of postgraduate tutors, putting an end to the life tenure system for postgraduate tutors. The State Education Commission decided to restructure the Central China Normal University together with the People’s Government of Hubei Province.

 The Ministry of Public Health, the People’s Government of Jilin Province and Changchun Municipal Government signed an agreement on jointly restructuring the Bethune University of Medical Science under the jurisdiction of Ministry of Public Health.

 The State Education Commission reached an agreement with Shanghai Municipal Government on jointly restructuring the East China Normal University with Shanghai Municipal Government playing a major role in its administration.

 On June 11, the 6th National Workshop on Party Construction in Colleges and Universities was held, which, reviewing the achievements scored by colleges and universities in the Party construction since the year of 1990, analyzed the new circumstances faced by the Party branches in colleges and universities and consequently laid down tasks to be fulfilled by them in recent time.

The Academic Degree Office under the State Council circulated a notice in conjunction with the State Education Commission and formally issued the revised Catalogue of Doctoral and Master Incubators, which, with new discipline of Management added, increased the number of degree-awarding disciplines up to 12. The number of grade-1 disciplines increased from 72 to 88, while that of grade-2 reduced from 654 to 381, gradually achieving the goal of standardizing grade-1 disciplines and streamlining the grade-2 disciplines.

The State Education Commission formally approved the name change of Xingtai Vocational Technical College to Xingtai Vocational Technical Institute.

 The evaluation on home study and evening school programs offered by common colleges and universities was brought to a conclusion. The outcomes of the evaluation indicated that, of 684 institutions offering home study programs, 229 were evaluated as excellent ones, 446 qualified, and 9 ineligible.

 The National Experience Exposure Workshop on Reform of Teaching Contents and Curriculum Package Oriented towards the 21st Century was held in Beijing.

The Ideological and Cultural Progress Directorate under the State Education Commission was established with its office subordinated to the Department of Ideology under the State Education Commission.

 Competent officials of the State Education Commission called on various circles in the society to refrain from making excessive publicity of and giving high awards to students getting highest scores in National College Entrance Examination, in the hope of lessening the pressure imposed on students for entering higher schools and consequently creating a social environment conductive to their healthy growth and to promotion of quality education.

 On July 31, the Regulations on Running Schools by Non-Governmental Sectors was promulgated, which, including 8 chapters and 60 articles, was to be put into effect since October 1 of 1997. According to the statistics of 1996, the number of educational institutions established with the approval of educational authorities exceeded 50,000 in quantity.

The selection of personnel to study abroad with state scholarship was brought to a conclusion. A total number of 3,420 applicants survived the first round of selection, an increase of 1,000 over that of last year. The selection alleviated to a large measure the great need by the state for qualified talents and reflected the preferential policy adopted by the state towards remote and ethical groups concentrated regions.

 The signing ceremony for a loan of RMB 275,000,000 yuan in 3 years by China Construction Bank to the housing project for teachers in Beijing University and Tsinghua University was held in Tsinghua University. It was the first time that universities in China used loans from banks to alleviate the shortage of funds for the housing program.

 The HSK Committee was formally established, with the aim of strengthening the authority and technicality of HSK.

Upon the approval of the State Education Commission, the former Guizhou University, Guizhou Institute of Agriculture, Guizhou Arts and Crafts College, Guizhou Institute for Agricultural Officials merged into a new Guizhou University.

 The National Experience Exposure Workshop on Promoting Quality Education in Primary and Middle Schools was held in Yantai, which, basing itself upon in-depth discussions about the general plan, guiding principles, policies as well as measures for promoting quality education, set its mind to adopt proactive measures to press ahead with the quality education and bring the education in primary and middle schools onto a new stage.

On October 8, the State Education Commission issued a document, pointing out that non-tenure educational institutions were prohibited from awarding degree certificates. Colleges and universities should, in accordance with the enrollment plan set by the state, enroll new students in conjunction with provincial admission departments and should refrain from enrolling more students than the admittee quota in the said enrollment plan without obtaining approval from authorities concerned.

 On October 13, the National Symposium on Educational Reform in Higher Vocational Education was convened, which emphatically called for regarding whether it would be beneficial to developing socialist productive forces, to enhancing the overall strength of the country and to raising the people’s living standard as the guiding principle in educational development, channeling efforts into bringing about intensive development and consequently driving educational improvement and reform to more prominent positions.

Upon the approval of Academic Degree Office under the State Council and the Central Military Commission of PRC, the Military Academic Degree Committee, which consisted of 25 members, was formally established.

115 candidates for master of pedagogy started their postgraduate programs. The program aimed at cultivating high-caliber professionals who may meet the emerging requirements in elementary education and management. All the candidates accepted by the program were on-the-job teachers.

The Academic Degree Office under the State Council circulated the Notice on Adjustment of Policies Governing the Application of Personnel in Service with the Same Educational Level with Master Graduates for Higher Degrees, pointing out that persons applying for the master degree and those applying for the doctor degree should have obtained the bachelor degree and the master degree respectively.

The 6th National Workshop on Party Schools in Colleges and Universities was convened, which called on all colleges and universities to hold high the great banner of Deng Xiaoping Theory and promote their educational reform and development by relying upon the role played by Party schools.

The management system in Southeast University was transformed from the president responsibility system to the president responsibility system under the leadership of the Party Committee. The State Education Commission reached an agreement with Shanghai Municipal Government on making joint efforts to reconstruct the East China Institute of Technology. So far, the two sides had reached agreements upon jointly developing 6 Shanghai-based colleges and universities directly under the State Education Commission.

Taking into consideration the poor conditions of Suizhou Vocational University and Qingshan University as well as their failure in enrolling new students for years, the State Education Commission, in accordance with the Provisional Regulations on Establishment of Common Colleges and Universities, initiated a privatization program for them.

National prize-winning educational achievements of colleges and universities for 1997 were announced, with 53 achievements winning the 1st prize and 368 seizing the 2nd prize.

Results of the Scientific and Technological Progress Award 1997 sponsored by the State Education Commission were made public, with 233 achievements winning prizes, among which, 25 won the 1st prize, 96 took the 2nd prize and 112 grabbed the 3rd prize.

The State Education Commission convened the Sino-German Forum aimed at exchanging experience of cultivating high-profile talents boasting applied skills, in addition to exploring the trends of development that newly emerged in the progress. The forum deemed the cultivation of high-profile talents furnished with applied skills as a top priority for future development of higher education.

China Overseas Study Fund Committee decided to provide returnees with financial aids for their research, specifically, funds ranging between RMB 5,000 to 10,000 yuan offered to returnees involved in liberal arts and funds no higher than RMB 15,000 to 20,000 yuan offered to those involved in science. The Workshop of National Higher Education Self-taught Examination Supervision Committee was held. The number of programs offered in higher education self-taught examination programs climbed up to 425 in 1997, with 3 academic degrees of bachelor, junior college and technical secondary. The number of applicants for the self-taught examination program in 1997 has amounted to 10.22 million.

 The Expert Consulting Committee for Humanities and Social Science under the State Education Commission, consisting of 44 experts and scholars with celebrated reputation, incorporated and convened its first workshop.

 The Marxism and Ideology Education Supervision Committee under the State Education Commission was established.

 The National Workshop on Enrollment of Adult Colleges and Universities for 1998 was convened, which decided to enroll a total number of 900,000 in 1998.  CCTV University decided to offer postsecondary seats to 80,000 students. Preferential treatment would be given to model workers as well as topnotch athletes in the said enrollment and the enrollment scope of postsecondary vocational education would be moderately expanded.

The State Education Commission convened its workshop of examining the reform programs to be implemented in curriculum construction of higher normal education oriented towards 21st Century, with major attention paid to exploring ways of developing and reforming higher normal education as well as effecting transformation in course and curriculum construction.

  • Chronicle of Major Educational Policies of China (1997-1999)II
  • Chronicle of Major Educational Policies of China (1997-1999)III
  • Chronicle of Major Educational Policies of China (1997-1999)IV

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