| The General Office of the State Council convened the 4th National Experience Exposure Workshop on House Building for Educational and Administrative Staff in Nanjing, which pointed out that tackling the housing constraint faced by teachers in colleges and universities with young teachers in particular stood out as an urgent task to be fulfilled.
On January 17, the National Experience Exposure Workshop on Higher Education Management System Reform was convened in Yangzhou. Vice Premier Li Lanqing pointed out on the workshop that great efforts should be channeled into accelerating the transformation of higher education management system guided by the principle of “educational restructuring through joint development, cooperation and merger”, with the aim of bringing about a system meeting the requirements brought forward by the socialist market economy, by progress scored in science and by technology and social development.
The State Education Commission convened its annual workshop of 1998 in Nanjing, which pointed out emphatically that further efforts should be dedicated to accelerating educational development guided by the policies for educational development specified in the 15th National Congress of CPC, with the view to registering new breakthroughs that would fit in with socialist economic and social development.
On February 1, the State Education Commission decided to readjust contents of courses offered in primary and middle schools, lowering the nominal requirements, properly narrowing the scope of examination and consequently pressing forward with the implementation of quality education.
On February 16, the Workshop on Study by Foreign Students in China was convened, which, coming up with the policy of “deepening reform, improving management and guaranteeing educational quality to achieve vigorous and steady development”, advocated a merger with international practice in the regard.
The State Education Commission promulgated in conjunction with the State Development and Planning Commission the Suggestions on Putting into Effect a Unified Admission System in Enrollment of Common Polytechnic Schools.
The results of the 1st Macro Educational Research Award sponsored by Baoshan Steelworks Education Foundation were announced.
On March 10, the State Education Commission was renamed as Ministry of Education with Chen Zhili assigned as the head of the ministry. In accordance with the overall plan of organizational restructuring set forth by the State Council, the Ministry of Education followed the principle of simplification and efficiency in streamlining its affiliated organizations, reducing the staff from 887 to 470 in addition to cutting the number of affiliated departments and bureaus down to 21.
On March 19, when attending the press conference for the 1st Session of the 9th National People’s Congress, Premier Zhu Rongji pointed out that the rejuvenation of China through science and education stood out as the major task to be fulfilled by the government, and additionally announced that the State Science and Technology and Education Directorate would be set up by the Central Government.
On March 23, the Ministry of Education, in conjunction with the Ministry of Public Security, promulgated the Provisional Measures on Education of Emigrating Children, which, apart from making it clear that emigrating children should mainly receive education from full-time state-run primary and middle schools, pointed out that efforts would be devoted to setting up schools run by non-governmental sectors to enroll the disadvantageous group.
On March 24, the 1st National Workshop on Education in Common Colleges and Universities was convened in Wuhan, which laid down the tasks to be fulfilled in future, among which stood out those of implementing educational policies, remolding ideologies and concepts, expanding the scope of programs, reforming educational contents and methods, enhancing quality education and improving educational quality.
The National Workshop on Enrollment of Common Colleges and Universities in 1998 was convened, which also commended the best-performing organizations and teachers for their achievements in pressing ahead with educational development. The workshop stated in emphasis that double-track enrollment systems in disguised forms should be eliminated in the enrollment of 1998 and admission procedures for recommended students should be further improved.
The National Symposium on Reform and Development of Adult Higher Education was held in Beijing. In 1997, the number of adult colleges and universities set up across the country and that of common colleges and universities offering adult education climbed up to 1,107 and 860 respectively, with students receiving adult education totaling 2.7445 million.
On April 1, the Ministry of Education printed and issued the Administrative Measures on Journals Published by Colleges and Universities, with the aim of tightening its control over journals published by colleges and universities.
On April 7, the General Office under the Ministry of Education circulated the Urgent Notice on Curbing the Arbitrary Collection of Fees by Primary and Middle Schools, which deemed curbing the arbitrary collection of fees by primary and middle schools as a major task to be fulfilled in the process of hindering malpractice in educational services.
On April 21, the Ministry of Education readjusted course contents as well as educational requirements of mathematics and physics courses in common senior middle schools. Without altering the educational plan, syllabus as well as teaching materials currently in use, the initiative was to delete some contents of mathematics and physics so as to reduce the educational requirements.
While making a study tour at the Central Academy of Fine Arts, Vice Premier Li Lanqing laid stress upon the fact that art education constituted a major part of quality education.
On May 2, the President Forum of Higher Education Oriented towards 21st Century was held in Beijing. In his speech delivered at the forum, Vice Premier Li Lanqing pointed out that propelling technical and educational development had stood out as a task of top priority for the Chinese Government.
On May 4, while attending celebrations for the 100th anniversary of the founding of Beijing University, President Jiang Zemin delivered an important speech, iterating the necessity for the CPC and the whole society of China to set store by the major role played by knowledge innovation as well as talent cultivation in pressing ahead with economic development and social progress in a time featured by giant strides made by science and technology as well as the advent of knowledge-based economy, consequently propelling the entire Chinese people to reach a consensus on the need of rejuvenating the nation through science and education and take real actions in that regard.
On May 4, the Ministry of Education established an expert committee assigned with the responsibility for evaluating undergraduate and postsecondary college programs offered in colleges and universities.
On May 7, the signing ceremony for sponsorship responsibility matrix of compulsory education in impoverished regions was held in Beijing.
In the 3 years to come, the central and local governments planned to channel RMB 5.49 billion yuan into renovating or establishing 14,942 primary and middle schools in 469 poverty-stricken counties in China.
On May 17, the State Council circulated a notice calling for taking necessary steps to ensure the employment of graduates from common colleges and universities in 1998. The total number of graduates in 1998 amounted to 1.06 million, the largest since the founding of the PRC.
The project aimed at cultivating Chinese doctors for Financial Engineering formally kicked off. The first teacher workshop of Modern Financial Theories and Practice, in addition to the senior seminar on Modern Financial Policies, were conducted.
A senior symposium on personnel management in colleges and universities was held by the Ministry of Education, which, apart from calling for pooling a high-profile team of teachers, advocated introducing competition into faculty tenure in colleges and universities.
On June 2, the Ministry of Education, in conjunction with the Ministry of Public Security, circulated a notice calling for tightening control over tenure certificate and diploma as well as cracking down the illegal practice of forging and transacting certificate and diploma.
On June 10, the Propaganda Department of CCCPC, in conjunction with the Ministry of Education, issued the Suggestions for Regulations on Courses of Marxism Theories and Ideology in Common Colleges and Universities as well as Concrete Implementation, laying down the principles that shall be followed in offering the said courses as well as the timetable for offering them in common colleges and universities.
On June 11, the Outlines of Deng Xiaoping Education Theory compiled under the organization of the Ministry of Education was formally published.
On June 22, the Party Constituents of the Organization and Propaganda Departments of CCCPC and the Ministry of Education jointly issued the Basic Standards for Party Construction in Common Colleges and Universities, laying down regulations on the guidance of Party Committee over concrete affairs in colleges and universities, the construction of leading groups, the development of general Party branches and Party branches, the ideological education, the expansion of organizational institutions as well as cultivation of officials responsible for Party affairs.
On June 25, the General Office under the State Council promulgated the Suggestions of the Ministry of Education for Experiments in Reform of School System during the Nine-Year Compulsory Education, pointing out that a tight control should be imposed upon experiments of school run reform in compulsory education. The said experiments should be approved in advance by provincial departments of education and the number of schools conducting the said experiments should be brought under a strict control. Meantime, local authorities should channel efforts into curbing practices failing to accord with relevant regulations, among which stood out those of setting up smaller schools within large schools, offering courses run by social sectors in state-run schools as well as carrying out two sets of administrative systems in one school, so as to make all schools operate with high efficiency.
On June 25, the State Science and Technology and Education Directorate led by Premier Zhu Rongji was formally set up, with major responsibilities lying in studying and reviewing strategies as well as major policies for S&T and educational development, discussing and examining major tasks and projects to be achieved in the development and coordinating the efforts made by departments under the State Council and those of local authorities to take major steps in the development.
The Symposium on Learning Deng Xiaoping Education Theory was held in the Great Hall of the People. While attending the symposium, Vice Premier Li Lanqing pointed out the publication of Outlines of Deng Xiaoping Education Theory compiled by the Ministry of Education was a major step towards deepening the learning of Deng Xiaoping Theory, especially his theories of education.
International Symposium on Cooperation between Education and Industry was convened in Beijing, representatives from domestic educational community, officials from UNESCO as well as experts from America, Australia, Japan, Germany, Netherlands and Belgium attended.
China Education International Exchange Association held the Sino-American President Forum together with American Association of State Universities, jointly exploring ways of bringing about cooperation between colleges and universities oriented towards the 21st century and social partners.
The 16th Workshop of Academic Degree Office under the State Council was held in Beijing. Vice Premier Li Lanqing emphatically called for the concerted development of degree and postgraduate education. The workshop reviewed and adopted the Regulations of Academic Degree Office under the State Council on Awarding Personnel of the Same Educational Level with Master Graduates Master and Doctor Degrees.
In June, the Propaganda Department of CCCPC, in conjunction with the Ministry of Education, promulgated the regulations to be followed in offering courses of Marxism Theories and Ideology in colleges and universities. According to the said regulations, the course of Deng Xiaoping Theory should be offered in all colleges and universities from the autumn of 1998. Colleges and universities where conditions permit should offer the said course to freshmen from the autumn of 1998 and all colleges and universities should without exception offer the said course to freshmen from the autumn of 1999 in principle.
A workshop aimed at exchanging experience on translating results yielded by scientific research into productive forces was held in Tsinghua University. 7 colleges and universities with Tsinghua University included set up in conjunction with S &T Development Center under the Ministry of Education the State High-tech Collaboration Net.
The 3rd Workshop on Experiments in Quality Education of College Students was held in Chengdu, which pointed out that the contents and standards applied in the experiments were gradually institutionalized after 3 years of development, standing out as an access point for remolding educational ideologies and concepts as well as pressing ahead with the educational reform under way in colleges and universities.
The Ministry of Education convened a seminar on knowledge-based economy and rejuvenation of China through science and education. Attendants conducted heated discussions on challenges addressed by knowledge-based economy to education, the major role played by education in rejuvenating China through science and education as well as major issues emerging in current educational reform and development.
On July 1, the Ministry of Education established a supervision committee aimed at supervising economics education in colleges and universities, with major responsibilities going as follows: offering consulting and suggestions to formulation of guidelines, policies and measures by the Ministry of Education for development and reform of economics education; making research on reform initiatives taken in economics education, organizing exchanges of experience accumulated in the reform, reviewing and evaluating plans set for studies and reform of economics education as well as achievements scored in the process, and pushing ahead the said reform on the strength of supervision; reviewing documents on economics education, evaluating the education in colleges and universities, and supervising its quality; making efforts to better teaching materials, and examining as well as recommending materials of high quality; studying and supervising the development of the base for cultivating economics-majoring talents.
On July 1, the State Council promulgated the Decisions on Readjusting, Canceling and Merging Administrative Systems in Schools Affiliated to Ministries. In the restructuring process pushed forward by the State Council, the former Ministry of Machinery Industry, Ministry of Coal Industry, Ministry of Metallurgical Industry, Ministry of Chemical Industry, Ministry of Domestic Trade, China Association of Light Industry, China Association of Textile Industry, China Building Material Bureau and China National Nonferrous Metal Corporation were transformed into 9 State Bureaus under the jurisdiction of the State Economic and Trade Commission. The State Council decided accordingly to readjust the administrative systems of schools affiliated to the said central organizations, including 93 common colleges and universities, 72 adult colleges and universities, 46 polytechnic schools.
On July 3, while delivering a speech on a briefing to teachers and students of colleges and universities at the Great Hall of the People, Premier Zhu Rongji pointed out that the state would take all possible measures within its ability to increase its investment in education and the central expenditure for education would be increased by a percentage point each year.
On July 9, the Ministry of Education circulated a notice on formulating a catalogue of programs offered by senior vocational schools, which pointed out that efforts should be channeled into formulating the catalogue, a fundamental document for educational administration as well as fulfillment of educational tasks in the said sector.
On July 15, the General Office of the State Council convened a workshop, which, calling for completing the renovation of multi-cell buildings in colleges and universities before the advent of 21st century, made the decision to appropriate RMB 2 billion yuan for renovating over 1,400 multi-cell buildings in 340 colleges and universities affiliated to Ministry of Education.
The 7th National Workshop on Party Construction in Colleges and Universities was inaugurated in the Great Hall of the People. The workshop called on all colleges and universities to surge a high tide of learning Marxism – Leninism, Mao Zedong Thought and Deng Xiaoping Theory in particular, carrying out the Working Regulations for Branches of the CPC in Colleges and Universities, and sticking to as well as improving the president responsibility system under the leadership of the Party Committee. In addition, the workshop summed up as well as exchanged experience accumulated in Party construction as well as ideological and political undertaking by colleges and universities in recent years, and commended some colleges and universities for their achievements in pressing forward with the Party construction as well as ideological and political undertaking.
The Ministry of Education issued the revised Catalogue of Undergraduate Programs in Common Colleges and Universities and Guiding Catalogue of Undergraduate Engineering Programs. In accordance with the basic principle of “expanding in proper and standard ways”, the Catalogue of Undergraduate Programs included 11 disciplines of philosophy, economics, law science, pedagogy, literature, history, science, engineering, agronomy, medical science and management, covering 71 sub-disciplines and 249 specialities. In comparison with the former catalogue, the number of specialities included in the catalogue reduced by 50.6%. In addition, the new catalogue included 74 specialities not included in the former one. A small number of specialities with state-accredited eligibility for master and doctor incubation should be indicated clearly.
Xinjiang Institute of Medical Science and Xinjiang Institute of Traditional Chinese Medicine were merged into Xinjiang University of Medical Science. President Jiang Zemin inscribed the name for the university.
The Ministry of Education held a news briefing, announcing that all recommended admittees to colleges and universities in 1999 should undergo a competence examination.
The Academic Degree Office under the State Council promulgated the revised Regulations of Academic Degree Office under the State Council on Awarding Personnel of the Same Educational Level with Master Graduates Master and Doctor Degrees.
On August 4, the Yangtze River Scholar Award Plan kicked off, which, initiated jointly by the Ministry of Education and the patriotic entrepreneur Li Jiacheng from Hong Kong as well as his Yangtze River Capital Development Co, Ltd., was set to establish the professor engagement system in colleges and universities in China, in addition to setting up the Yangtze River Scholar Achievement Award. The professor engagement system would engage 300 to 500 professors for key disciplines set by the state in colleges and universities in China within 3 to 5 years. The professors engaged by the program would enjoy an annual allowance of RMB 100,000 yuan during his tenure. The Yangtze River Scholar Achievement Award would give high rewards to professors who registered remarkable achievements or made great contribution during his tenure.
On August 11, the results of the 2nd National Excellent Educational Audiovisual Products Prize were announced. 159 audiovisual products won the prize, among which, 11 won the first prize, 3 grabbed the prize of excellent theme, 42 took the second prize and 103 seized the third prize.
On August 29, the 4th Session of the Standing Committee of the 9th National People’s Congress adopted the Higher Education Law of the PRC, President Jiang Zemin signed the No. 7 President Order for promulgation of the said law. The Higher Education Law of the PRC, comprised of 8 chapters and 69 articles, stipulated the nature and position of higher education, basic principles for developing higher education, basic higher educational systems, conditions needed for establishing colleges and universities, investment into and provision for higher education, organizations and activities of colleges and universities as well as rights and obligations of teachers and students in colleges and universities. The law in particular regulated in definite terms the administrative systems and indispensable conditions for higher education, the decision-making power of colleges and universities in ways of their operation, the leadership system within colleges and universities, and the need to standardize their names. The law, whose promulgation marked the emergence of a framework for the legal system of education in China, would be enforced since January 1 of 1999.
The former Yan，an University and Yan，an Institute of Medical Science merge into Yan，an University.
On September 15, the former Zhejiang University, Hangzhou University, Zhejiang University of Agriculture and Zhejiang University of Medical Science merged into a new Zhejiang University, which, as China’s largest university with the widest coverage of disciplines, had 11 disciplines of literature, history, philosophy, economics, management, pedagogy, science, engineering, agronomy, law science and medical science, 106 doctor incubation points, 13 state-level key disciplines, 10 state-level key laboratories, 2 state-level engineering research centers and 2 state-level engineering technology research centers. The Ministry of Education and Zhejiang Provincial Government would jointly take charge of the operation as well as development of Zhejiang University that was directly under the Ministry of Education.
The Ministry of Education approved and announced in conjunction with the Academic Degree Office of the State Council 13 Sino-foreign co-sponsorships entitled to awarding overseas degrees, which were the second batch of eligible co-sponsorships since 10 co-sponsorships were first approved for awarding overseas degrees at the beginning of 1997.
On October 19, the Ministry of Education, in conjunction with the Ministry of Construction, issued the Suggestions on Furthering Reform in School Housing System and Accelerating the Alleviation of Housing Shortage Faced by Educational and Administrative Staff, with the aim of scoring more achievements in solving housing problems faced by educational and administrative staff, accelerating the reform in the housing system and channeling greater efforts into house building for the faculty.
On October 24, the Ministry of Education established the college student quality education base and a supervision committee assigned with obligations in supervising quality education in colleges and universities, with the view to enhancing the quality education of students in colleges and universities.
Zhejiang experimented on setting up senior vocational schools that would enroll graduates from junior middle schools for a study of 5 years. Graduates from the said school would be awarded medium and senior vocational diploma.
On November 26, the Ministry of Education convened departments of education and affiliated organizations to a national seminar commemorating the 20th anniversary of the 3rd Plenary Session of the 11th Central Committee of the CPC, which, apart from reviewing and summing up experience of promoting educational reform and development since the reform and opening-up policy was carried out, conducted in-depth studies on major theoretical and practical issues emerging in the process of setting up a 21st century-oriented socialist educational system adjusted to Chinese conditions.
On November 26, the Ministry of Education readjusted programs offered in the higher education self-taught examination system, which called on provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities directly under the central government to sort out former programs offered in accordance with the Catalogue of Programs Offered in Higher Education Self-Taught Examination Program and Basic Standards on Programs Offered in Higher Education Self-Taught Examination Program. Provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities directly under the central government were prohibited in principle from offering programs not prescribed in the above-mentioned documents.
In December, the Ministry of Education formally released its reform plan for the national college entrance examination, which, apart from including concrete plans of reforming the subjects as well as forms of the examination, called for the practice of on-line enrollment. Guangdong would experiment the formula of “3+X” in college entrance examination 1999.
On December 9, the Guangdong Department of Education made the decision to open to the public the 1999 graduation examination for senior middle school graduates, enabling youths of school ages to apply for the examination.
On December 10, the Ministry of Education promulgated the Suggestions on Spurring on Education to Serve the Needs of Agriculture and Rural Areas in the Spirit of the 3rd Plenary Session of the 15th Central Committee of the CPC, bringing forward concrete needs for fully capitalizing on the role of education in serving the needs of agriculture and rural areas.
On December 10, the Provisional Regulations on Schools Offering Special Education was put into effect. The Regulations, comprised of 9 chapters and 68 articles, laid down stipulations on the nature of schools offering special education, their educational systems, educational objectives, school roll administration, teaching programs, daily administration, health care, campuses, school buildings, apparatus, funds as well as campus, social and family environment. The Regulations played a significant role in ensuring the legal rights of disabled children to receive education and promoting children’s comprehensive development.
On December 13, the National Workshop on Enrollment of Polytechnic Schools was held in Chengdu, which made the decision that the enrollment by common polytechnic schools in 1999 would be delegated to local educational authorities and a unified enrollment system would be put into place in the process of enrolling new students.
On December 23, the 9th Plenary Session of the Administrative Committee of Colleges and Universities Directly under the Ministry of Education was convened, which mainly touched upon issues of advancing and deepening reforms in administrative systems in colleges and universities as well as exchanging reform experience accumulated by colleges and universities under the ministry, with the aim of going in with further efforts to reform and rearrange administrative systems of higher education.
The Ministry of Education determined the reform plans for the national college entrance examination, which included promoting the application of “3+X” formula, examining students’ capacity and quality in the examination, keeping unchanged the form of general examination on a national scale and setting up a national on-line enrollment system in 3 years.
On December 30, the reorganization of schools affiliated to central ministries and commissions, which started from late June and was in full wring in July, was brought to a conclusion. At the end of August, 91 common colleges and universities affiliated to central ministries and commissions were put under joint administration by the central government and local governments; apart from some incorporated into common colleges and universities or transformed into educational institutions offering training courses, the rest of 72 adult colleges and universities affiliated to central ministries and commissions were put under local administration; polytechnic schools and skilled worker schools were shifted under jurisdiction of local governments.