Role of CPC in Transforming Education in China
Muhammad Asif Noor
Over the past 100 years, the Communist Party of China has changed the course of history and destiny of modern China to a new level with outstanding contribution in creating opportunities for knowledge and education reforms. CPC has relentlessly and magnificently pursued to revitalize and inculcate the urge for knowledge, modern education and skill development amongst fellow Chinese. This one important step of creating skills and knowledge building has astoundingly not only developed China but also made it possible for the country to compete with global powers. Education is the cornerstone of the national rejuvenation in China and an essential part to equality in social justice and economic prosperity. Gaining knowledge and access to education is not only a birth right for every Chinese but it was the main goal and agenda of the central committee of CPC since inception. Education is embedded in the culture, history and everyday life of the Chinese people. Equal access to education has been even an ancient goal. Focusing on education has also helped transform and present the ideology of CPC in a better manner of socialism with Chinese characteristics. As a result of the reforms and focusing on education, China has been able to witness the miracles of becoming a poverty free country, leader in global economy, human resource rich country and as leader of science and technology at the international level.
More than 2000 years ago, the great Chinese philosopher Confucius presented the concept of “providing education for all people without discrimination” and in modern times one of the reforms of the late Qing Dynasty proposed in his book Great Harmony a great vision to provide equal access to education to the people. It was in fact the new Republic that has turned these dreams and ideas into reality. As a result of the wisdom of wise men and women in the past and in the present, Chinese people strongly believe that education and knowledge is the key for their success in all fields. In the early times, China was the hub of wisdom and knowledge. There is a famous hadith of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) that if you want to seek knowledge even if you have to go to China. This reflects the significance of seeking education and knowledge and wisdom from the historical past by going to China nearly 1400 years ago too.
Based on this glorious leadership of CPC and past experience, forty years ago visionary leader Deng Xiaoping led the reform period to cultivate a sense of action in the lives of the people. He was once famously quoted as saying that China will not be developed or modernized by only talking about the grand vision, but this will only be achieved by gaining the necessary expertise and talent for it and also by making that vision a reality. Since the foundation of the People’s Republic of China, especially since reform and opening up, both the Party and the Government have made great efforts to ensure people’s right to education and facilitate equal access to education. Compulsory education has been universalized and more children have access to senior high school education. Vocational education has developed steadily and higher education has been popular. The Gaokao system of entrance competitive exams was introduced to universities, making students encourage them to learn and move forward in life. The focus was to build the technological and education base in the national strategy to ensure that the eagerness to learn, development of talent and knowledge can be mainstreamed for building development environment for China. This vision transformed China’s education system to a higher level.
After this reform period, there has been a new era of economic and social development and the country took an important mission to produce highly skilled resource persons that helped the reform period and opened up. Without these skilled and equipped periods, this rejuvenation could not have been possible. One of the main driving forces behind the entire revolution in education reforms was the CPC Central Committee and the Stat Council members who have whole heartedly led the entire process. The first conference on education in 1985 in fact paved the way and created a kind of blueprint for helping the change the system to better results. For a country of more than 1 billion people, better quality of the individuals with skills was necessary and that could only be possible through a better education level. Later in 1994 and 1999, the second and third education conferences were held respectively where transformative ideas and visions were shared to make the workforce and education ready to deal with the 21st century challenges.
In the 18th CPC National Congress meeting, President Xi Jinping proposed a range of ideas about reforming the education system, especially calling for work in the nine important areas. These ideas include, strengthening the foundation of moral education, prioritizing education development, setting education in the direction of socialism, development of education is rooted in China, people oriented progress, deepening education, reform and innovation, fulfilling the goal of revitalizing the Chinese nation, focusing on the teachers’ development and ensuring full party leadership. Recently the central government has issued an educational development plan “China’s education modernization 2035”. There are eight main goals proposed for the modernization plan by CPC in the plan 2035.
On the global stage, Chinese education ranked top of the world and is home to one of the largest foreign students to learn. China, with a 1.4 billion population, has compulsory universalized free 9 year education for everyone. The enrollment rate is 99 percent. The Party and the Government are focused on ensuring people’s access to education and believe that only by doing so can we promote social justice and build a harmonious socialist society. As a result of the education reforms, China is one of the rich human resource countries. There is no substitute for education and knowledge to play a pivotal role in nation building, civic sense and economic miracle that the world is witnessing today by China.
The writer is Director Institute of Peace and Diplomatic Studies