China Table of Contents
The May 1985 National Conference on Education recognized five fundamental areas for reform to be discussed in connection with implementing the party Central Committee's "Draft Decision on Reforming the Education System." The reforms were intended to produce "more able people"; to make the localities responsible for developing "basic education" and systematically implement a nine-year compulsory education program; to improve secondary education develop vocational and technical education; to reform and the graduate-assignment system of institutions of higher education and to expand their management and decision-making powers; and to give administrators the necessary encouragement and authority to ensure smooth progress in educational reform.
The National Conference on Education paved the way for the abolition of the Ministry of Education and the establishment of the State Education Commission, both of which occurred in June 1985. Created to coordinate education policy, the commission assumed roles previously played by the State Planning Commission and the Ministry of Education. As a State Council commission, the new State Education Commission had greater status than the old Ministry of Education had had and was in charge of all education organizations except military ones (see The State Council , ch. 10). Although the State Education Commission assumed a central role in the administration of education, the reform decentralized much of the power previously wielded by the Ministry of Education and its constituent offices and bureaus, which had established curriculum and admissions policies in response to the State Planning Commission's requirements.
The State Education Commission, with its expanded administrative scope and power, was responsible for formulating guiding principles for education, establishing regulations, planning the progress of educational projects, coordinating the educational programs of different departments, and standardization educational reforms. Simplification of administration and delegation of authority were made the bases for improving the education system. This devolution of management to the autonomous regions, provinces, and special municipalities meant local governments had more decision-making power and were able to develop basic education. State-owned enterprises, mass organizations, and individuals were encouraged to pool funds to accomplish education reform. Local authorities used state appropriations and a percentage of local reserve financial resources (basically township financial revenues) to finance educational projects.
Data as of July 1987