BEIJING, May 6 (Xinhua) -- The Chinese government has approved an education reform plan for next decade which promises to prioritize the development of education while ensuring fairness in the system.
A meeting of the State Council, or China's Cabinet, approved the final version of the Medium and Long-term National Educational Reform and Development Plan (2010-2020) on Wednesday, said a statement issued by the State Council on Thursday.
The development of education ranging from pre-school education to vocational education in rural areas will be a priority in the country's overall development programs, according to the plan.
Government investment will increase steadily to support the education sector, with the ratio of government's education expenditure in terms of gross domestic product (GDP) to be 4 percent by 2012, according to the meeting presided over by Premier Wen Jiabao.
In 2008 the ratio stood at 3.48 percent, compared with the world's average level of 4.5 percent.
The plan, released at the end of February for public scrutiny, was seen as setting a tone for the development of the education sector in China, which has long suffered from problems such as funding shortages and unbalanced development in rural and urban areas.
The plan said giving students fairer access to quality education would be a "fundamental policy," with more public education resources to be arranged for rural, impoverished and ethnic areas.
The statement said the plan would bring "innovation" to the way universities enrolled students, without giving details.
The reforms would also encourage private organizations and individuals to play a greater role in the education system, according to the statement.
The plan took one year and nine months to draw up, during which public submissions were called for on two separate occasions.