Chinese Minister of Education Zhou Ji said if the building of a nation is considered a mansion, education is its foundation stone.
He said China had basically popularized the 9-year compulsory education by 2000, and this posed a great historic leap. At the time of national liberation in 1949, more than 80% of China”s population was illiterate, and the enrolment rate of primary school children then was about 20% and that of junior middle school kids was merely 6%.
In 2008, China’s net primary school enrolment ratio reached 99.5% along with a gross junior middle school enrolment rate of 98.5%, and the youth and adult illiteracy fell sharply to 3.58%.
Zhou Ji said, "China only enrolled 200,000 college students in 1965, the year when I entered college. It had increased the number of college enrollees to 1.8 million when I became a university president in 1998." Ten years later, in 2008, there was a nationwide enrollment of 6.08 million college students.
China took ten years to acheive what other countries acheived in 30 to 50 years. The popularization of higher education nationwide has provided more people with access to a college education.
People’s Daily Online reported that Zhou said, to summarize the road taken by its education over the past six decades, China, as a great socialist nation, has set its own basic framework of a socialist education system with Chinese characteristics.