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China Aims for Universal Education

Xinhua News Agency, October 25, 2013 Adjust font size:

A UNICEF official on Thursday praised China's "remarkable achievements" toward universal education, saying they "are proud to cooperate with China and share its experience."

Tim Sutton, deputy-representative of the China office of UNICEF, the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund, made the remarks at the opening ceremony of the Eighth Conference on Education For All (EFA) in Beijing, attended by experts from more than 20 countries.

EFA was initiated by the landmark World Conference on Education in Dakar in 2000, with the governments of 164 countries, including China, pledging to achieve six EFA goals by 2015.

China's nine-year compulsory education covers a population of 160 million. Average school years for the working age population and the incoming labor force are 9.6 years and 12.7 years, respectively; illiteracy among the young and middle-aged has decreased to 1.08 percent; girls' primary school enrollment rate now outstrips that of boys.

Universal education still has a long way to go, said Abhimanyu Singh of th Beijing office of UNESCO (United Nation's Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization), citing disparity between urban and rural areas, rising demands of the poor, migration, ethnic minority groups, and the changing economic situation.

Vice-Minister of Education Hao Ping said China was still under pressure to achieve the EFA goals.

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