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Education and sci-tech can boost economy

Updated: 2013-09-01 08:07
By Ding Qingfen and Cheng Yingqi ( China Daily)

Premier says new composition can reinvigorate slowing growth rates

The government will continue to prioritize and invest in education, and enhance science and technology, to stabilize and transform the slowing economy, Premier Li Keqiang said.

"China should place education, science and technology in strategic positions and view them from an overall perspective," Li said, during the national science, technology and education leadership group's first meeting.

Li is the group's leader.

"To upgrade China's economy and build the nation into a prosperous and harmonious society, we should rely more on talent bonuses when making use of demographic dividends," he said.

"This requires us to bet first on education and, second, on science and technology."

China's economic growth model is transforming from an export- and investment-driven model to one based on domestic consumption. The world's second-largest economy has been decelerating in recent months.

"Sustaining economic growth, continuously improving people's livelihoods and promoting social justice are the central government's three primary tasks," Li said.

"Equal education access is a fundamental pillar of social justice. We should foster more talent to serve China's rural areas, and its central and western areas, to narrow the biggest gaps we face - regional and urban-rural gaps."

China has pledged to prioritize education's development for years.

Its fiscal expenditures on education last year accounted for 4 percent of GDP - 2.2 trillion yuan ($360 million) - the highest amount to date.

Chinese Education Minister Yuan Guiren said equal access to education is the ministry's primary concern.

"China will improve education in poor areas and try to equalize public education services, solving the education problem for migrant workers' children," he said, during the meeting.

Li also pointed out China should infuse its economy with science and technology in innovation- and job-driven efforts to translate science and technology into productivity.

"We should examine global science and technology trends and identify what China really needs for its industrial transformation and upgrade," he said.

"We should bring enterprises' potential into full play and inspire researchers' innovation capabilities, turning innovative efforts into real economic and social benefits."

Li also emphasized reforms in promoting equal education access and blending science, technology and the economy.

At the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China late last year, the government launched an innovation-driven strategy, identifying innovation's strategic position in the national development blueprint.

Science and Technology Minister Wan Gang said the country will better blend science, technology and the economy.

China's social R&D expenditures have grown more than 20 percent annually in recent years, reaching 1 trillion yuan. The country has more R&D experts than any other at 3.2 million.

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