Since time immemorial, to bequeath young generation the lifestyle of farming and reading，to emphasize education and set up schools has been Zhejiang people's tradition. Ever since the reform and opening up, Zhejiang provincial government has been placing a strategic priority to education on its development agenda
In 1992, Zhejiang formulated the strategy of “Rejuvenating Zhejiang via Science and Education” and since 1999, it has launched a campaign to build prominent counties with better education.
In 2002, Zhejiang set forth a strategic goal of building itself into a “Prominent Province with Better Education”. And, the implementation outline to achieve this goal was drawn up in 2006.
In 2010, “Zhejiang Provincial Outline for Medium and Long-term Education Reform and Development (2010-2020)” was adopted. With years of efforts, Zhejiang has established a complete education system of basic education, vocational education, higher education and adult education. Now, its basic education holds a nationwide leading place, vocational education has made enormous progress and entered the national advanced ranks, and higher education enjoys itself a most rapid development.
Its basic education enters the top ranks of the nation
In 1989, Zhejiang has universalized primary education. In 1997, it was assessed and named by the state government as the third province in China that “basically universalized the 9-years compulsory education and basically eradicated illiteracy among the young and middle-aged people”.
In 2004, Zhejiang Province took a lead in China to universalize 15-yeareducation from preschool to senior secondary school education. At present, the universalization rate of 15-year education in the province has reached 98.47%. In 2015, Zhejiang has about 1.9 million children in kindergartens, and about 3.6 million students in primary and secondary schools. Gross enrollment rates in primary and junior secondary school have both reached 99.99%. Enrollment rate of 3-year preschool and admission rate of junior secondary school students into senior high school has reached 97.1% and 98.68% respectively. Major indicators of basic education remained a leading level in China.
Its vocational education has made enormous progress
Zhejiang achieved a coordinated development of its secondary vocational education and senior secondary school education with a comparatively balanced ratio of annual enrollments between them. A 5-year vocational education system was conducted in Zhejiang to strengthen the connection and interaction between secondary and tertiary vocational education.
Now, in Zhejiang province, there are 357 secondary vocational schools (including technical schools) with an enrollment of 765,000 students and 50 tertiary institutions of vocational and technical education with a total enrollment of 382,800 students. Among those 50 institutions of vocational and technical education, 11 are ranked as the national model (backbone) ones.
The enrollment of tertiary vocational education institutions accounts for 43.2% of the total enrollment of regular institutions of higher education in the province. The continuous education system in Zhejiang covers long-distance education and adult education. The system of lifelong education is being gradually established in the province as well.
Its higher education achieved a rapid development
In 1999, Zhejiang Province made the important decision to develop with great endeavor its higher education. Since then, six major higher education zones have been established in its three cities of Hangzhou, Ningbo and Wenzhou.
By the end of 2015, there are 108 regular higher education institutions (including independent colleges and colleges under construction) in the province, they are 15 universities, 21 colleges, 22 independent colleges, 2 technical colleges and 48 colleges of tertiary vocational education. The number of full-time students is about 1.05 million (including graduate students), and the gross enrollment rate has reached 56%. 10 universities are authorized to confer doctoral degree and 18 universities confer master’s degree with 83 primary discipline doctoral programs and 256 primary discipline master’s programs. There are also 6 national university science parks, 14 state key laboratories and 21 key labs of the Ministry of Education in the province.
Its educational input has been increased sustainably
A guarantee system of raising education fund has been established and improved with the safeguard mechanism forged mainly by the government input and partly by the education revenue from non-government resources. In 2015, the total local education fund in the province reached 175.682 billion RMB (among them, 127.879 billion was the educational appropriation earmarked from the public finance budget). The total building area of all schools in the province reached 127 million square meters.
By implementing teacher qualification system as well as life-long education system for the teachers, and by strengthening teachers’ in-service training, the qualification of teachers in the province has been upgraded and the ratio of academic qualified teachers and that of teachers with higher education qualifications have been remarkably raised up.
At present, the number of teachers in kindergartens, elementary schools, junior secondary schools, senior secondary schools, secondary vocational schools and higher education institutions reached 116,400, 194,800, 120,200, 66,400, 33,500 and 59,500 respectively. By the end of 2015, By the end of 2015, there are 38 academicians of Chinese Academy of Sciences or Chinese Academy of Engineering, 225 experts and scholars recruited in the national “Thousand Talents Program”, 126 specially-appointed chair professors of “Chang Jiang Scholars Program”, 134 experts selected by the “National Talents Project”, 68 provincial top experts, and 146 specially-appointed professors of “Qian Jiang Scholars” in Zhejiang higher education institutions.
It has dynamic international education exchange and cooperation activities
With its continuous economic and social development, Zhejiang’s international education exchange and cooperation programs have been expanded increasingly, and the level of education internationalization has been improved constantly. The “One Thousand Sister School Program” specially designed for primary and secondary schools have been developing in full swing. The University Of Nottingham Ningbo, China built in 2005 is the first Sino-foreign university to open its door in China. In 2014, Wenzhou Kean University, a Chinese-American collaborative higher education institution was formally approved by the Ministry of Education.
Now, there are 164 Sino-foreign collaborative education programs and institutions operating in the province with total enrollment of 26,500 students. And, through cooperation, 14 universities of Zhejiang have set up 23 Confucius Institutes in 19 foreign countries. In 2009, the provincial government established a scholarship for international students studying in Zhejiang. In 2011, the Zhejiang Provincial Development Plan for Internationalization of Higher Education (2010-2020) and the Action Plan for International Students Studying in Zhejiang were formally published, which provides an annual scholarship of 20 million RMB to attract international students coming to study in Zhejiang province. By the end of 2015, there were 25,964 foreign students from 176 countries and regions studying in universities and colleges in Zhejiang, and the numbers of foreign students studying in primary and secondary schools in Zhejiang was 7,416. Meanwhile, over 3,000 foreign experts and teachers were working in institutions of higher education, elementary and secondary schools. Over 15,000 Zhejiang’s students are studying abroad through student exchange programs each year (for further information about study in Zhejiang, please visit the website of http://www.studycn.org/).
Zhejiang Education marches towards modernization
Based on the achievements of the goals laid out by its "11th Five-Years Education Plan", Zhejiang has successfully completed the main objectives and tasks listed in its “12th Five-Years Education Plan”. Remarkable achievements have been achieved in education equity. All counties (cities, districts) in the province officially proclaimed to the public that all their state-run primary and secondary schools should enroll zero "students with self-sponsored payment”. Compulsory education is also universalized among all mental and physical disabled children, and children of migrant workers enjoyed the same conditions of school enrollment of the local residents in all places of Zhejiang where their parents were working. Zhejiang’s education reform has achieved a breakthrough progress that its college entrance examination and admission system reform was chosen as a national pilot project, curriculum reforms have been carried out and forward in primary and middle schools as well as universities and colleges, training system of teacher professional development and teachers exchange system of the public primary and secondary schools are fully implemented in the whole province. Programs of international education exchange and cooperation have been spread over education institutions of all levels in the whole province. Education quality and standard have been constantly raised up. All counties (cities, districts) of the province have passed the National Evaluation for the Achievement of Basically Balanced Compulsory Education. 27 counties have met the provincial criterion of achieving education modernization, and the province is among the firsts to enter the stage of popularization of higher education among provinces and autonomous regions nationwide.
In the coming five years, main goals of education development in Zhejiang is to build a more sound education system, to promote its universal education to an even higher level, to provide a quality education more comprehensively and extensively, to create a broader platform of education equality, to build a more effective supporting base of educational technology, to establish a more diversified and opened-up education system and mechanism, so that, by the year of 2020, Zhejiang Province shall achieve the full realization of education modernization and shall build itself a province of better education in China, shall have its main indexes of education development reached the average standard of those developed countries.