Chinese Vice Premier Liu Yandong has stressed the role of rural education which should serve as "a solid foundation for the growth of millions of rural children."
During a tour of southwest China's Yunnan and Guizhou provinces between March 28 and April 1, Liu said, "Both the emphasis and difficulty in realizing educational modernization lie in the countryside."
She went deep into mountainous areas, remote villages and ethnic regions to investigate rural primary and middle schools' educational quality, teaching, boarding schools, nutritious meal programs and school safety. She also visited children left unattended by parents working in far-away cities.
Liu told a seminar attended by school authorities, experts and educational officials from western provinces that more support should be given to rural compulsory education so as to narrow the rural-urban gap.
The number of rural schools accounts for 85 percent of the national total.
Liu said the construction of boarding schools should be strengthened and weak schools should be assisted to improve teaching levels.
The education on "Chinese Dream," advocated by the top leadership, should be incorporated into the overall educational plan, she said, adding the rural nutrition plan should cover more students.
Rural teachers' training should be strengthened and their salaries and subsidies should increase so that more outstanding teachers can settle in the countryside, the vice premier said.
Liu also visited county hospitals and rural clinics, calling for improvement of the new rural cooperative medical system so as to boost rural medical services.