China's new leadership will reinforce cooperation with UNESCO to improve people's well-being through education, science and culture, affirmed the country's recently appointed Vice Premier Ms Liu Yandong, during a wide-ranging meeting with the Director-General in Hangzhou on the sidelines of the International Congress on Culture and Sustainable Development on 15 May.
"Education, science and culture are high on the agenda of the new government,'" said Ms Liu. Referring to President Xi Jinpeng's' "China Dream" concept, she explained that it aspires to "provide people with better education, better living conditions, more satisfying jobs, better medical services and a better environment for people to live in. This aspiration is closely related to what you are doing in UNESCO."
She specified that national priorities focus on improving equity and quality in an education system that reaches 270 million students above age six, adding that upon President Xi's request, she was developing a plan to improve the well-being of 44 million children through better health, nutrition and education.
In the area of culture she affirmed a commitment to a library in every township and a museum in every county. Stressing the importance of science and technology for modernization, she also indicated that research spending increased by 20 percent annually over the past five years.
She expressed deep satisfaction with the evolution of China's cooperation with UNESCO since signing a Memorandum of Understanding in 2010 and establishing the first Funds-in-Trust with UNESCO in 2012 to support educational development in Africa, launched to date in three countries to improve teachers' capacity.
Referring to new areas of cooperation the Vice Premier warmly welcomed the Director-General's proposal to jointly promote higher education in Africa, affirming that this was a priority for President Xi Jinping.
The Director-General commended the Chinese leadership's emphasis on equity and social inclusion, with education as a means to enable social mobility. She pledged UNESCO's full commitment to expand cooperation with China both to accompany domestic ambitions and to support sustainable human development globally, and especially in Africa.