Childhood is a critical period of human development. Providing the opportunities and conditions necessary for children's survival, development, protection and participation,best meeting the needs of children's growth, and bringing children's potential into play lays a sound foundation for children's development and future life.
Children are the future of humankind and as such, an important resource for society's sustainable development. Children's development is an important part of a country's socio-economic development as well as of its civilization and progress. Promoting children's development is of strategic importance to improving the comprehensive quality of the Chinese nation and building China into a human resources-powerful country.
In 2001 the State Council promulgated the National Program for Child Development in China (2001-2010) (hereinafter referred to as The Program). The Program proposed major objectives, strategies and measures in the four aspects of children's health, education, legal protection, and the environment. Over the past ten years, the State has improved the legal system for protecting children's rights, enhanced government responsibilities, and continuously improved children-related work along legal and scientific lines. It has thus enabled remarkable improvements in the environment and conditions necessary for children's survival, protection and development. Children's rights have been further protected and major achievements made in children's development. By the end of 2010, major objectives of The Program were accomplished. Children's health and nutrition steadily improved. Infant mortality rate dropped from 32.2 per thousand in 2000 to 13.1 per thousand in 2010, and the mortality rate of children under 5 dropped from 39.7 per thousand in 2000 to 16.4 per thousand in 2010. Maternal mortality rate dropped from 53.0 per 100 thousand in 2000 to 30.0 per 100 thousand. As part of the national immunization plan, child immunization and vaccination rate reached by 2010 well above 90 percent. There was also a marked rise in popularization of children's education. The gross enrollment rate of preschool education rose from 35.0 percent in 2000 to 56.6 percent in 2010. Over the same ten-year period, the net enrollment rate of primary school-age children reached 99.7 percent, and the gross enrolment rate of junior middle school was 100.1 percent, and that of senior middle school 82.5 percent. Orphans, children of poverty-stricken families, disabled children, street children, HIV/AIDS-affected children and other disadvantaged children, also received more care and help.
Owing to certain socio-economic and cultural factors, however, children's development and protection of their rights still face problems and challenges. The awareness of putting children first needs to be intensified in society and the mechanism for children's work to be improved. Regional and urban-rural disparities in children's development remain, and the level of children's development in poverty-stricken areas as a whole is still low. Birth defects were on the rise, and the sex ratio at birth remains relatively high. Public resources for preschool education are insufficient and the popularization rate of preschool education is low. There is an imbalance in development of nine-year compulsory education, evident in gaps among different schools and regions, and between rural and urban areas. Assistance to children in poverty-stricken families, orphans, foundlings, disabled children and street children urgently needs to be systematised Children-related problems stemming from migration are yet to be resolved effectively, and negative factors affecting children's healthy development still exist in the social and cultural environment. Solving the main problems of children's growth, promoting children's all-round development and rights protection, therefore, remain a major task in the coming years.
The next decade is a crucial period for comprehensively building a moderately prosperous society in China, and there are unprecedented opportunities for child development. Adhering to and applying the Scientific Outlook on Development will create a more favorable social environment for children's healthy growth. Formulating and implementing a new program on the development of Chinese children will lay a more solid foundation for all-round individual development and for improving the comprehensive quality of the Chinese nation.
China National Program for Child Development (2011-2020) is formulated in accordance with relevant laws and regulations, such as the Law of the People's Republic of China on the Protection of Minors, the purposes of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, the general objectives and requirements of China's national economic and social development, and the actual situation of children's development in China.
I. Guidelines and Basic Principles
Hold high the great banner of socialism with Chinese characteristics, follow the guidance of Deng Xiaoping Theory and the important thought of the "Three Represents," thoroughly apply the Scientific Outlook on Development, adhere to the principle of "Putting Children First," and safeguard children's rights to survival, development, protection, and participation. Narrow gaps among different regions and between rural and urban areas in children's development, improve children's welfare and overall quality, and promote the healthy growth of children in all aspects.
2. Basic Principles
1. Protection of children according to law. Safeguard Children's legal rights according to law and promote children's healthy growth in all aspects throughout their physical and mental development process.
2. Principle of "Putting children First." Give priority to children's interests and needs in legislation, policy planning and public resources allocation.
3. Principle of children's maximum interests. Give full consideration to children's physical and mental development characteristics and interests when dealing with affairs concerning children, to ensure their maximum interests.
4. Development of children on an equal footing. Create a fair social environment, and ensure equal rights and opportunities for all children without discrimination, on grounds of registered permanent residence, region, sex, ethnicity, belief, education, physical condition or family property.
5. Principle of participation. Encourage and support children's participation in family, cultural and social life, create a favorable social environment for children's participation, smooth the channels through which children can express their views, and attach importance to children's opinions.
II. General Objectives
Improve the basic medical and health care system that covers rural and urban children, and improve children's health in body and mind. Promote equalization of fundamental public education services and ensure higher-quality education for all children. Expand welfare coverage for children and establish and improve a moderately universal welfare system for children. Enhance the socialized service level and create a children-friendly social environment. Improve the legal system and protection mechanism to protect children's legal rights and interests according to law.
III. Areas for Development, Major Objectives and Strategies and Measures
1. Children and Health
(1) Reduce steadily the incidence of frequently-occurring birth defects that cause serious disabilities; reduce disabilities caused by birth defects.
(2) Reduce infant mortality rate to less than 10 per thousand and that of children aged under 5 to 13 per thousand. Reduce the mortality rate of infants and children under 5 among the floating population.
(3) Reduce deaths and disabilities of children caused by injury. Reduce the death rate of injured children below the age of 18 by 1/6 of the 2010 level.
(4) Keep common childhood diseases and serious infectious diseases, including HIV/AIDS, syphilis, tuberculosis, and hepatitis B, under control.
(5) Increase the rate of immunization and vaccination, as part of the national immunization plan, to above 95 percent at the township level.
(6) Reduce the incidence of neonatal tetanus to less than 1 per thousand at the county level.
(7) Keep the incidence of low birth-weight below 4 percent.
(8) Raise the breast-feeding rate for babies under six months to above 50 percent.
(9) Keep the incidence of anemia among children under 5 below 12 percent and reduce by 1/3 of the 2010 level the incidence of anemia among primary and middle school students.
(10) Keep growth retardation among children under 5 below 7 percent, and reduce the incidence of low weight among the same age group to below 5 percent.
(11) Increase the rate of primary and middle school students that meet the National Standard on Students' Physical Health. Control the incidence of weak sight, tooth cavities, overweight/obesity and malnutrition.
(12) Reduce children’s psychological or behavioral problems and mental illness.
(13) Raise the knowledge level on sex and reproductive health among children of appropriate ages.
(14) Reduce environmental pollution infliction on children.
Strategies and Measures:
(1) Increase investment in maternal and child health care. Optimize the allocation of health resources, increase appropriation in maternal and child health care in rural and remote areas, and promote equity and accessibility of basic medical and health services for children.
(2) Strengthen the system of maternal and child health services. Establish a standardized maternal and child health care institution sponsored respectively by governments at provincial, city and county levels. Strengthen maternal and child health service network at county, township and village levels, and improve the grassroots maternal and child health service system. Advance medical care and service network for children, set up pediatrics departments in general hospitals above level two and in maternal and child health care institutions above the county level, increase children's hospitals, and standardize wards for newborn babies. Step up personnel training and improve services in children's health sector.
(3) Improve children's health care services and management. Promote the standardization of children's medical and health care departments, and develop services including neonatal health care, growth monitoring, nutritional and feeding guidance, integrated early childhood development, and assessment and guidance on psychological and behavioral development. Progressively expand child health care items in national basic public health service projects. Increase the systematic management rate of children under 3 and the health care management rate of children under 7 to over 80 percent. Bring children of migrant workers into the local community child health care management system, and raise the rate of child health care management among the floating population.
(4) Improve the congenital anomalies prevention and treatment system. Carry out the three-level prevention and treatment measures on birth defects, raise awareness of premarital physical checkups, regulate checkup items, improve service modes, and increase the premarital checkup rate. Strengthen guidance on rational nutrition and diet during pregnancy and the prenatal period. Establish and improve the prenatal diagnosis network, and increase the detection rate of congenital anomalies during pregnancy. Carry out neonatal disease screening, diagnosis and treatment, raise the screening rate of inherited metabolic diseases including congenital hypothyroidism and neonatal phenylketonuria (PKU) to over 80 percent, increase the neonatal hearing screening rate to over 60 percent, and improve the treatment and recovery rate of confirmed cases. Step up publicity on birth-defect prevention and treatment, especially among the target population.
(5) Strengthen child disease prevention and treatment. Expand the coverage of the national immunization program, reinforce the construction and maintenance of the cold-chain vaccine management system, and regulate vaccination. Popularize elementary knowledge on child health, especially in urban and rural communities. Enhance child health-related scientific and technological research, accelerate the application of research findings, make better use of appropriate technologies, and diminish the mortality rate associated with neonatal asphyxia, pneumonia, and congenital heart disease. Regulate pediatric diagnosis and treatment. Encourage R﹠D and production of children's medicines, extend the scope and dosage forms of pediatric drugs on the national essential drug list, and improve the pediatric medicine catalogue. Incorporate the prevention and comprehensive services of maternal-neonatal HIV/AIDS transmission and congenital syphilis into routine maternal and child care, heighten the detection rate of HIV/AIDS among pregnant and lying-in women to 80 percent and of syphilis to 70 percent, and raise to over 90 percent the maternal-neonatal transmission intervention rate among pregnant and lying-in women infected with HIV/AIDS or syphilis to their babies.
(6) Prevent and control childhood injury. Formulate and implement a multi-sectoral childhood injury intervention plan, intensify law enforcement and supervision, create a safe study and living environment for children, and prevent and control accidents causing major injury, including drowning, falls, and traffic mishaps. Bring safety education into school education plans, and popularize throughout primary and middle schools, kindergartens and communities knowledge and education with respect to calamity avoidance, swimming safety, recreation safety, traffic safety, fire prevention and product safety, so as to raise parents and children's self-protection awareness and abilities with respect to self-protection, self-rescue, disaster prevention and hazard avoidance. Establish and improve safety and health management systems and an emergency management mechanism for campus injury incidents in schools and kindergartens. Establish and improve childhood injury monitoring and reporting systems. Raise people's awareness and improve their abilities with respect to child protection at times of disaster and emergency, and provide disaster-stricken children with timely and effective medical, daily life, education, and psychological rehabilitation services.
(7) Improve children's nutritional status. Strengthen construction and management of baby-friendly hospitals, improve and implement relevant policies supporting breast-feeding, and proactively popularize breast-feeding. Give guidance on scientific feeding, rational diet and supplementary nutrients, and upgrade parents' scientific infant-feeding knowledge. Enhance health care skills training and prevent and cure child nutritional diseases, including malnutrition, anemia and obesity. Carry out nutrition and health intervention projects among preschool children in poverty-stricken areas, and continue to carry out nutrition improvement projects aimed at primary and middle school students. Enhance publicity and popularize knowledge on iodine deficiency disorders (IDD) prevention and treatment, and raise the intake rate of approved iodized salt in iodine-deficient areas.
(8) Promote child fitness. Implement the National Standard on Students' Physical Health in an all-round way. Rationally arrange students' study, rest and recreational hours, and ensure their hours of sleep and one-hour daily on-campus sports activities. Encourage and support schools in making sports facilities available after class and on holidays. Improve and carry out the system of health checkups and fitness monitoring and establish physical health records for students.
(9) Reinforce guidance and intervention on children's health. Step up health care management in child care institutions, primary and middle schools, conduct education and guidance on disease prevention, psychological health, growth and health care during puberty, and improve children's physical and mental health. Help children cultivate healthy behavior and lifestyle. Strengthen children's visual, hearing and oral health care. Prevent children from smoking, and from alcohol and narcotics abuse. Prohibit sales of tobacco, alcohol and illicit drugs to children.
(10) Constitute a public service network on child psychological health. Set up child psychology departments (clinics) and posts for specialist physicians at children's hospitals, psychiatric hospitals and maternal and child health institutions where conditions allow. Schools should set up psychological consultancy rooms, and include in their workforce full-time teachers of psychological health. Offer training of mental health professionals.
(11) Enhance child reproductive health services. Incorporate reproductive health and sex education into the compulsory education curriculum, expand the number of sexual and reproductive health service institutions, strengthen capacity building, provide appropriate services to children of suitable age, and meet their consultancy and treatment needs.
(12) Guarantee the safety of children's foods and products. Improve national standards and certification criteria for testing and quality control of infant food and products, raise quality awareness among producers and enterprises, set up monitoring, testing and early-warning mechanisms on infant food safety, strengthen supervision at food markets in rural areas, and crack down on illicit production and marketing of fake or shoddy foods. Step up supervision on the production and sale of baby products and toys, and the operation of amusement facilities. Improve the recall system for defective children's toys and products.
(13) Intensify environmental protection and management. Control and tackle air, water and soil pollution and industrial, daily life and rural diffuser pollution, and strengthen protection of drinking water sources. Enhance supervision to ensure that exposure levels of major persistent organic pollutants and heavy metals (lead, cadmium, etc.) comply with national standards.
2. Children and Education
(1) Promote integrated early childhood development for children aged 0-3.
(2) Basically popularize preschool education. Raise the gross three-year preschool kindergarten enrolment rate to 70 percent, and the gross one-year preschool kindergarten enrolment rate to 95 percent; increase the number of urban public kindergartens, and establish and efficiently run public central kindergartens and village kindergartens in every township.
(3) Raise to 95 percent the retention rate of nine-year compulsory education, including equal education for migrant children and education for disabled children.
(4) Popularize senior middle school education, and increase the gross enrolment rate to 90 percent.
(5) Expand the scale of secondary vocational education, and improve its quality.
(6) Ensure equal education for all children, balance educational resources allocation, and narrow rural and urban disparities, regional disparities and inter-school disparities.
(7) Improve the standardized construction level of schools, and reduce the number of run-down schools.
(8) Constantly improve education quality and efficiency, and promote students' comprehensive quality and ability in an all-round way.
Strategies and Measures:
(1) Implement the development strategy of giving priority to education. Ensure that educational development is given priority throughout economic and social development planning, prioritize investment in education when allocating fiscal funds, and give priority when distributing public resources to meeting education and human resources development needs. Improve mechanisms and policies, encourage non-governmental sectors to run schools, and continuously increase educational input from social resources.
(2) Safeguard children's rights to education according to law. Governments at all levels should organize and urge school-age children to enter school and receive compulsory education, help solve any difficulties they may encounter in receiving compulsory education, and take measures to prevent them from dropping out of school. Parents or other guardians should ensure that school-age children receive and finish compulsory education in accordance with the law. Schools should patiently educate and help students with moral and behavioral shortcomings or with learning difficulties, and are prohibited from expelling students or punishing them in any way that amounts to expulsion for reasons that infringe upon State laws and regulations.
(3) Promote the equalization of basic public education services. Adhere to the public welfare and universal nature of basic public education, and step up the establishment of an integrated urban-rural education development security mechanism and a basic public education service system. Balance resources, including teachers, equipment, books and school buildings, step up the standardized construction of schools providing compulsory education, improve teachers' exchange systems, and narrow disparities in school running conditions, teachers' competence and education quality.
(4) Speed up the development of children's education among ethnic minorities and in areas inhabited by ethnic minority groups. Strengthen support for ethnic minorities' education, proactively improve conditions for running primary and middle schools in ethnic minority areas, rural and pastoral areas, remote mountainous areas and border areas, consolidate and update nine-year compulsory education levels, and encourage girls to receive preschool and senior middle school education. Vigorously push forward bilingual education, universalize the standard spoken and written Chinese language, respect and ensure ethnic minority children's rights to receive education in their native languages, and enhance bilingual preschool education. Exert greater efforts to train teachers in ethnic minority areas. Further improve support provided by developed areas and mid-sized and large cities for ethnic minority areas.
(5) Offer scientific guidance for rearing children aged 0-3. Promote non-profit universal guidance institutions for children's comprehensive development. Provide early childhood care and education guidance to children aged 0-3 and their families on the basis of kindergartens and communities. Speed up the training of professionals in early childhood education for children aged 0-3.
(6) Accelerate the development of preschool education for children of 3-6 years old. Clarify the responsibilities of governments at all levels for promoting preschool education. Bring the development of preschool education into urban construction plans and new socialist countryside construction plans. Establish a kindergarten-running system featuring government leadership, participation by the general public and simultaneous development of public and private kindergartens. Proactively promote development of public kindergartens, and provide preschool education public services which are "widely covered and able to ensure basic needs." Encourage non-governmental sectors to establish kindergartens in various forms, and guide and support private kindergartens in offering universal services.
Focus on developing preschool education in rural areas. Establish at least one public central kindergarten in each township. Large villages should independently set up their own kindergartens, and small villages should either independently build branch kindergartens or jointly run kindergartens. Provide flexible and diversified preschool education services and assign full-time teachers to make inspection tours in areas of scattered population. Gradually improve the preschool education networks at county, township and village levels. Take effective measures to solve the problem of migrant children's admission to kindergartens. Establish financial aid mechanisms for preschool education aimed at helping children from poverty-stricken families, orphans and disabled children receive universal preschool education. Develop preschool education especially for disabled children in accordance with local conditions. Encourage special schools and rehabilitation institutions for people with disabilities to establish kindergartens for disabled children. Strengthen supervision and management of preschool education.
(7) Ensure that children affected by migration have equal opportunities to receive compulsory education. Rely mainly on local government management and local full-time public primary and middle schools to solve migrant children's schooling problems. Formulate and implement measures that help migrant children who have finished compulsory education to sit the senior middle school entrance examinations in the cities where they live. Speed up the construction of boarding schools in rural areas and give priority to meeting the accommodation needs of "left-behind children" (children whose parents have moved to other regions of China to work).
(8) Safeguard the rights of children with special needs to receive compulsory education. Implement financial aid policies on schooling for orphans, disabled children and children from poverty-stricken families. Accelerate the development of special education and basically attain the objective of establishing one special education school in each prefecture (or prefecture-level city), and in each county (or county-level city) with a population of more than 300,000 and with a fairly large group of disabled children. Enlarge the enrollment of disabled children in regular classes, special education classes at regular schools and boarding schools and raise their educational level. Create conditions under which street children, children whose behavior constitutes serious misconduct and juvenile delinquents can equally receive compulsory education.
(9) Speed up the development of senior middle school education. Progressively expand financial investment in senior middle school education, and increase support for senior middle school education in poverty-stricken areas of central and western China. Promote diversified senior middle school education to meet children's different development needs.
(10) Proactively promote vocational education. Deepen the reform of vocational education in line with the purpose of service and employment guidance, and with focus on quality improvement. Expand the scale of vocational education and offer study programs and courses that meet the needs of economic and social development. Enhance the appeal of vocational education and progressively promote implementation of the policy of free secondary vocational education.
(11) Promote quality-oriented education in an all-round way. Establish a scientific outlook on education and fully implement educational policies. Stick to the principle of "catering to all students," and help students to achieve comprehensive development morally, intellectually, physically and aesthetically. Enhance students' learning, practice, innovation and social adaptability abilities, and develop their ideological and moral, scientific, cultural and physical qualities.
(12) Strengthen and improve ideological and moral education in schools. Adhere to the principle of "people-orientated education, moral education first" and include the socialist core value system in the whole process of national education. Incorporate moral education into each step of the teaching and educating process and into all aspects of school education, family education and social education. Explore new modes and enrich the content of moral education, and continue to enhance the appeal and influence of moral education. Enhance the pertinence and practicality of moral education. Bring the role of the Communist Youth League and Young Pioneers into full play in school's moral education programs.
(13) Raise children's scientific literacy level. Carry out various activities related to popular science and social practice, encourage more children to be interested in or keen on science and technology, develop children's scientific inquiry competency, and their abilities comprehensively to use knowledge to solve problems. Make full use of sci-tech education bases, teenagers' sci-tech education bases and other resources such as sci-tech museums and scientific research institutions, to provide venues and opportunities for children to participate in scientific practice. Establish a mechanism to integrate after-school practical science activities with school courses. Enhance the building of a science popularization network both inside and outside school, set up and consolidate a teaching group of both full-time and part-time personnel to popularize science among children.
(14) Accelerate educational and teaching reform. Actively promote reforms to curricula, teaching contents and methods, and the examination and enrollment systems. Set up quality standards, monitoring and evaluation systems in the educational sector. Improve the systems of evaluating students' overall quality and academic assessment. Improve and fully implement the system wherein children receiving compulsory education can be exempted from entrance examinations to nearby schools, and solve students' school-selection problems. Establish monitoring and announcing systems on the homework burden, and reduce the amounts of homework and number of examinations to lower the student study load.
(15) Improve the quality and competence of teachers. Strengthen the professional ideals and ethics education of teachers so as to improve their professional ethics and quality. Regard teachers' professional ethics as the primary standard for teacher assessment, appointment and evaluation. Continue to enhance the qualified rate and educational level of teachers, improve the teachers' training system and enhance their teaching level and capabilities.
(16) Promote modernization and the information and communication system in the education sector in an all-round way. Bring IT-based education into the national overall information and communication system strategy. Expand the proportion of rural primary and middle schools that have Internet access. Expand the coverage of modernized distance learning networks in rural areas and establish educational information and communication systems in schools of various levels and types in both urban and rural areas.
(17) Establish schools of a friendly type that features democracy, civility, harmony, equality and safety. Establish a sound relationship between teachers and students wherein students respect teachers and teachers cherish students. Safeguard students' rights to participate in school affairs. Create favorable learning and living conditions beneficial to students' health, provide safe drinking water and sanitary toilets, and improve the conditions of canteens and dormitories in boarding schools.
(18) Improve the management and supervision mechanism of school fee collection. Improve the management regulations on collection of school fees, standardize school fee collection practices and school fee management and utilization.