China widens access

September 7, 2001

The regulation that denies married people and over-25s the right to higher education in China is to be scrapped this year.

The move is part of a drive by the ministry of education to increase the number of educated people in the country. Graduates from vocational schools will also be allowed to apply for a college education.

The ministry said this had potentially opened the door to higher education for everyone, providing they had a middle school diploma. These old requirements were first enforced to make better use of limited educational resources.

The move is expected to give more people the chance to fulfil dreams of attending university. But its significance goes beyond that. The ministry has admitted that over the past few decades economic restraints meant many of its practices violated equal opportunities.

Educational reforms in recent years have led to public school enrolment expanding significantly, making it possible to enrol more candidates. This autumn, China's universities and colleges will enrol 2.5 million students, compared with 475,000 in 1984, the ministry says.

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