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Premier Wen Jiabao Attended the First Free Normal Students' Graduation Ceremony in Beijing

Published: 2011-06-18

On the morning of June 17, the flowers were blooming fully and the woods were growing luxuriantly on the campus of Beijing Normal University. The member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, Premier Wen Jiabao, made a special visit to our university and attended the commencement ceremony for BNU’s first tuition-free normal graduates. The member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, State Councilor Liu Yandong, BNU’s Chairperson of the University Council Liu Chuansheng, and BNU President Zhong Binglin joined Premier Wen for the ceremony.

The tuition-free normal graduates were filled with vibrant happiness when Premier Wen Jiabao arrived at the main building. They applauded and cheered, expressing their heartfelt excitement. The sound “Warmly Welcome Premier Wen to BNU” echoed around the campus.


 
The commencement ceremony for first tuition-free normal graduates began at 10:00 am. Premier Wen Jiabao, State Councilor Liu Yandong, Minister of Education Yuan Guiren, Minister of Finance Xie Xuren, Director of State Commission Office for Public Sector Reform Wang Dongming, Vice Minister of Human Resources and Social Security Yang Zhiming, and presidents of normal universities directly under the Ministry of Education were seated on the rostrum. Leaders of the relevant departments of the State Council, and the education administrative officers in each province (autonomous region and municipality) sat in the guest zone. More than 2,600 people attended the graduation ceremony, including BNU’s first tuition-free normal graduates, BNU’s tuition-free normal students and teacher representatives. Branch ceremonies were set in the East China Normal University, Northeast Normal University, Central China Normal University, Shaanxi Normal University, and Southwestern University, with more than 43,000 people watching the live graduation ceremony simultaneously. The Ceremony was presided over by BNU’s Chairperson of the University Council Liu Chuansheng.


BNU President Zhong announced the decision on permission for graduation and conferred the diplomas to the graduate representatives. Teacher representative Wang Lv and tuition-free normal graduate representative Gou Xiaolong both gave speeches. And then, all the tuition-free normal graduates in attendance read their graduation pledge. After that, Premier Wen presented the certificate to the representatives of excellent tuition-free normal graduates from six normal universities.

In order to attract outstanding students to normal universities, to encourage more outstanding young people to be teachers, and to promote education development and equity, the State decided to implement free education in the normal universities directly under the Ministry of Education and established the corresponding system in 2007. After four years of hard work and exploration, the pilot project of free education for normal students has made important progress and significant achievements. In these four years, a total of 46,000 people were enrolled as tuition-free normal students in six normal universities directly under the Ministry of Education. All the first tuition-free normal graduates have been approved to teach in the primary and middle schools, and over 90 percent of them are going to teach in Midwest part of China. Some of the universities in Shanghai, Yunnan, Jiangsu and other places also launched pilot projects of free education for normal students, highlighting the demonstration and leading role of the policy.

Premier Wen delivered an important speech to warm applause. He said that teachers are entrusted with the sacred mission of enlightening people’s intelligence and inheriting civilization, and are carrying the dreams and hopes of thousands of families. The implementation of free education for the normal students is a strong signal for the whole society to pay great attention to normal education, to attract the best and most talented students to be teachers, and to encourage more outstanding people to be life-long educators. This policy is meant to establish the atmosphere of respecting teachers in the society, and make teaching to be the most respected and enviable career.


Premier Wen pointed out the great significance of proper implementation and further improvement of free education for normal students. Based on the success of the pilot project, the experience should be concluded and the problems should be studied and solved to accelerate the implementation and improvement of supporting policies, so as to encourage more outstanding graduates to go to underdeveloped areas, to stay there, and work hard there. The program enrollment and exit mechanisms should be set up and the universities’ independent recruitment should also be strengthened. A small number of students who are not suitable for teaching are allowed to change their majors, and excellent non-normal students who are willing to teach can be enrolled as normal students, ensuring that only those who genuinely wish to become teachers remain in the program. Premier Wen also suggested increasing the allowance for tuition-free normal students and giving more awards to them. A number of experimental centers for education reform and innovation should be built and more prominent teachers should be encouraged to teach the tuition-free normal students, so as to improve students’ opportunity to learn from these teachers and enhance their teaching ability. As to the employment of the tuition-free normal students, the inter-departmental working mechanism with well-allocated responsibility and close cooperation should be built to ensure positions for tuition-free normal students. The students who are willing to teach in rural areas are encouraged to pursue on-the-job postgraduate education without entrance examination. The policy of free education for normal students should be extended nation-wide, especially in the local regions. The enrollment of pre-assigned students and free education system can be promoted in the normal universities to develop outstanding teachers for rural areas.

Premier Wen put forward four hopes for the tuition-free normal students, and also for all the normal students. The first is to be loving. Teachers should love each student, regard students as siblings and children, and become a scholarly mentor and beneficial friend for the students. The second is to be dedicated. Teachers should consider pursuit of ideals, shaping of minds, and inheriting of civilization as the greatest pleasure in life, make good preparation for life-long teaching and be the soil for talent cultivation, showing the life value in contribution and making achievements in ordinary work. The third is to study hard. Teachers should continuously acquire new knowledge and technology and improve teaching ability and quality from books, practice, society and people. The final is to be innovative. Teachers should actively participate in the innovative practice of education reform, attach great importance to the development of students’ abilities in imagination, innovation and practice, stimulate student’s interest and create an atmosphere conducive to personal development, so as to bring this beautiful educational ideal to reality.


Finally, Premier Wen encouraged the students to have high ambitions and self-motivation, to work hard and to consider the teaching platform as the stage upon which to display their talents and live a brilliant life. The speech of Premier Wen was warmly received.

Before attending the graduation ceremony, Premier Wen posed for pictures with tuition-free normal graduate representatives of Beijing Normal University, East China Normal University, Northeast Normal University, Central China Normal University, Shaanxi Normal University and Southwest University. He also visited the exhibition of free normal education achievements in these six universities, and watched the TV specials, learning the details about practice and experience in the innovative teacher training model, strengthening of practical teaching, deepening ideals and beliefs of vocational education and other aspects within the six universities.




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