The development of higher education has contributed greatly to China’s human rights, an expert told the ongoing Beijing Forum on Human Rights. Xue Jinwen, director of the Human Rights Research Center of Nankai University in Tianjin, said the historic development of China’s higher education was of positive and significant importance to the development of the country’s human rights cause. Noting that education was an important measurement of human rights, Xue said China’s higher education had developed swiftly over the past decade.
The number of on-campus college students tripled from 6.23 million in 1998 to 18.85 million in 2007. Expenditures on higher education increased from 54.9 billion yuan (7.8 billion U.S. dollars) in 1998 to 255 billion yuan in 2005. The development of higher education had a far-reaching influence on economic development and further guaranteed citizens’ rights to education, Xue said.
He said that the government had taken concrete measures to ensure equal rights to education regardless of income, including exemptions from tuition and other charges in the nine-year compulsory education system and the establishment of financial aid for needy university students. “China has made great efforts to help poor people to get equal access to higher education, and by so doing has highlighted social fairness,” he said. The population with a tertiary education exceeds 70 million, ranking China second in the world in terms of workers with a higher education. Xue said the development of higher education had opened up a new horizon for Chinese citizens to seek personal development and helped to secure their rights for development.