China will take targeted measures next year to improve the public’s overall well-being, according to a statement issued after the Central Economic Work Conference, which concluded Wednesday.
It is a significant move to include people’s well-being as one of the eight key tasks at the country’s most important annual meeting on economic work.
The country must focus on solving problems in improving people’s well-being, do its best to identify the crux of problems and take steps wisely, the statement said.
The statement singled out problems including those related to childhood education, employment, pension insurance, medical treatment and online scams.
“Problems related to infant care and childhood education should be solved properly.”
The importance of the policy has caused discussion among academics.
“It is the first time for the annual economic work conference to raise the topic of addressing problems related to infant care and childhood education services, which shows the Communist Party of China (CPC) and the government attach great importance to problems the public are concerned most about,” said Lyu Ping, director of childhood public policy research center of Zhejiang Normal University.
“Demand of such services is rising, as China in 2015 allowed couples to have two children, but the supply of services is lacking.”
Lyu said that China “badly needs” a childhood education integrated service network, advising the government to take a leading role in pushing forward supply-side structural reform in childhood education.
The statement said that prominent problems in education should be dealt with, such as heavy extracurricular burdens for primary and middle school students, “school-selecting fever” among parents and overcrowded classes in some schools.
“The key to easing extracurricular burdens is to promote supply-side structural reform in education, encouraging schools to develop personalized education resources, make resource integrations and improve student learning efficiency,” said Chen Yongmei with Beijing Bayi High School.
The Central Economic Work Conference statement also said the government would pay attention to structural unemployment and workplace discrimination based on gender and identity.
It also said the country would reform and improve basic pension schemes, and bring pension schemes under national unified management.
China will continue its efforts to solving the difficulty and expense of seeing a doctor in China, and encourage the private sector capital to invest in health care and elderly care.
Regulators should spare no effort to solve prominent problems like online scams and selling personal information, according to the statement.
The three-day conference outlined the country’s economic work for 2018.