The fifth plenum of the Communist Party of China concluded on October 29 with the approval of 14 th five-year plan, which will be officially adopted at the National People’s Congress in March 2021. The plan has been devised after holding threadbare discussions for more than two years. It is a common practice that China takes at least two years to develop its five-year plan. The process starts with the pre-planned phase of initial analysis by ministries and seeking input from think tanks, academia, professionals, scholars, etc. Political parties are too invited to get their inputs, which indicates the inclusiveness of the process and all the voices are equally heard. The 14 th plan that followed the same practices, is different in many ways. First, the plan will be adopted at the 100 th anniversary of the Communist Party, which is being considered a landmark event in the history of China. Second, it is preceded by the 15-year plan, which is being designed to achieve the goal of a moderately prosper country till 2035. The plan will also provide the blueprint of efforts made by the government and the party. Hence, it would be critical to observe the implementation of 14 th plan. Third, it will introduce the implementation of dual circular economy model, presented by President Xi Jinping. The dual circular economy model would be a very interesting intervention, as China is going through transformation to increase its domestic consumption. The success of model is long cherished after the fierce opposition of China’s rise at global level. Fourth, China is now heading toward green development by transforming its technology and replacing fossil fuels. The plan will provide the details as to how China will move on the path. Fifth, the plan will chalk out the future course of innovations, as it has been devised to achieve the objectives of a moderately developed country.
Through different policy initiatives, it emphasizes to improve the work ethics. Students must learn to do physical work. It is in line with five objectives of vision of President Xi i.e. morality, intellect, physical ability, aesthetics, and work ethics
In the 14 th five-year plan, the proposed investment in human capital would be determine the fate of next phases of development in the country. It is a well-accepted fact that countries with better human capital perform better on the innovation and technological development. Human capital also helps the countries to transition from one stage of development to the next. As education and health are the key determinants of human capital, hence the countries with better education
and health systems progress well. China has always focused on education and health and considers both the indicators a key to development and welfare. Prime Minister Zhao Enlai had once said:
Among other things, that the overwhelming majority of Chinese intellectuals had become intellectuals belonging to the working people and that science and technology would play a key role in China's modernization.
It was the key finding, which he presented to assure the nation that China is moving towards the right path and is ready to take off. China equally invested in health and made tremendous achievements, especially in terms of life expectancy. The statistics show that the life expectancy in China was 35-40 years in 1949 that reached to 65.89 years in 1978. After the 1978 reforms, it was the education and health that provided the base for a rapid development in China. Thus, the decades-long investment in human capital paid off in the form of China’s progress and prosperity.
Keeping in view the experience of investment in human capital during the last four decades, China is aware of the importance and use of quality human capital in next phases of development. Hence, it has started transforming its human capital in the light of new researches under the leadership of President Xi Jinping, who has defined three very specific goals for education, i.e. 1) compatibility of education and development status of country, 2) adherence to national culture and values and 3) learning hard work. He said that China needs to focus on education and skills in accordance with the development status of the country. It requires continuous focus on reforms, as China is rapidly growing. He also highlighted the importance of opening up and international cooperation to further sharpen the skills.
The goal of learning hard work is, of course, the most significant part of Chinese education vision. Through different policy initiatives, it emphasizes to improve the work ethics. Students must learn to do physical work. It is in line with five objectives of vision of President Xi i.e. morality, intellect, physical ability, aesthetics, and work ethics [labor]. Prime Minister Li Keqiang reiterating the same said that the state will prioritize the allocation of resources, including financial resources, for the education.
In 2019, China spent 5017.5 RMB on education, which is 8.74 percent higher than the previous year. China equally focuses on health and considers it a basic human right and element of growth. President Xi takes it as a priority area as he said: “healthy population is a key mark of a prosperous nation and a strong country”. According to World Health Organization, the total allocation of China rose 300 per cent during the period from 2009 to 2017.
The blueprint of the 14 th five-year plan presents a brightened picture wherein the state will encourage partnerships among educational institutes and private sector to achieve the objective of innovation and create better jobs for the youth. It will introduce the habit of hard work and physical participation in the field in addition to giving a sense of job security to the youth. The educational institutes will also be given more autonomy to make decisions at institutional level. In the field of health, comprehensive reforms will be brought about to further improve the status of health and life expectancy. Life expectancy has already reached at 76.96 per cent in 2020.
The government will also ensure the insurance for serious illnesses at rural and urban levels. It will not only help to reduce the burden on families but also lead to form a healthy society.
The proposed interventions in the fields of education and health will help produce human capital which can match the vision of President Xi. However, a detailed plan of action in this regard is awaited till March 2021. The detailed plan will not only aid in drawing a comprehensive picture of the future Chinese vision but would also provide support in policy actions.
This article was originally published at: https://dailytimes.com.pk/695405/chinas-human-capital-base-and-14-th-five-year-plan/
The opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the viewpoint or stance of SDPI.