Chinese President Xi Jinping (1st L) talks to elder teachers during an inspection visit to Beijing Bayi School before the upcoming national Teacher's Day in Beijing, Sept. 9, 2016. (Xinhua/Ju Peng)
He took the opportunity of Teachers' Day to extend his appreciation to the country's educators for their diligence and commitment.
Xi attended Beijing Bayi School, Haidian District, during his elementary and junior high school years. During his visit he commented on the school's dynamic, inspirational environment and remarked on the many positive changes since his time as a student.
Education determines our lives today, and our future, he said, adding that educational reform will play a fundamental and guiding role in China's wider development story.
During his visit, Xi was shown the library and viewed exhibitions on the school's history and defense education.
The school also shared some archive photographs taken of Xi when he was a student. He said he cherished these formative years and remembered his lessons and fellow students fondly.
As one of Beijing's renowned schools, Bayi places a lot of focus on the sciences as a gateway to encouraging creativity and imagination.
Xi said children must be equipped with the fundamental skills of creative thinking and practical ability.
The president also talked with a group of pupils who were playing football and posed for photos with them. An avid supporter of soccer in education, Xi encouraged the students to aspire to be excellent soccer players.
While touring some of the school's older buildings, he also met with some of his former teachers, and he took the opportunity to thank them for all they did for him and wished them happy, healthy lives.
Xi also talked with faculty members and students about school management, education and their dreams and aspirations.
The importance of knowledge and talent cannot be underestimated, Xi said, and education must continue to be improved.
Moreover, he said, the teaching of ideology, ethics and socialist core values should be reinforced so that students leave the education system as confident, dignified, independent members of society.
The benefits of development in education must be made available to all Chinese, he added.
To this end, he pledged greater support across the whole education system -- from kindergarten to high school.
The distribution of resources should be optimized so that there is no difference in education quality between schools in cities and rural areas.
Funding in revolutionary bases, ethnic, remote and impoverished areas needs to be increased and education should be part of the ongoing poverty-relief campaign.
"We must stop poverty from being passed on to future generations. Every child should be confident in themselves and their future," he said.
Xi called on teachers to instill in their students a love of the motherland, the people, and the Communist Party of China.
Meanwhile, Party committees and governments at all levels should create suitable conditions so that teachers are "content and enthusiastic," Xi said.
Elementary and high school students are the future of China, Xi said.
Students should strive to be a person of "pure heart, sound personality, and integrity," and "educated, compassionate and ready to take on responsibilities," Xi said.
Xi urged Party committees and governments at all levels to make education a priority, and deepen educational reforms.