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38 million students expected at vocational schools by 2020

2014-06-23 09:47 Xinhua Web Editor: Mo Hong'e

The Chinese government plans to increase the total number of students at vocational education institutions to 38.3 million by 2020, a government guideline said Sunday.

In 2020, there will be about 23.5 million pupils at vocational schools, which in China take in students after they finish the first three years in middle schools, said the guideline to boost vocational education, which was issued by the State Council, China's cabinet.

There will be 14.8 million pupils at vocational colleges that admit students from ordinary high schools and vocational schools and offer two or three years of further vocational education, according to the document.

Currently a total of 29.34 million students study at 13,600 vocational schools and colleges across China.

Although the country has the world's most vocational education institutions, many of them have problems such as poor management, underdeveloped infrastructure, limited investment and shortage of faculty, said Ge Daokai, head of the vocational education division under the Ministry of Education.

A more effective system needs to be established so that more young people can receive good skills training before they enter the employment market, Ge said.

Also, a more skilled labor force is needed as the country restructures economically from labor-intensive industries to technology-intensive ones, he added.

Vocational education is considered inferior to ordinary schools and seen as an option for students with worse academic performance. The improvement of education quality at vocational schools is expected to change people's perspective.

According to the guideline, local governments are required to allocate a standard budget for vocational schools and colleges as they do for ordinary schools.

Enterprises and non-governmental organizations are encouraged to sponsor vocational schools and colleges. Private vocational education institutions will receive allowances through government purchases of services.

Donations from enterprises to vocational schools will not be taxed and private vocational schools will enjoy preferential loans from banks.

Enterprises are also welcomed to work with vocational schools to train their employees and provide internships for students of these schools.

Also, the health department is considering transforming some ordinary colleges to vocational ones that offer education and skills training of more edgy and sophisticated professions, Ge said.

There will be pilot projects at a few colleges initially, he added.

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