Text: | Print|

China upgrading vocational education for economy, employment

2014-06-26 08:40 Xinhua Web Editor: Qin Dexing

The Chinese government is aiming to boost the economy and employment by cultivating a large force of technical workers through enhanced vocational education.

Chinese President Xi Jinping on Monday urged the nation to strengthen efforts to develop vocational education, saying it is an important part of both the national educational system and developing a skilled labor force.

The nation should strive to nurture hundreds of millions of highly competent laborers and skilled technical workers, according to Xi.

The emphasis on vocational education has suggested efforts to diversify young people's choices because college graduates have had a hard time landing desired jobs in recent years.

According to the Ministry of Education (MOE), 7.27 million university students will enter the job market this year. That figure is 280,000 more than in 2013, a year already labeled the most difficult employment season on record.

Latest statistics from the Shanghai Municipal Education Commission show that the total number of graduates in Shanghai in 2014 will be 178,000, the same as in 2013. But only 20 percent of the city's university graduates had signed employment contracts as of the end of March.

In contrast, vocational schools graduates are enjoying better opportunities.

In central China, the average graduate employment rate for vocational schools is 97.5 percent, of which 85 percent are using the knowledge they learned.

"There is rising demand for graduates from vocational schools in China's job market," said Li Zhiguo, director of an automotive engineering college in central China. "The students are popular among employers."

Li's college is a vocational school custom-built in cooperation with German automobile giant BMW.

In addition, skilled technical workers are earning no less than the college graduates. "Skilled workers in factories earn an average 5,000 yuan (788 U.S. dollars), while some office-based white collar clerks receive only a little above 2,000 yuan per month," according to Li.

Analysts said the wage gap was largely due to a shortage of technical workers in the country.

On Tuesday, six Chinese ministerial-level departments jointly issued a plan to develop vocational education over the next six years.

Under the plan, by the end of 2015, a vocational education system should be in its initial form and the number of students at vocational high schools should reach 22.5 million, with 13.9 million at vocational colleges.

The goals have been set to maximize vocational education's potential and help China's industries grow.

Premier Li Keqiang on Monday stressed technical training should be integrated with the fostering of a professional spirit of devotion, integrity and perfectionism.

A huge skilled labor force will transform "made in China" into "high quality manufacturing," the premier said.

The remarks indicate that the nation plans to nurture more application-oriented talents so as to compete with developed countries, said Ge Daokai, director of the vocational education department with the MOE.

The government wants to close the discrepancy between theoretical knowledge at school and practical use in the work field, according to Ge.

China has relied on its manpower to become the world's factory, but now it wants to upgrade its technical skills to become an innovative economy. according to analysts.

The overall upgrading of China's economy should depend on the vast labor forces, in addition to scientific researchers who produce cutting-edge technology, according to Wu Jiang, vice chairman of the China Talent Research Society,

"Only the skilled, educated workers can turn scientific achievements into tangible productions," Wu said.

But the goals will not be easily achieved.

In China, usually, only those who fail to be enrolled by universities will choose vocational schools and colleges, leading to a lack of quality students in these institutions, said Chu Chaohui, an educational expert with the National Institute of Educational Sciences.

Yao Hefang, president of a vocational college specializing in transportation technology in Hunan, said the public in general is prejudiced against vocational schools.

The most important requirement, Chu said, is to create promising career prospects for vocational school grads including sound welfare and social recognition.

Zheng Yefu, a renowned sociologist with Peking University, suggested one solution would be the gradual elimination of differences between rural and urban areas so that young people will not struggle to enter the universities purely to stay in big cities.

Comments (0)
Most popular in 24h
  Archived Content
Media partners:

Copyright ©1999-2018 Chinanews.com. All rights reserved.
Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.