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Looming grad numbers strain job market
By Cui Ning (China Daily)
Updated: 2004-05-13 01:05

Some 2.8 million college students will graduate this summer, up 680,000 or 32 per cent more than last year,the Ministry of Education revealed Wednesday in Beijing.

About 70 per cent of last year's university graduates found jobs last year, and more effort will be needed to maintain that level this year,ministry officials said.

The ministry is urging regional educational departments to give more aid to assist them in the job market..

"Governmental institutions should continue to help students get micro loans for starting businesses. Regional labour and social security administrations must help safeguard students' interests with regard to salary and labour disputes," said Liu Dawei, an official of the ministry's Department for College Students' Affairs.

The ministry and other relevant departments developed a micro loan system last year to help students create jobs as graduates faced fierce employment competition.

Most local governmental institutions worked hard to practice this policy over the past year, according ministry official Chen Xi, in charge of students employment affairs.

Chen said so far no statistic is available on how many students across the country received the micro loans.

Last year, State Administration for Industry and Commerce also implemented a tax-exemption policy to encourage students to run their own companies.

Xiao Xiao, a computer science graduate of Chongqing University,set up a computer networking company in the Chongqing Municipality.

"I started my own business out of my experience, not out of excitedness,'' Xinhua News Agency quoted Xiao as saying.

Xiao said this policy will give an impetus to college students who want to run their own companies.

In another development, the Ministry of Education has worked out a plan to widen the development of senior vocational education, which is well-tailored for students to easily find jobs after graduation.

Schools of senior vocational education are required to gradually phase out theory-oriented curricula and open practical skills training courses, according to the plan.

Under such programmes, schools open work practice centres to help students prepare for further employment.

Starting this year, schools of senior vocational education across the country will offer skills training courses for digital-control technology, automobile maintenance, computer and software science and medical nursing, to cultivate specialized workers who are in dire need in the country.

Senior vocational education is an important part of higher education that gives further study chances to youngsters who fail to enter regular universities and to help them find jobs, said Ge Daokai, an official of the ministry's Department for Higher Education.

China has 908 senior vocational education schools scattered in 31 provinces, municipalities or autonomous regions.

These schools have helped train many specialized people for regional industrial, agricultural and other economic sectors over the past two years, said Ge.

In Shenzhen, for example, more than 70 per cent of students majoring in printing, port and shipping subjects have found jobs in the past three years, according to Yu Zhongwen, director of the Shenzhen Vocational Technical School.

"Vocational education must be geared by regional economic development and job market,'' said Yu.

The school periodically conducts research on job market in Shenzhen and invites enterprises to help readjust teaching programmes and open job practice courses.

Last year, Shenzhen implemented a strategy to develop machinery , fine chemical, and new materials industries. Correspondingly, Yu's school opened courses of automobile engineering and new materials sciences.

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