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Schools: Aid students seeking jobs
By Guo Nei (China Daily)
Updated: 2004-07-05 08:38

Private schools should strive to enhance their graduates' employability to better prepare them for the tough job market, experts and researchers said on Saturday in Beijing.

And this is the most practical way to enhance the competitiveness of private higher education in China's education market, said experts attending a seminar on sustainable development of the industry.

Private higher education has seen booming development in the past decade.

By the end of 2003, a total of 1,277 private higher education schools have been authorized to issue accredited diplomas. More than 2 million students have registered in these schools.

According to a survey conducted by the Ministry of Education, about 85 per cent of graduates from 171 colleges found jobs after graduation. That number is higher among private higher education schools than that at their government-funded counterparts.

Private higher education should aim to provide even more job opportunities and link education with market demands, said Wang Mingda, former vice-minister of education.

A group of researchers from six units, including the Research Office of the State Council, the Ministry of Education and the All-China Federation of Industry and Commerce, completed the report on development of China's private higher education.

Wang, who was also involved in the report, said private higher education should be market-oriented to apply to market needs.

The report made a case study of Shaanxi Vocational School of International Trade and Commerce, run by Zhao Buchang, chairman of the board of directors of the Buchang Group, a pharmaceutical conglomerate.

The school has successfully helped all its graduates find jobs in the past five years.

Zhao attributed the achievement to successful training of students who are able to meet employers' requirements.

In their school lives, students spend half their time in technical training and social practices. They also receive lectures from entrepreneurs because Zhao believes it will help them gain knowledge that does not exist in textbooks.

Tao Xiping, vice-president of the Chinese Society of Education (CSE), said private schools have set up some new specialties to cater to market demands.

According to the report, more than 60 per cent of university graduates in Shanghai focused on 10 specialities in the last year, including machinery, economics and management.

But the number of graduates from such specialities as biological medicine, urban development and modern logistics was very small and could not meet market demands.

Tao said this has left a lot of room for private higher education.

China has taken some measures to encourage the development of private education. The Private School Promoting Act, China's first national legislation on private education, took effect on July 1, 2003.

The act gives the private sector an equal legal status to the public sector, intending on expanding and promoting China's private education.

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