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Shanghai colleges to turn out skilled workers
(China Daily)
Updated: 2004-11-23 00:44

The number of college students in Shanghai may grow by half from the present 600,000 in the next six years but most will be admitted by three-year non-degree vocational programmes to meet market demand mainly for skilled workers.

Among the workforce above the age of 25 in Shanghai, 5 per cent have obtained a university-level education.

The Shanghai Municipal Education Commission predicts that with higher education institutions increasing their capacity, by 2010, the number of college students in Shanghai will reach 900,000.

Provided the market demand for skilled workers is met, some vocational colleges, when qualified, will be upgraded to full-fledge higher learning institutions, in which programmes should be at least four years.

Three more vocational training colleges in Shanghai have recently been upgraded to university level by the Shanghai Municipal Education Commission, as part of a newly introduced education development plan aimed at catering for the city's rapidly growing manufacturing and service sectors.

Last year, the commission also upgraded three training colleges.

Now the total number of university-level higher education institutions in Shanghai has reached 30.

Currently university students in Shanghai make up 4.2 per cent of all university students across China.

As the demand for higher education grows and as the fast growing manufacturing and service sectors of the city are demanding a large number of university graduates, university-level education is set to grow, explained Zhang Minxuan, vice-director of the commission.

The three newly established institutions specialize in mechanical and automation engineering, business management and legal affairs.

Along with the fields exemplified by the three institutions, insurance, customs logistics, foreign trade, arts and music, languages, education, medical service, media and communications, tourism and exhibition have all been identified by the commission's education development plan as key subject areas for growth.

A member of the commission said the expansion of university-level education will guide and help students enter into jobs needed by society, rather than aggravating the unemployment rate among university graduates.

Xia Jianguo, an administrator at the newly upgraded engineering institution, said the university will maintain its edge in cultivating engineers and technicians that are good with their hands.

"Our students are told not to expect to sit in an office despite the fact that they are now entitled to a university degree," he said.

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