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Quality vocational education

China Daily | Updated: 2013-03-01 07:15

The employment rate for graduates from polytechnics or vocational schools is more than 95 percent, higher than that for their college counterparts, according to a report by the Ministry of Education on middle-level vocational education.

The message is such schools provide the right people with the right skills for enterprises and they meet the needs of the country's industrial development.

That more than 6 million graduates from such schools have entered manufacturing enterprises from 2007 to 2011 speaks volumes for how important a source of labor they are for the country's manufacturing industry. From 2006 to 2011, more than 30 million graduates joined the total workforce.

What is noteworthy is the fact that more than 84 percent of vocational school students are from rural families and 70 percent from the underdeveloped western regions.

Without such schools, more than 20 million young rural villagers would probably have joined the ranks of migrant workers.

The expansion and extension of this kind of middle-level education has not only provided the country's industries, manufacturing in particular, with a stable source of skilled workers, it has also made it possible for young villagers to avoid the footsteps of their parents of either farming in the fields or becoming migrant workers.

Starting from 2007, the central and local governments jointly pooled money to aid poor students in vocational schools, and in 2009 the government exempted poor students and those who are learning agriculture-related skills from paying tuition fees. Starting from 2012, all rural students in such schools and those majoring in agricultural specializations are exempt from tuition fees.

Such policies are necessary as rural youths who cannot enter colleges should be encouraged to receive vocational education, which will equip them with a particular type of skill and help them land a job.

Given the prospects of the country's manufacturing industry, more resources and attention need to be put into such middle-level polytechnic education as the quality of such education and the quality of its graduates will have much to do with the quality of made-in-China products and the overall competitiveness of the country's manufacturing industry.

(China Daily 03/01/2013 page8)

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