The big decisions of education should be farsighted. Turning colleges into vocational schools on a large scale is such a decision and must be evaluated prudently, says an article of the 21st Century Business Herald. Excerpts:
The Ministry of Education recently decided to transform more than 600 colleges under the administration of local education authorities into vocational schools.
The ministry will classify the schools as either academic or vocational in 2017, and the college entrance exams will change accordingly.
Yet, the question is if the transformation can realize its goal, instead of creating new problems, and whether the change can solve the unemployment issue in a timely manner.
Since the 1990s, hundreds of vocational schools have turned into colleges and universities nationwide. Now, the authority demands they go back to their previous state. The resistance is understandable.
The issue of unemployment among college graduates is the main cause for the ministry’s decision. Each year, about 7 million students enter the job market in China.
According to the ministry’s schedule, the new generation of vocational school graduates will not finish school for seven years. Will the overdue change solve today’s unemployment issue?
China has many vocational schools now. But the quality of education is so poor in some of them that their graduates can only get low-level jobs in labor-intensive industries.
In fact, the education quality of many Chinese universities is problematic. The Education Ministry should think of how to improve the colleges’ education before changing the entire higher education structure.