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Political adviser seeks to remove stigma of vocational education

By Zou Shuo | | Updated: 2022-03-07 10:29
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Students at a vocational school study practical electronics in Handan, Hebei province, in April. [Photo/Xinhua]

Institutional barriers must be shattered to improve the status of vocational education in China since it has long been stigmatized as an option reserved only for failing students, a political adviser said on Monday.

Hu Wei, a member of the 13th National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference and executive deputy director of the Shanghai branch of the China Vocational Education Association, said during a video link interview that vocational education and regular education need to be further integrated.

More importantly, an independent exam should be established as the main channel for students to enroll in higher vocational schools and vocational colleges offering bachelor’s degrees, he said.

Traditional universities and colleges, and even those that are well known, can enroll vocational students for technical majors through the independent exam, Hu said.

People have long held the perception that high school enrollment exams categorize students into regular high schools and secondary vocational schools based on their test scores, and students with lower scores can only attend vocational schools, he said.

This belief has exacerbated the exam-oriented competition and anxiety among students and parents and has deterred efforts to reduce the academic burden on primary and middle school students, Hu said.

In order to reverse the stigmatization, vocational school graduates should be offered the same treatment in terms of employment opportunities, salaries and ability to obtain hukou, or residential permits, as graduates from regular universities, he said.

Skilled workers are the backbone of Chinese brands, and they are cultivated through vocational education. High-quality vocational education teaches students both skills and knowledge, and it enables them to learn a trade and become decent people, he added.

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