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China working to improve quality of workforce
Updated: 2004-04-26 11:22

The Chinese Government has tried many ways to promote educational and training programs to improve the capacity of people of working age to seek jobs, start a business or adapt to occupational changes, said a white paper issued by the Information Office of the State Council Monday.

The white paper, China's Employment Situation and Policies, said China is making primary and middle school education available to all children. In 2003, the enrollment rate of school-age children in primary schools was 98.6 percent, and the gross enrollment rate of junior middle schools was 92.7 percent.

The country has a total 31,900 senior middle schools and their equivalents, including ordinary senior middle schools, vocational senior middle schools, senior middle schools for adults, ordinary polytechnic schools, polytechnic schools for adults, and technical schools, with an enrollment of 32.41 million students and a gross enrollment rate of 43.8 percent.

Among these, there were 14,800 schools of secondary vocational education, including vocational senior middle schools, ordinary polytechnic schools, polytechnic schools for adults, and technical schools, with 12.54 million students altogether.

Higher education and adult education were developing rapidly in China, the white paper said.

In 2003, there were 19 million students receiving higher education, with the gross enrollment rate of 17 percent.

The number of people who finished non-degree adult courses totaled 74.36 million last year and about 58.44 million people are taking training classes now.

The vocational technical schools trained 72.42 million people last year. And the 70,000 non-governmental schools have the total number of 14.16 million students.

The white paper noted that vocational training in China includes pre-employment training, training for people who plan to change occupations, apprentice training and on-the-job training, covering elementary, intermediary, and advanced vocational qualification training for technicians.

By developing higher vocational institutions, advanced technical schools, secondary polytechnic schools, technical schools, employment training centers, non-governmental vocational training institutions and enterprises employees training centers, China endeavors to develop an all-round and multi-level national system of vocational education to strengthen training for the new urban workforce, laid-off workers, rural migrant workers and on- the-job employees.

By late 2003, there were altogether 3,167 technical schools in China to train skilled technicians, including 274 of the advanced level, with a total of 1.91 million students.

There were also 3,465 governmental employment training centers and 17,350 non-governmental training institutions across the country in 2003, training 10.71 million people.

The white paper said that a vocational training network covering both urban and rural areas has been put in place in China, making it possible for most of the new urban workers to receive work preparation training. The new laborers in rural areas, especially non-agricultural laborers and rural migrant workers, are being included in the program.

In 2003, some 1.26 million urban junior and senior middle school graduates, unable to continue education, received such training.

The state has carried out a plan for Strengthening Vocational Training to Improve Employment Qualifications" and a National Project for Training Highly Skilled Personnel" since 2002. A program to train 500,000 new technicians in three years also started.

The white paper said emphasis was laid on training in latest techniques, materials, technology and machines to meet the urgent needs of personnel with professional skills and knowledge of new and high technologies. Last year 34 million employees received job- related skill training.

The Chinese Government has made reemployment training a regular system to help laid-off workers find jobs. From 1998 to 2000, the government carried out the Three-Year Plan for Training 10 Million Laid-off Workers for Reemployment." Some 13 million laid-offs received training, of whom 65 percent found new jobs.

From 2001 to 2003, the second phase of the plan, some 15.3 million laid-off workers took reemployment training.

Since 1998, training to initiate businesses has been launched in 30 cities in China, which is to help laid-off workers engage in individual and private sectors or start small businesses by training and guidance, policy consultation and follow-up service.

Vocational training institutions run by the trade unions have trained 3.6 million laid-off workers. In 2003, some 280,000 people received training, about 140,000 of whom have successfully started their own businesses or become self-employed.

The white paper said China has set up a vocational qualification training system of five levels, from elementary grade to intermediate and advanced grade of skilled workers and then to technicians and senior technicians, forming an important part of a life-long training system for workers.

So far, there are some 80,000 vocational skill evaluation institutions and 180,000 people engaged in vocational skill evaluation and examination in China. The average pass rate of vocational skill examinations is 84 percent and 45 million vocational qualification certificates have been issued.

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