How China's investment in vocational education has led to increased employment and poverty alleviation

Students compete in a skill competition for higher vocational schools held in east China's Jiangsu Province. Picture: Xu Peiqin/People's Daily Online

Students compete in a skill competition for higher vocational schools held in east China's Jiangsu Province. Picture: Xu Peiqin/People's Daily Online

Published Apr 16, 2021


Zhang Shuo

China's higher vocational education institutions provided scholarships totalling 20.4 billion yuan ($3.13 billion) to seven groups of students, including registered poor students during the recent eight years, said a report on targeted poverty alleviation by China's higher vocational schools.

A total of 4.2 billion yuan of tuition fees were exempted for these groups of students, and 92.15 percent of poor students have been employed, according to the report.

Besides, free education was offered for over 90 percent of students in vocational high schools, and China's state student-aid covered around 40 percent of current students.

In the past eight years, technical experts from China's higher vocational education institutions made 76,000 trips to impoverished regions, where they developed 8,421 featured industrial projects and introduced 4,323 industrial projects, increasing local industrial income by a total of over 4.5 billion yuan.

At present, over 70 percent of students studying at China's higher vocational schools come from rural regions. Millions of families have realised their common dream of having a college student thanks to vocational education.

"A handicraft co-designed by me was sent to foreign guests as a gift," said Luo Linhua, a woman from the mountainous areas in Qiannan Buyi-Miao Autonomous Prefecture, southwest China's Guizhou Province who graduated from Guizhou Forerunner College.

Nine years ago, when the college went to Luo's hometown for recruitment, there was not even a table at Luo's home, and the kettles had to be put on the ground. Today, after graduation, Luo landed a job in China's capital Beijing.

China's higher vocational schools sent 364,000 junior college graduates of medical majors to impoverished areas as a way to alleviate the lack of medical resources there. They also carried out health trainings for 506,000 people and trained 355,000 medical workers in impoverished regions. Besides, they proactively volunteered to go to poor regions to give medical consultation and donate medicines.

They sent 21,000 junior college graduates of environmental protection majors to impoverished areas, offered training courses on ecological civilization for 221,000 people, and provided 2,859 items of technical support in ecological and environmental protection.

In addition, higher vocational schools cultivated 95,000 art and cultural professionals for impoverished regions, launched free performances and volunteer services that covered 828,000 people in these region, and helped them establish 5,857 local rules and regulations.

Pairing assistance by higher vocational education institutions also played a major role in targeted poverty alleviation in poor regions. According to the report, higher vocational schools dispatched 22,000 personnel to work in 9,586 impoverished regions, lifting 576,000 people out of poverty. In addition, they offered pairing assistance for 9,359 schools in poor areas, helped establish 6,646 majors in these areas, and trained 584,000 teachers there.

* This article was published in partnership with People’s Daily Online SA.

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