Zhu Yongxin, a CPPCC National Committee member.[Photo/chinadaily.com.cn]
Vocational education can play an important role in China’s poverty relief efforts, says an education expert and national political advisor.
Zhu Yongxin, a member of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, said that vocational education is less attractive in China and the students of vocational schools are mainly from relatively poor families.
He believes that better promoting vocational education is the key to increasing the income of poor families.
In a pilot project in Central China’s Hunan province that provides vocational education for students from poor families, the graduates earn an average of 30,000 yuan ($4,300) a year, which practically lifts his or her family from poverty, Zhu said.
“PhD students are everywhere, while a skilled worker is hard to find,” Zhu said.
In China, there is a remarkable gap between vocational education and general higher education, with only four vocational schools for every six universities or colleges.
“In some countries, a skilled worker gets similar pay as a professor and can live a decent life,” Zhu said.
However, that’s not the case in China where kids don’t want to attend vocational schools due to the traditional culture in favor of academic knowledge as well as an unequal income system.
Zhu, who is also vice chairman of the Central Committee of the China Association for Promoting Democracy, called for reform of the income distribution system and human resource system to address the problem.
To draw more students into vocational education, we should pay due respect to good technicians and skilled workers like we respect scientists, he said.
That will boost the competitiveness of China’s labor force, he said.