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China to develop 100 quality vocational colleges next year

China's Ministry of Education (MOE) announced here Wednesday it is developing a hundred quality vocational colleges in 2006 to boost China's vocational education.

"By building up these 100 quality colleges, vocational schools across the country will have a clear model to follow," Ge Daokai, an official with MOE told a press conference held here Wednesday.

"Not every higher learning institution should develop a comprehensive education system, however, they should focus on different purposes in response to social needs," said Wu Qidi, vice minister of Education.

At a national conference on vocational education held in Beijing earlier this month, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said that the development of vocational education will be included in the 11th Five-year Program for Economic and Social Development,

"The State Council decided to earmark 10 billion yuan (about 1.23 billion US dollars) to support vocational education," Wen said.

China's workforce is facing with two problems, low quality and a lack of skilled technicians, who only account for one third of the total.

"The low quality personnel and scarcity of high quality technicians have greatly affected China's innovation, resulting in low-end products, high energy consumption and frequent industrial accidents," he said.

Chinese cities turn out a labor force of 24 million each year, and a large surplus labor force in rural areas has to move out, making it necessary to develop vocational education.

Due to limited educational resources, each year more than 10 million junior middle school graduates cannot enter senior high schools, several million high school graduates cannot enter colleges, and about one million college graduates cannot find jobs.

Last Wednesday, China's State Council, the central government, issued a decision to vigorously boost vocational education.


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