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China Nears Annual Enrollment Goal for Secondary Vocational Schools

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The Ministry of Education (MOE) said Friday in a statement that secondary vocational schools nationwide had admitted 8.2 million students by November 1, nearing the annual enrollment goal of 8.3 million.

MOE vice minister Lu Xin told Xinhua the 8.3-million goal was essential to China's industrial upgrading and urbanization.

He said the 8.3-million number was based on the population at the eligible age for entrance to secondary vocational schools and that the schools should have the same number of students as normal senior high schools.

In China's education system, a student has two choices for further study upon finishing nine years of compulsory education, normally at the age of 15, either going to a normal senior high school or a secondary vocational school.

Many believe China currently suffers from a shortage of skilled workers and technicians, which is stifling the modernization of China's manufacturing industry.

The Chinese government has pledged greater efforts to develop secondary vocation education in the next decade, according to the national education blueprint for the next decade.

The blueprint says the government will increase funding for secondary vocational education so that it will eventually become free nationwide.

There are about 17.6 million students at secondary vocational schools in China. Among them, 90 percent receive government grants and 85 percent are from rural and low-income urban families, according to the MOE.

(Xinhua News Agency November 27, 2010)

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