Twelve vocational high schools will be built in the Pearl River Delta over the next few years to train up to 100,000 students from less-developed areas of Guangdong to meet the soaring demand for skilled workers in the region, a local education official said on Monday.
A Nanfang Daily report quoted Luo Weiqi, director of the provincial education department, as saying: "The development of vocational education will be a priority over the next few years.
"A dozen vocational schools, each with 5,000 to 10,000 students, will be set up, and secondary schools in better developed areas of the Pearl River Delta region will be encouraged to work with their counterparts in less developed regions."
The delta region has long faced a shortage of labor, and skilled workers are now in particularly high demand as the region seeks to switch focus from labor-intensive manufacturing to value-added industries.
In contrast, there is a surplus of unskilled workers in the northern, eastern and western regions of Guangdong.
Sending students from poorer regions to train in the Pearl River Delta is, therefore, a win-win situation, Luo said.
Lai Hongying, a publicity official with the education department, said that by 2011, the province aims to train 2 million students a year, up from 1.3 million last year.
Under the same timeframe, it also aims to recruit 600,000 new students a year, up from 540,000 last year, he said.
Polytechnics and universities will also seek to attract more students in the areas of science and technology to provide a richer human resource for the development of a modern industrial system, he said.
In a bid to achieve our goals, we will improve working and living conditions for teachers in rural areas, and go "all out" to attract top academics from home and abroad, Lai said.
(China Daily September 2, 2008)