Six thousand young volunteers selected from among nearly
43,000-plus college graduates set out to west China on Sunday to
help develop impoverished regions.
The volunteers, the first group of China's Go West Volunteer
Program, are assigned to 183 counties in 12 western provinces,
autonomous regions as well as central China's Hubei and Hunan
provinces, for volunteer service of one or two years.
the ceremony held at China Centennial Altar in the national
capital, more than 300 volunteers vowed to do their best to help
locals and serve society.
The volunteers will work in the fields of education, medical care,
agriculture and cultural development. At the end of their volunteer
work, graduates will be free to decide whether to remain in the
west or to seek their fortunes in other regions of the country.
Shi Junfang, 23, a graduate from China Women's College, is going to
work in the planning bureau of Baotou city, in north China's Inner
Mongolia Autonomous Region, for two years.
am thinking of staying even longer if the job suits me," she
Wang Shikai, a law graduate from northeast China's Jilin
University, declined the offer to study for master's degree and
chose to be a volunteer at the legislative affairs office of
Bazhong city, in southwestern China's Sichuan Province.
hope to use what I've learned to serve people in the needy and less
developed regions. Meanwhile, this will help me to mature and I
will never regret this choice," said Wang.
The Communist Youth League of China (CYLC) and the Ministry of
Education in June launched the Go West program, which calls for
college graduates to provide volunteer services in the western
regions, where they are most needed.
Though rich in natural resources, China's western regions are badly
in need of human resources, as professionals there account for only
15.5 percent of the total technical force in the country, whereas
its population make up 28.8 percent of the national total.
Meanwhile, college graduates are fighting an uphill battle to hunt
for jobs this year. Statistics from the Ministry of Education show
that 2.12 million college students graduated this year, 620,000
more than last year, due to increasing student enrollments.
"As a program which contributes to the western development
strategy, the Go West program will not only advance socio-economic
development in the vast region, but also create more new employment
opportunities for college graduates," said Zhou Qiang, first
secretary of Secretariat of the CYLC Central Committee.
(Xinhua News Agency September 1, 2003)