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China’s vocational schools important labor source of modern manufacturing

BEIJING, Dec. 8 (Xinhua) — Vocational education institutions supplied more than 70 percent of China’s newly employed frontline workers in modern manufacturing, strategic and emerging industries, and modern services in the past five years, according to the Ministry of Education.

Roughly 10 million technical and skilled personnel have been trained each year by the country’s vocational colleges and schools, which offer programs in more than 1,200 specialties, according to figures on vocational education during the 13th Five-Year Plan period (2016-2020) released by the ministry at a press conference Tuesday.

China currently has 11,500 vocational schools where 28.57 million students are acquiring skills, Chen Ziji, a MOE official, told the press conference.

Secondary vocational schools registered 6 million new enrollments, accounting for 41.7 percent of senior secondary schools, Chen added. The figure for institutes of higher vocational education came in at 4.83 million, or 52.9 percent of total college and university enrollments.

More than 70 percent of students in vocational colleges and schools come from rural areas, Chen added, underlining the role of vocational education in stopping poverty from being passed on to the next generation.

More than 90 percent of students receiving secondary vocational education are exempt from tuition fees, while over 40 percent are granted financial aid, according to Chen.

China is also working with over 70 countries and international organizations and more than 400 of its higher vocational schools have been cooperating with their overseas counterparts to improve vocational education, Chen added.

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