If China cannot improve the situation with its vocational education as soon as possible, its economic growth will be impeded, said a member of China's top advisory body on Friday.
In China, the number of senior technical workers only accounts for 3.5 percent of the total number of its competent work force as against 40 percent in some developed countries, said Wang Zheng, board chairman of the Hong Kong Wing Fung Group and also a member of the 10th National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC).
The labor productivity of China's manufacturing industry is lagging behind that of the United States, Japan, Germany and other developed nations, Wang said.
To achieve the goal of building a prosperous society by the year 2020, China is in urgent need of millions of professional skilled workers, Wang said. So vocational education is an effective way to tap human resources and improve the quality of the laborers in production, management and service sectors.
People in China often focus on the elementary education and higher education to the neglect of vocational education and, as a matter of fact, vocational education constitutes a weakest link in the country's education system, Wang acknowledged. Nearly 11 million junior middle school graduates in China require vocational training on an annual basis, but the secondary vocational schools only enroll 4.2 million students every year, said Wang.
The lack of vocational education resulted in an acute shortage of skilled workers, especially senior technicians, not only in traditional industries such as construction, machinery and printing sectors, but also in the high-tech industries. It is estimated that the software industry suffers a short fall of up to 420,000 senior technicians.
The Beijing branch of his company once invited application for the positions of the deputy general manager and a number of senior technicians. And only a few people with doctorate degrees and professorships, and returned students from overseas responded.
Speaking of a number of industrial mishaps and accidents occurred in China last year, Wang recalled, one of the main reasons could be owned to the lack of professional knowledge among miners and factory workers.
To develop vocational education in China, Wang suggested, investment could be obtained through diversified channels, he added. And preferential policies should be formulated to boost investment in vocational education.