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People's Daily Online>>China Military

PLA zeroes in on college hiring (2)

By Zhao Shengnan and Li Xiaokun  (China Daily)

09:46, December 22, 2011

Jia Na, 25 and a 2007-09 veteran of the PLA, is a defense cadet at Tsinghua University. She will return to the army after she earns her bachelor's degree in journalism. (China Daily Photo)

Courting collegians

Agence France-Presse reported last month that the relaxation in rules comes as the PLA targets young people - particularly educated graduates - and recognizes that many of China's youth have grown more fashion-conscious and trendy. A Beijing Recruitment Office representative confirmed to China Daily that the preferential treatment targets educated graduates, whose numbers in Beijing have soared.

According to a senior officer with the General Staff Department of PLA, who asked to be unidentified, college recruits tend to be quick learners and thus find it easier to be promoted than enlistees with just a high school education. About half of college graduates recruited in 2009 were made officers this year.

The high quality of college recruits greatly reduces the time needed to produce a good technician, which was nearly two years during the 1990s, said Liu Yi, a military scholar from the PLA Nanjing Institute of Politics. "Some recruits have already mastered skills . . . like driving, nursing and engineering" before they enlist, he said.

Jia Na, the first female college recruit from Tsinghua, believes that psychological maturity contributes more to performance than an academic degree. "High school recruits cannot get used to the stringent military rules as quickly as elder and experienced college ones," she said.

College recruits also can help fill education gaps among their comrades-in-arms. Jia, for example, taught English to one of her colleagues for six months.

Jia, who is now 25, enlisted in 2007 and completed her service in 2009. She was the champion in a telegraphy competition at her military base, becoming the first voluntary soldier to acquire third-class merits for the squadron she served.

In 2010, she started studying for a bachelor's degree in journalism at Tsinghua University as a defense cadet. She will return to the PLA after graduation.

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