» 03/08/2007, 00.00
Schools must serve needs of jobs market
Experts comment on Premier Wen’s pledges for education. Along with an increase in spending, formation in the professions needs to improved, to avoid the creation of an army of unemployed graduates. Unemployment is growing, specific professional capabilities are increasingly important.
Beijing (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Schools are not meeting the professional needs of the jobs market. According to experts participating in the National Peoples Congress in Beijing, increasing government spending on education will not resolve the issue of unemployment, in fact there is a real risk it will only create more unemployed graduates. What is urgently required is a closer link between the subjects being taught and the needs of the jobs market.
CPPCC member Zhang Baoqing, and former vice-minister of education, maintain that “Employment - and the environment - are the two biggest problems China faces. [Employment] has already become a social problem”. “The Ministry of Education must nurture students who satisfy society's needs” and those of the jobs market.
The search for employment has become markedly difficult for a growing number of young graduates, each year they figure in increasing numbers among the unemployed. This is because – observes Zhang –the ministry should provide more career guidance, the government should create more jobs, students should not expect to find the ideal job right after graduation, and graduates should be entrepreneurial.
Zhengzhou University professor Huo Yuping maintains that greater attention must be paid to the vocational secondary schools, which account for the formation of over 17 million students each year.
On March 5th, in his speech inaugurating the NPC, Premier Wen Jiabao, announced an increase in spending for education in rural areas. According to Huo “the funds may not be sufficient, but the system should first be improved”. Huo is satisfied by Wen’s pledge to “put vocational education in a more prominent position, such that education can truly serve society” ", calling the decision a “big reform and historic mission”.
Meanwhile the number of unqualified labourers in search of work in China is on the increase. Wen also pledged that no less than 9 million jobs would be created in cities this year, where the unemployment rate would be kept below 4.6 per cent. But academics at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences project that the number of job seekers in urban areas alone will exceed 25 million this year, meaning there will be a shortfall of at least 15 million jobs. For which specific professional capabilities will be increasingly requested. The problem of finding work, however , does not seem to concern the 5 million new university graduates, which according to official estimates will enter the jobs market in 2007 (1 million more than last year).
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