Promotion of Vocational and Experiential Education in China

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"Since the 13th Five-Year Plan, 40.88 million people have graduated from colleges and universities nationwide, and the initial employment rate has remained above 77% for many years, with an unemployment rate of nearly 23%." (Government of the People's Republic of China website 2020). According to a report by the China Development Institute (Government network of the People's Republic of China 2022), China needs more skilled workers in various industries, including manufacturing, technology, and services. The report estimates that the shortage of skilled workers could reach 16 million by 2030 if the current trend continues. This shortage is due to factors such as an aging population, rapid technological advancements, and a mismatch between the skills of job seekers and the needs of employers. The high unemployment rate contradicts the massive shortage of skilled workers. In 2023, China officially promoted the "vocational education diversion" policy, which resulted in 50 percent of middle school students not having the opportunity to continue high school. Due to economic and geographical factors, most of the students who lose the opportunity to study in high school come from remote areas and rural areas, and these students typically have few options other than low-wage labor. The employment choices of this group of young people will directly determine the future changes in the gap between rich and poor in China. Suppose we need to solve the employment and career arrangement of this group of young people. In that case, it will directly affect their income and quality of life, contrary to China's policy of shared prosperity. It also violates the United Nations human rights principles of sustainable development and equal rights to education. The primary purpose of this paper is to analyze the inevitability and necessity of promoting vocational education in China through the introduction of China's education policy and system, the current employment situation of China's undergraduate graduates, and the data on the shortage of technical talents in the industrial manufacturing industry. This paper examines the work and future plans for ETCF, an organization that provides vocational education to young people through technical training and planning. It uses experiential learning methods to let young people participate more in understanding vocational education and formulate suitable vocational plans for young people. The organization seeks to reduce the rate of out-of-school and unemployment and the shortage of technical personnel in China. Through continuous improvement of the strategic design, management and operations, Education and Technology Change for the Future (ETCF) hopes to extend to the nation's vocational and technical colleges and young people’s opportunities. With government support, ETCF has the potential for expanding its impact to rural youth across China.

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Tucker, Terry

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