Press conference on China's achievements in education reform and development since the 18th CPC National Congress

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The Beijing News:

There were 10.76 million college graduates this year, a record high. At the same time, college graduates have encountered some difficulties in seeking jobs due to the pandemic. Over the past few months, we have seen that the unemployment rate of young people aged between 16 and 24 has been on the rise. What is the judgment of the Department of Education on the overall employment situation of college graduates this year? What measures will be taken next to promote employment? Thank you.  

Huai Jinpeng:

Thanks to this reporter for your question. The issues we discussed today are all of common concern to the people and the society and are major issues in economic and social development. Employment is pivotal to people's well-being and a field that the CPC Central Committee and the State Council have attached great importance to and cared about. Therefore, it is the top priority of our work this year to ensure the employment of college graduates. As is known to all, the total number of college graduates this year has reached nearly 11 million, exceeding 10 million for the first time in history. Affected by various factors, including the COVID-19 epidemic and mounting downward pressure on the economy, employment has experienced unprecedented difficulties. 

In fact, not only this year has the education system encountered challenges in employment. In recent years, the employment of college graduates has faced many challenges and difficulties. Faced with that, under the strong leadership of the CPC Central Committee and the State Council and with the direct care and personal attention of General Secretary Xi Jinping to the employment of college graduates, the Department of Education, together with relevant departments, has firmly put into practice the decisions and plans, overcome difficulties, and implemented comprehensive policies, ensuring a stable employment situation of college graduates for many years. By far, college graduates in 2022 have made steady progress in securing jobs. I would like to report the progress to you. Here are the main features: 

First, strong support has been provided. We have strengthened top-level design to promote employment and improved policies in providing college graduates with multiple channels to find jobs or start their own businesses, encouraging them to find employment at the community level and in the central and western regions, optimizing guidance services, and strengthening the protection of rights and interest of employment. Especially in recent years, we have launched a series of bold policies. For example, we have promoted admission to higher levels of education and recruitment of all types of government bodies, public institutions and state-owned enterprises in a coordinated way to help college graduates to find employment as soon as possible and facilitate their job hunting. 

Second, employment channels have been expanded. The major role of market-based employment channels such as micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises in creating jobs has been fully leveraged. We have taken extensive action this year to launch the "Special Program on the Visits of Secretaries and Presidents of Colleges and Universities to Enterprises to Expand Job Opportunities and Bolster Employment" and the "Program on Ten Thousand Enterprises Entering Campus." We have organized a series of activities, such as activities themed "Joint Promotion of Employment by Private Enterprises and Colleges and Universities" and "Recruitment by Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises in One Hundred Days," to promote exchanges, cooperation, and communication between enterprises and universities, making every effort to broaden channels for creating market-based employment. The reform in the education of innovation and entrepreneurship has been advanced. Just as I mentioned when I answered the last question, the "Internet Plus" Innovation and Entrepreneurship Competition has also played a significant role in setting an illustrious example for and having a multiplier effect on encouraging college graduates to start their own businesses to boost employment.

Third, better guidance has been provided. We have put our hearts and souls into delivering employment guidance and take it as fundamental. In particular, we have given full play to the role of over 100,000 employment service workers in colleges and universities and counselors of graduating classes. We have strengthened career planning and employment guidance for college graduates and guided them to establish a positive outlook on employment to contribute to places where the country needs them most. Especially this year, based on the previous "24365" employment service platform for college graduates, we have optimized and upgraded it into the "National Employment Service Platform for College Graduates," providing services 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. This kind of digital platform has enabled college graduates to access non-stop employment guidance and services and offered one-stop and one-click online services. This year we have provided 13.7 million jobs for college graduates through this platform.

Fourth, assistance has been taken as a priority. We have established and improved the assistance mechanism for employment and carried out targeted assistance for groups with special difficulties, such as households lifted out of poverty, households living on subsistence allowances, unemployed households and college graduates with disabilities. We have launched the "Project of Support to Employment of People with Difficulties by the Central Special Lottery Welfare Fund," providing employability training for 100,000 people offline and 500,000 online, making people with difficulties more competitive in the job market. In recent years, the employment rate of low-income households and college graduates with disabilities has been higher than the national average. 

Fifth, structural adjustment has been made. It is an important direction for the reform of higher education. In combination with the needs of the labor market and technological revolution and industrial transformation, we have taken employment as an important part of the development of world-class universities and world-class disciplines, known as the "Double World-Class Project," and the structural adjustment of higher education as well as a major reference for construction performance and discipline evaluation. We have guided colleges and universities to prioritize disciplines and majors with the strongest societal demands, broadest employment prospects, strongest needs for economic and social development, and the largest talent gaps. For the disciplines and majors that have a low employment rate and have not been able to meet market demand for years, we should make timely adjustments and work together with local governments and colleges and universities to study disciplines and majors suitable for economic and social development and the all-round development of students. We must strive to improve the education structure and system with the quality of talent cultivation, meeting the job market's needs and economic and social development.

Promoting the employment of college graduates is the duty of the education system and what we are concerned about. We will unswervingly work to ensure the employment of college graduates and take it as an opportunity to optimize the structure of education further and deepen educational reform. Thank you.

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