The Chinese government issued
the Vocational Education Law of the PRC in 1996, making explicit
stipulations regarding the status, role, structure, functions and
duties, management system and fund channels for vocational education.
China’s vocational education is
mainly composed of advanced vocational schools, technical secondary
schools, skilled workers’ schools, vocational middle schools, vocational
training centers and other technical training schools for adults
and training institutions run by social organizations or individuals.
Vocational education is divided into three levels: advanced, secondary
and primary levels, which coordinate closely with each other.
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Advanced vocational education,
the highest level of vocational education in China, is still in
the initial stage. Conducted on the basis of the students having
high-school education, it is an important part of higher education.
At present, schools offering advanced vocational education are:
87 professional and technical colleges, short-term vocational universities
and technical junior colleges; several dozen professional junior
colleges, now undergoing reforms; 133 higher learning schools for
adults (with 188 areas of study offered), where experiments in advanced
vocational education are conducted; and 18 technical secondary schools
which offer advanced vocational education classes. Their major task
is to cultivate practical and technological specialists for the
front line of the nation’s economic construction. In accordance
with the development program for vocational education, the existing
system of advanced vocational education is to be reformed and restructured,
and supplemented with a small number of leading vocational secondary
schools to promote advanced vocational education and gradually develop
into colleges of vocational technology.
Vocational secondary education
is the principal part of China’s vocational education. It has three
forms: technical secondary schools, vocational high schools and
skilled workers’ schools.
The major task of technical secondary
schools is to cultivate secondary technical and managerial personnel
for the front line of production. After many years of effort, there
are now 3,206 technical secondary schools nationwide.
The restoration and development
of vocational high schools began in the early 1980s. Because they
have adapted themselves to China’s economic development and reform
of the structure of secondary education, vocational high schools
are developing rapidly. Now there are 8,500 such schools nationwide,
with a total of four million students. They mainly train employees
with high school educational level and certain professional skills.
Compared with the low quality of professional teachers and textbooks,
and simple and crude equipment for experiments and practice in the
early 1980s, vocational high schools now have developed into well-equipped
new-type schools with obviously improved quality of teachers and
Skilled workers’ schools are vocational
secondary schools for cultivating technical workers. China’s first
skilled workers’ school was established in 1949. Currently, there
are 4,467 skilled workers’ schools nationwide, with 1.8625 million
students studying 400-odd subjects.
To date, there are more
than 17,000 vocational schools of various types and levels, 2,090-odd
professional training centers, and over 400,000 training centers for
workers and staff, technical training schools for adults and training
institutions run by social organizations and individuals. Each year,
millions of people are trained at the various training institutions
and vocational schools. China has basically formed a vocational education
system offering distinct advanced, secondary and primary levels of
education in all trades.