West Set to Reverse the Brain Drain

China has worked out a plan to turn its vast impoverished western region into a promise land where millions of professionals will be able to develop their skills in the years to come.

Under the plan, formulated recently by the Ministry of Personnel, the government has promised to create better working and living conditions for skilled professionals.

Professional people and specialized technical personnel are viewed as “one of the most important factors influencing the success of the exploitation of west China” which despite being prolific in land is lacking in trained personnel.

The development of human resources in west China through fostering a young generation of professionals and training the existing personnel in specific technical fields has been made a top priority in the new plan, a leading official with the ministry said.

According to Zhang Xuezhong, minister of personnel, the central government will build major cities in the western region to house personnel from some of China’s most prestigious universities and professional groups, including Chongqing, Xi’an, Chengdu and Lanzhou, which will then become human resource development hubs.

The ministry is also giving priority to western areas for the location of new post-doctorate research or study stations and industrial parks for professionals who have returned from study abroad.

Financial incentives will be offered to professionals from eastern areas who choose to work in the west, and further subsidies will be granted to professionals working in remote and poor areas, the minister confirmed.

The central government is considering giving a salary raise to government departments and institutions in western areas that will equal or exceed the national average, Zhang disclosed.

Zhang said he hoped that by 2005, the end of China’s 10th Five-Year Plan, China will have built up an army of skilled professionals strong enough to make a success of the country’s western development strategy and the region’s rapidly progressing economy.

The total number of professionals in western China will be increased from its current level of 11 million to 15 million in five years with the number of specialized technical personnel reaching 10 million, up from 7.6 million at present.

This should gradually increase the ratio of top and medium-level professionals and their national total so as to meet the demands of local social and economic development, Zhang added.

To realize such a goal, Zhang said preferential treatment as well as other measures will be offered to encourage people to, and train professionals in, the western region and to help absorb professionals from China’s relatively-developed eastern and coastal areas.

Of China’s existing 60 million professionals and specialized technical personnel, only 18 percent work in the country’s western regions, home to 20 percent of China’s population.

“China will attract much-needed professionals from other parts of the country for key major development tasks and construction projects in western areas,” said the minister.

Meanwhile, Zhang said, professionals in overstaffed local government institutions in the region will be encouraged to work for enterprises and rural concerns.

(China Daily 02/05/2001)

In This Series

Region Shy in Trained Personnel

10,000 Rural Teachers to Be Trained for Western Region



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