China will offer free job training to 40 million migrant workers from rural areas in the next five years, according to the Ministry of Labor and Social Security (MLSS).
The education of rural residents is fundamental to the rural economy and should be incorporated into the country's overall vocational training program, MLSS says.
According to the 11th Five-year Program for China's economic and social Development (2006-2010), MLSS will also train 1.9 million technicians and 7 million technical workers, provide vocational training to 20 million laid-off workers and to carry out vocational qualification assessment covering 50 million people.
Besides free training, MLSS will also offer subsidies and vocational instructions to migrant workers.
A recent survey financed by National Social Science Fund shows that in China's middle income stratum, migrant workers have become the principal part of the middle class in rural areas.
Migrant workers are better-off and active compared with the farmers who remain working on the farmland, the survey said. Educating migrant workers would promote not only employment but also agricultural industrialization.
China has 480 million rural laborers, of which 420 million only received primary education or below.
(Xinhua News Agency December 11, 2005)