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Workers Crave for Vocational Education

Only 32.9 percent of workers in China's urban areas have received vocational education, which shows the country's vocational education is still far from meeting the need for overall development, an expert said over the weekend.

Up to 2005, China had set up 14,500 schools for junior vocational education and 1,091 schools for senior vocational education, said Wang Mingda, president of the Chinese Association for Vocational Technical Education.

The number of students in these schools that year reached 21.12 million, Wang told a summit on vocational education on Friday.

There are also 481 schools for adult higher education in the country, he said.

"However, the thriving vocational education still fails to meet the demand, especially when China's population of 1.3 billion is taken into consideration," Wang said.

Among the urban workers who have taken vocational education, only 4 percent are technicians and 17 percent senior-level skilled workers, while primary and junior-level workers account for 43 percent and 36 percent respectively.

The situation is less optimistic for migrant workers from rural areas, Wang said. Less than 15 percent of the 150 million migrant workers have received vocational education.

The low education level of workers could be partly attributable to China's irrational industrial structure, low-end and low value added product dominated product mix, extensive consumption of resources and frequent accidents in work sites, he said.

(Xinhua News Agency May 20, 2006)

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