At a meeting of the National People’s Congress Standing Committee last month, Chinese Lawmakers voted to amend the Vocational Education Law. The newly revised Vocational Education Law, which came into effect on the first day of this month, stipulates that vocational education should be viewed with equal importance to that of general education. It requires vocational education to be further integrated with general education. The law also specifies that China should establish a modern vocational education system that meets the needs of economic and social development, in-depth integration of enterprises with vocational schools and universities. Yu Lin, an official with the Ministry of Education, said the revised law plays an important role in promoting the high-quality development of vocational education, improving the quality of technical and skilled personnel training, and promoting economic and social development.
Vocational education has been underappreciated in society for a long time. Limited participation, scarce employment opportunities, insufficient educational investments, and widespread disdain for vocational education are all issues that face vocational education in China. The law was revised to address all major problems present in vocational education.
Students can get academic credit for vocational and technical training at vocational schools
The law stipulates that the vocational skills certificates, training certificates, and other learning outcomes obtained from vocational training can be converted into corresponding academic credits after being recognized by vocational schools. Those who meet the academic requirements of corresponding vocational schools may also obtain academic certificates accordingly.
Open up the application channel for graduates from vocational schools
Vocational school graduates should have the same access to higher education, employment, and career development opportunities as general school graduates at the same level. To increase the quality of vocational education as well as the job opportunities for vocational school graduates, the amended law promoted more engagement from enterprises. Enterprises are encouraged to collaborate with vocational schools in a variety of ways, including setting up trainee positions for vocational students, contributing to the compilation of vocational education textbooks, and training vocational teachers. In addition, no enterprise is allowed to make hiring conditions that make it difficult for graduates to get hired.
Qihong Zhang, a staff of Beijing Polytechnic College, a general vocational school located in Beijing, said that the increase in the positive social recognition of the value of vocational education in the whole society has an immediate positive impact on vocational schools and the revision of the Vocational Education Law has lit the ‘guidelight’ for the national vocational education teachers, and set their minds at ease.
Build high-quality vocational institutions that offer bachelor’s degrees
Vocational education will have an independent and complete school system and training levels, and “vocational education also means a higher degree of education.” The newly revised law stipulates that graduates of vocational schools would have more access to higher education degrees than previously accessible. Also, according to the law, a batch of high-quality vocational colleges awarding bachelor’s degrees to teach high-caliber vocational talent will be built. In terms of further education, an examination and enrollment system will be established in line with the characteristics of vocational education. The scale and training capacity of undergraduate vocational education will be steadily increased.
Better accommodate students with disabilities
The law mandates that vocational schools welcome students with disabilities, enhance barrier-free facilities, and provide them with the necessary assistance and convenience in their everyday life.