Vocational education gives a leg up to China’s poverty alleviation efforts

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By Zhang Fan

China’s vocational education reaped fruitful results during the past 13th Five-Year Plan period (2016-2020), and one of the highlights was its important role played in the country’s poverty alleviation efforts.

Featuring low entrance requirements, low cost and abundant job opportunities, vocational education not only lighted the dreams of students from impoverished families, but also intercepted the inheritance of poverty, turning around the destinies of impoverished households.

In recent years, vocational education has opened its door wider, enrolling more impoverished students and helping them to secure stable jobs.

“I never thought that I would settle down in Chengdu one day and become a regular employee of a hospital,” said Tashi Drolma, an impoverished student from Liangshan Yi autonomous prefecture, Sichuan province who secured a job in a hospital in the province’s capital.

Growing up in an impoverished family, Tashi Drolma came close to dropping out when she was in middle school. Thanks to a policy rolled out by Sichuan province that offers three years of free vocational education, her life has completely changed. According to statistics, nearly 80,000 families from ethnic-minority areas have benefited from the policy.

The lack of vocational skills is an important reason for the insufficient motivation for development of some impoverished households. To arm them with expertise through vocational education can better help them get rid of poverty.

China’s poverty alleviation practices fully prove that vocational education is one of the most effective and sustainable methods to eradicate poverty. For instance, Dongxiang autonomous county in Gansu province has offered training courses on lamian, or Chinese hand-pulled noodles for residents. The three-month training effectively helped the trainees improve their income and secure stable jobs. Ma Jinlong, who did odd jobs at a lamian restaurant and earned only 2,000 yuan per month, is now making lamian at a Beijing restaurant after receiving the training, tripling his income.

Vocational skills are a source of confidence to bid farewell to poverty. In recent years, from expanding scholarships and the range of free education, to vocational schools’ enrollment increase in extreme impoverished regions, and from enhancing east-west collaboration of vocational education to sending vocational teachers to rural areas, more and more students from impoverished families are offered with opportunities to receive education at low cost. Vocational education, through its practical results, is revitalizing the confidence and morale of impoverished residents, and motivating them to pursue a better life with knowledge and skills.

A vocational skills competition was recently held, joined by over 2,500 competitors from various industries. Their expertise showcased in the games passed on an energy that inspires people to make bigger accomplishments with skills.

By promoting high-quality development of vocational education and fostering numerous skillful laborers, China will witness more splendid life-changing stories and write more chapters of social and economic development.

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