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2012-05-24 12:14 ChineseTime

Students from rural areas have seen increases in financial assistance

Technical and vocational education will be a top priority for government spending on education, a senior official has revealed.

State Councilor Liu Yandong said the education budget will increase this year by 580 billion yuan ($92 billion) from 2011, with more money going to rural, remote and poverty-stricken areas, as well as areas mainly with ethnic groups.

Liu made the announcement during the Third International Congress on Technical and Vocational Education and Training, which started on Sunday and ended on Wednesday in Shanghai.

Visitors talk to a student majoring in embroidery at the Third International Congress
 on Technical and Vocational Education and Training in Shanghai on Monday.
Shui Guo / for China Daily

The event has attracted more than 800 representatives from 117 member states of UNESCO, and 72 international organizations.

"China, a developing country with one-fifth of the world's population, has made tremendous progress over the past 30 or so years since the reform and opening-up," Liu said. "The overall national strength and standards of living have been improved dramatically, and the country has taken on a new look."

"Yet China's development remains unbalanced, uncoordinated and unsustainable, and faces numerous challenges. In China's modernization efforts, technical and vocational education and training has an important role to play, and will therefore embrace greater opportunities for development."

China's technical and vocational schools recruit 11 million students annually, with close to 32 million enrolled now, accounting for half of China's secondary and higher education student population, Liu said.

Education Minister Yuan Guiren said vocational education is a way to "orderly transfer rural laborers to urban areas".

"China is facing a crucial period to accelerate the transformation of the pattern of economic development, and to promote industrial restructuring and upgrading, which requires vocational education to foster more high-quality skilled talent," Yuan said.

"The overall building of a harmonious society calls for a decent job and life for all members of the society, and for an expansion of vocational education services."

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