Xinjiang Development: Free vocational education brings locals better jobs

Some western politicians have hit at the government’s vocational education programs. In line with China’s goal to eradicate extreme poverty by the end of the year, these skills-oriented programs play an important role in helping people in Xinjiang secure better jobs and shake off hardship. Yang Jinghao reports.

Rezwangul Amer enjoys her current school life. The 18-year-old from Yengisar County in southern Xinjiang left school after she finished her elementary education. Now she’s able to learn what she loves in the county’s vocational high school. 

REZWANGUL AMER Student, Yengisar County Vocational High School “I’ve gained a lot here. Now I can do haircuts and make-up for others, both light and heavy make-up. I want to open my own beauty salon in the future.”

YANG JINGHAO Yengisar County, Xinjiang “The central government issued a document last year, making clear the reform path of the country’s vocational education. It stresses that more support should be given to poverty-stricken areas.”

Yengisar is among China’s last batch of counties to be lifted out of poverty by the end of this year. A decade ago, only less than 30-percent of junior middle school graduates were able to continue their education. Thanks to the poverty eradication drive, schools at all levels have received strong support in recent years.

In this well-equipped school, students can learn some ten majors featuring different skills free of charge. The school has also established a partnership with enterprises and developed an “order-oriented” cultivation model. 

XIA JIANGUO Party Secretary, Yengisar County Vocational High School “The employment rate of our school has reached about 95-percent in recent years. Most of the graduates have got satisfying jobs in different areas. They can earn an average of 2-thousand-5-hundred yuan each month in Xinjiang, and some 3-thousand-5 hundred yuan outside.”

The current poverty line in China is around 4-thousand yuan per year, equal to nearly  6-hundred US dollars. Undoubtedly, vocational education has become an important way out of poverty here. And a key factor is the improvement of the students’ average level of Putonghua, the most widely spoken language in China.  

XIA JIANGUO Party Secretary, Yengisar County Vocational High School “If they choose to work in cities out of Xinjiang, speaking Putonghua is a must so they can easily communicate with their co-workers and quickly acquire essential skills. So we also attach importance to language learning.”

Also, the pairing-up support mechanism brings the students quality educational resources from well-developed cities. And what comes along is hope, and confidence. The students say they hope the vast hinterlands of Xinjiang will experience a leapfrog in development, as they grow up with more knowledge and skills.

YJH, CGTN, Yengisar County, Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. 

Courtesy: CGTN

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