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Free vocational training makes Chinese farmers more competitive in job market
Latest Updated by 2007-04-02 10:13:58

Farmers in northwest China's Shaanxi Province have found growing apples, guavas and Chinese dates a new way to make money, with the help of the local vocational training institutes.

The experience of the Shaanxi farmers was exemplary to those in other parts of China, said Mu Qianyuan, a senior education official of Shaanxi, at the annual meeting on vocational training held by China's Ministry of Education here Friday.

"Vocational training is an important way to improve skills of rural laborers needed in China's modernization drive," Education Minister Zhou Ji said.

About two million farmers in Shaanxi had received vocational training every year since 2003, said Mu, and they had made about two billion yuan in increased earnings after the training.

In 2001, the government of east China's Zhejiang Province began to develop vocational training for farmers by earmarking an annual investment of 300 million yuan, said Bao Xuejun, deputy director of Zhejiang Education Bureau.

From year 2004 to 2006, more than five million farmers in Zhejiang received free vocational training.

"It not only effectively solves the problems of the rural labor surplus, but helps develop a new education training sector," said Bao.

For example, training companies in Quzhou city had established brands in fields of housemaids, security guards, agriculture and sewing machinists. Wenzhou city had developed nearly 20 professions and trades including fish farming, motor mechanics and printing.

"The heavy population burden has been transformed into useful human resource, which boosts the rural economy," Bao said.

In 2006, the per capita annual income of rural residents in Zhejiang was 7,335 yuan, third highest in the country.

China's government has set a goal of building a new socialist countryside by developing production, raising living standards, fostering civil behavior, improving rural hygiene and sanitation, and exercising democratic management.

To achieve this goal, farmers needed professional skills to get by in the socialist market economy. A survey of migrant workers by the research body of the State Council in 2006 showed that 76.4 percent had no professional training.

In the government work report this year, Premier Wen Jiabao vowed to strengthen rural training programs and improve the skills of migrant farmers.

Zhou Ji hoped that local governments could increase investment in professional education for farmers, and work out training programs to meet farmers' requirements.

Editor: Wing

By: Source:China View website
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