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ERIC Number: ED556319
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2015-Mar
Pages: 51
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 33
Made in China: Challenge and Innovation in China's Vocational Education and Training System. International Comparative Study of Leading Vocational Education Systems
Stewart, Vivien
National Center on Education and the Economy
China has the largest population and largest labor force in the world. It has been highly successful in rapidly expanding both secondary and higher education to a significant fraction of the youth cohort. However, educational opportunities and standards across China are highly uneven. China has abundant labor power, but it will need a far more skilled and productive labor force to meet its goals of developing an advanced, high-income economy and society. China is therefore now designing a new approach to human capital, including a major focus on developing a modern vocational education and training (VET) system. This report is part of an international comparative study of vocational and technical education systems undertaken by the Center on International Education Benchmarking (CIEB) of the U.S.-based National Center on Education and the Economy (NCEE). It builds on NCEE's long track record of analyzing the critical connections between education and economic growth. According to human capital theory, knowledge and skills have become the most important force driving modern economies. Therefore, countries are investing increasing amounts of their GDP in education. Many countries have focused on expanding higher education to increasing segments of the age cohort while vocational education and training, often associated with an older industrial era, has been relatively neglected. But slow economic growth, high unemployment, including among college graduates, and rising inequality has made developing a modern VET system--as a vehicle for meaningful career preparation for a more demanding labor market--an issue of increasing urgency around the globe. This CIEB international study, which also includes case studies of Australia, Denmark, Singapore, Switzerland, and the United States as well as China, is an effort to assess what are the world's best practices in vocational and technical education in the 21st century. This case study of China is the result of several visits to China in 2013 and 2014 by the study team of Marc Tucker, Vivien Stewart, Betsy Brown Ruzzi and Nancy Hoffman. This study examines the success of China's unique dual-track, export-led economy from 1978 until 2009 and explains where the skills came from to build this economic juggernaut. It describes the turning point it now faces and the reasons China's economic model going forward will require far higher levels of skill and productivity. This is the context in which China is trying to develop a modern VET system. The author compares China's current vocational education and training system to the best practices of the world's most advanced systems to which it aspires. While it is found that the VET system is lacking in many respects, China's recent history has shown that when it decides to tackle a problem, it has the determination and drive to accomplish it.
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Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: National Center on Education and the Economy
Identifiers - Location: China