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In China, vocational education has long been perceived by many as second-class. Students with better grades usually choose elite universities. But as our reporter Wang Guan explains, vocational training institutions are contributing, just as much, to China's success stories.
Getting fired up.
XXX is not just trying to teach his apprentices how to cook, but make them master chefs.
This culinary school churns out tens of thousands of chefs every year serving in Beijing's most renowned restaurants.
The cooking courses range from learning to cook Chinese cuisine, western baking and making desserts. Though the programs vary, the purpose of the students are similar--to learn a practical skill to improve their chances in the job market.
Li Xuanchen, apprentice of Jude Tianhua Culinary School, said, "I want to learn one specific skill to have more bargaining power with employers. I want to go to a bakery to polish my skills first after finishing the courses here."
Yang Guangyuan, apprentice of Jude Tianhua Culinary School, said, "Here we learn practical skills that are very different from textbook knowledge. We actually 'do stuff' every minute and way we truly learn things."
No jobs are guaranteed yet but their future is bright. According to statistics, in 2009, 96 percent of students from vocational training institutions ended up with a job. That is in contrast to just XXX percent employment rate of college graduates.
CCTV reporter Wang Guan said, "Vocational schools have often been described as places where frustrated parents send their children because of their poor academic track record. But experts say times have changed and the role of vocational education must be re-valued."
Professor Liu Baocheng, from Beijing-based University of International Business and Economics, says the vocational education is helping transform the growth pattern of China's economy in a way that is subtle yet significant.
Prof. Liu Baocheng from Uni. of Int'l Business and Economics, said, "19:21: China is also transforming its industrial structure. Instead of simply requiring simple skills, they need professional people in certain industries. We found practical and technical education is catered to shaping a new work force in China."
Sharing a new workforce means China will equip its 800 million manual workers, most of whom are farmers, with more know-how. Currently, they work on assembly lines that churn out products sold around the world, but with little added value.
Consistent on-the-job training could be an expedient way to help the Chinese workforce gradually move up.
And perhaps more importantly, acquiring solid skills empowers individuals.
Most of the students in this culinary school, for example, used to be farmers-turned-migrant workers. With newly obtained skills and savings from the past, many of them say they want to start their own bakery or dessert shops in the future. So they don't have to worry about losing their jobs every day, and take destiny into their own hands.