The Choice of Vocational Education for Senior Secondary Students in Urban China

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As part of the economic and social reforms that the Chinese government started 30 years ago, vocational education at senior secondary school level experienced rapid development and later depression in urban China. Parental perceptions, students’ motivation, and employers’ attitudes responded and contributed to the progress and the problems. This paper attempts to examine and discuss these issues from social perspectives in the historical, political, economic and educational context. The paper will tackle the vocational education issues in three major periods, 1978-1993, 1993-2001, and 2001-present. The choices of vocational education in these three periods were influenced by the different situations that made secondary vocational schools attractive or vice versa to students and parents. These situations include political and economic situation and conditions, opportunities for higher education, and job market and employment opportunities. Although the conventional argument in China on the unpopularity of vocational education is the traditional cultural bias against manual and skilled labour, the author seeks to find the decisive factors behind this traditional opinion.


Keywords: Vocational Education, Secondary Education, Urban Students and Parents
Stream: Adult, Vocational, Tertiary and Professional Learning
Presentation Type: Virtual Presentation in English
Paper: Choice of Vocational and Technical Education for Senior Secondary Students in Urban China, The


Dr. Ning Zhang

Lecturer, Center for Asian Studies
School of Social Sciences
Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, The University of Adelaide

Adelaide, South Australia, Australia

Holder of Master of Educational Studies from Queensland University, and PhD and Graduate Diploma in Education from the University of Adelaide. Dr Zhang conducts research into the history, state and future of vocational education in China, and has been invited to participate in research projects on vocational education in China and Australia.

Ref: L08P0686