The Choice of Vocational Education for Senior Secondary Students in Urban China
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
Dr. Ning Zhang
Lecturer, Center for Asian Studies