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April 16, 2011

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Home » Metro » Education

Trade schools lack students

VOCATIONAL schools face a student shortage as applicant numbers have dwindled in recent years while they also struggle to overcome a cultural bias against such an education.

A total of 85,000 students will graduate from local middle schools this year. In comparison, 176,400 middle school students graduated in 2003.

The decrease in the number of applicants is caused by the low birth rate in the late 1990s between the two baby booms.

"We suffer great pressure with student admissions dropping, though 100 percent of our graduates find jobs," said Zhou Jian, vice principal of Shanghai Information Technology College, a secondary vocational school.

Students with better grades usually pick high schools as their first choice so they can have a better chance at getting accepted by an elite university.

Vocational education has long been perceived by many as second-class in China and people believe only students with bad grades enroll in such schools.

Though a lot of college students find it hard to land a job now, many firms are short of highly skilled vocational workers, whose salaries are much higher than some people with a university degree.

"Vocational school is the last choice for my son," said Gong Huiping, a local parent. "He can make better friends in high schools."


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