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

By Ning Zhang.

Published by The Learner Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

As part of the economic and social reforms that the Chinese government started 30 years ago, vocational and technical 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 and technical education issues in three major periods, 1978-1992, 1993-2000, and 2001-present. The choices of vocational and technical education in these three periods were influenced by the different situations that made this form of education 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 and Technical Education, Secondary Education, Tertiary Education, Urban Students and Parents

The International Journal of Learning, Volume 15, Issue 4, pp.205-216. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 590.695KB).

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.


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