A recent research conducted by the China Children and Teenagers’ Fund and the China Philanthropy Research Institute of Beijing Normal University looks at the development of vocational education for girls from poor families in China. The report finds that due to the imbalance in economic development, gender inequality and limited educational resources, girls from poor families in China still face lots of difficulties and obstacles when it comes to education and training, and achieving equal employment opportunities. The development of education has gradually become China’s main measure to relieve poverty, and vocational education possesses its own advantages in terms of resources. In order to cut off the transmission of poverty from generation to generation, encouraging poor girls to study at vocational schools to enhance employability, entrepreneurship and the ability to overcome poverty is socially important, finds the report.
The research shows that after receiving a vocational education, 60% of girls’ professional skills improve and almost 80% of them believe that what they have learned is helpful for obtaining employment. Specifically, 40.5% of them think that education is highly helpful for their future. Also, the research reflects the fact that girls enrolled at vocational schools have clearer career plans. When asked about expected occupations, jobs, locations and salaries, these girls are much less likely to choose “never thought about it” or “unsure” compared to girls from general middle schools and high schools. From this data, we can see that girls who have completed a vocational education have clearer future career goals and plans.
In 2016, 4,747,100 students graduated from secondary vocational schools and 4,591,500 of them got employed. The employment rate was 96.72% and the rate of getting jobs fitting their specialties was 75.60%. The employment rate of graduates from advanced vocational institutes and colleges was 91.5% and that of graduates from general universities was 91.8%, same as the figure for 2015.
The amounts of pay raises offered to vocational school graduates are quite significant, indicating that vocational education promotes the financial independence of girls from poor families. Although the difficulty in finding jobs is continuously increasing, the average income of vocational school graduates has been rising stably over the years. Taking Shanghai as an example, the average starting salaries of graduates from secondary vocational schools keeps increasing every year, and the growth rate of their income has been increasing observably as well.
In addition, the research shows that 90% of girls are willing to use their income to improve family conditions. Compared with boys, vocational school girls from poor families are more willing to support their original families with their income and ultimately enhance their economic levels and living environment.