Made in China: Challenge and Innovation in China's Vocational Education and Training System

As China transitions from an economy based on low-cost, low-skill exports to one based on services, consumer demand, agricultural modernization, higher value-added products and innovation, the country has turned to new approaches to develop a workforce that is prepared for the new, higher-skill jobs of the future. China is currently focusing on developing a modern vocational education and training (VET) system as one of many approaches to strengthening its native labor force.

This report from the Center on International Education Benchmarking (CIEB) of the U.S.-based National Center on Education and the Economy (NCEE) is one of several case studies that examines international approaches to vocational education and training. The report provides context for China's recent economic growth as well as the development and expansion of the nation's system of education. In China, vocational education is provided through separate secondary schools and tertiary institutions, serving a total of 32 million students nationwide. However, the VET system in China has room for improvement, particular in regards to curriculum design, industry engagement, public perception, structural barriers and faculty experience. This report highlights promising examples from the country and provides recommendations for China to strengthen its national VET system. 

Other publications in this series profile VET systems in Singapore and Switzerland

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January 2015