Creating more college places will ease unemployment, says expert

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 13 May, 1999, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 13 May, 1999, 12:00am

Increasing the number of places in universities and training schools will ease unemployment, according to a government economist.

Yang Yiyong, of the State Development Planning Commission, said increased enrolments would hold down the number of 16 to 25-year-olds looking for work and boost the economy.

There are plans to increase university numbers by an annual average of 20 per cent, starting this year. At present, less than 10 per cent of young people attend university.

It is estimated that, in three years, 3.8 million people will have postponed joining the already strained workforce by going into higher education.

An extra 2.1 million teenagers will enrol at high school during the same period if a planned annual increase of 10 per cent is met.

The rise would prevent job cuts in schools and colleges, Mr Yang wrote in Economic Information Daily.

He said between four and five million unemployed people would find jobs as a result.

The college entrance examination is being reformed by the Ministry of Education. Only one in five of the 3.2 million students currently taking the exams will pass.

The ministry is also reforming entrance exams for high school students to prevent abuses. Language exams would be restructured first, putting more emphasis on communication skills, Xinhua reported.

Some parents of primary school children have complained of too many mock exams and training programmes being set for students, saying some were just for teachers to earn more money.

The ministry wants all schools to follow a more standardised programme in designing the curriculum and exams and to stop running unnecessary mock tests.

Mainland children get a nine-year compulsory free education and must then fight for limited places in high schools before they can enter university.