THE Chinese Communist Party's training ground for senior cadres is shifting the focus of its curricular from political ideology to improving management skills and economic knowledge. The vice-president of the Central Party School, economist Mr Su Xing, said the management capabilities of high-ranking officials in a market economy have a direct bearing on the success of economic reforms. According to Mr Su, since the second half of 1992, studies on a socialist market economy have become the main content of his school's teaching programme. New courses covering finance, real estate and securities are in the pipeline. To develop a market economy, Mr Su said it was important to have a real understanding of rules governing economic operation and the law of value. ''At present, many cadres appear to be enthusiastic about the market economy, but in fact they are not clear what a market economy is. They are still carrying out their work in response to central orders,'' Mr Su, who was attending the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, told the New China News Agency yesterday. The school has invited 15 economists and senior officials to study ways to establish a socialist market economy. It has also conducted its own investigations and studies on the development of a market economy and many trainees have written field reports after carrying out investigations in grassroots units. Chinese sources said under the influence of its president, Mr Qiao Shi, who is also a politburo member, the orientation of the party school has become much more liberal than before. Mr Qiao, however, is tipped to retire from the post upon becoming NPC chairman next week.