World Bank Advises Xinjiang on Technical and Vocational Education

July 18, 2013

BEIJING, July 18, 2013 -  Building a relevant and quality technical and vocation education sector through strengthened coordination and governance, public school management and involvement of private institutions can help narrow the gap in skilled labor supply and industrial demand, contributing to economic development in Xinjiang, says a World Bank report.

At the request of the Government of the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region and using a diagnostic tool developed under the World Bank’s initiative on Systems Approach for Better Education Results, the report Technical Vocational Education and Training in Xinjiang assesses the status of the technical and vocational education sector, analyzes its strengths and weaknesses, and proposes recommendations for enhancing the technical and vocational education system in the autonomous region. 

Focused on three dimensions including strategic framework, system oversight and service delivery, the study finds that Xinjiang’s technical and vocational education system as a whole locates at the “established” level. In the past decade, the sector has expanded rapidly in Xinjiang, with total enrollment in secondary vocational schools increasing from 160,000 in 2001 to 261,600 in 2010 and enrollment in the tertiary vocational schools increasing to 111,800. However, technical and vocational education remains weak in terms of both size and quality compared with general education. And the mismatch between labor supply and demand for provision of higher workforce skills has constrained economic development in Xinjiang.

To further strengthen the technical and vocational education system to meet the growing demand for skilled labor, the report proposes the following short and medium to long-term policy recommendations:

  • In the short term, provision of technical and vocational education and training should be expanded through strengthened coordination and governance, improved and more efficient public schools management, and more engaged and closely supervised private institutes. Skills supply should increase relevance through closer linkages with industry and research institutes.
  • In the medium to long-term, the technical and vocational education system in Xinjiang needs to improve quality through enhanced governance, monitoring and evaluation, as well as improved connections with basic education. Efforts also should be made to help some technical and vocational schools and programs to gain national recognition, and establish an accreditation system.

“Investing in the transformation of technical and vocational education and training in Xinjiang will clear the bottleneck in the education system and improve the quality of human capital in Xinjiang, which will in turn contribute to the achievement of Xinjiang’s economic and social development goals,” said Liping Xiao, a World Bank Senior Education Specialist and a co-author of the paper. Based on the recommendations of the report, the World Bank is working with Xinjiang to prepare a new technical and vocational education and training project.

The World Bank has also published a report titled Building Skills for Economic Transformation and Social Harmony in Yunnan China. The report places technical and vocational education in the broader context of skills development and provides in-depth analysis of the non-formal education and training as well as work-based training in addition to the formal education and training system.  The report conducted a household survey of skills supply and an enterprise survey to understand the demand of skills in the province using innovative instruments developed by the World Bank.  In addition to technical assistance, the World Bank has lent a total of $110 million to Guangdong, Liaoning, Shandong, and Yunnan provinces to help improve the quality and relevance of technical and vocational education and training in about 20 secondary and tertiary institutions. 

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