China is drawing up a 12-year education plan to improve rural and vocational training as it seeks to keep economic growth steady amid the global credit crunch, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao (溫家寶) said.
Under the plan for this year to 2020, the government will increase funding for scholarships from the 20 billion yuan (US$2.9 billion) given out last year, Wen said in a statement, without giving details.
China will also offer free rural vocational training, he said.
China is emphasizing vocational training to ensure migrant workers who have lost their jobs in cities have access to practical-skills training when they return home. Companies are cutting jobs as the economy cools and as many as 20 million migrants may return to rural areas this year, economists have estimated.
“Education will take a prominent position as we seek to mitigate the impact of the global financial crisis on our economy,” Wen said on the central government’s Web site yesterday. “Education has become the cornerstone in national development.”
The government will increase funding for renovating primary and secondary schools in rural areas, Wen said. China spent 26.8 billion yuan renovating those schools in 2007 and last year, he said.
Demand for Chinese products is declining rapidly as world economic conditions worsen, Wen said.