China will work to ensure those entering its labor force receive an average of 13.3 years of education by 2015, Chinese Vice Minister of Education Du Yubo said recently.
If this target is hit, the majority of those entering the labor force over the next five years will have to obtain a college degree. China’s primary and secondary education each take six years to complete.
China will strive to increase its gross enrollment ratio (GER) in the higher learning sector from 26.5 percent in 2010 to 36 percent by 2015, Du told a press conference.
The GER is a statistical measure indicating the level of education received by people in a given area. It is calculated by showing the number of students enrolled as a percentage of the official school age population across three levels of education, including primary, secondary and tertiary.
Chinese colleges turn out millions of graduates each year, and many find it hard to find a job as they face fierce competition from their peers and are not willing to lower their expectations.
The Ministry of Education said in July last year that about 1.76 million graduates in China were unemployed, accounting for 27.8 percent of the nation’s college students who graduated at the end of last June.
In addition to turning attention to higher learning, China will seek “new breakthroughs” to ensure a more equitable educational system in the next five years, according to Du.
He promised to optimize educational resources in a bid to make sure rural and less-developed regions receive more support as well as to expand coverage and raise standards of educational subsidies.
The official also pledged to improve students’ nutrition in less developed areas and to ensure that children of migrant workers have equal access to education in cities.