Font Size: a A A

General Education Or Vocational Education

Posted on:2016-09-27Degree:DoctorType:Dissertation
Country:ChinaCandidate:J N WangFull Text:PDF
GTID:1107330479486237Subject:Population, resource and environmental economics
Abstract/Summary:PDF Full Text Request
Like other developing countries, China, as the largest developing country in the world, is increasing public financial investment and gradually popularizing high school education. In the meantime, in recent years China’s education has given preference to vocational education and the secondary vocational education expands faster than the general high school education accordingly. Besides, according to the present educational policy, the secondary vocational education will carry more weight.According to the Human Capital Theory, general education cultivates general human capital while vocational education trains special human capital. The former offers interdisciplinary, diversified and universal knowledge, while the latter offers required knowledge and skills for a certain profession. Therefore, compared with general education, vocational education, on one hand, enhances graduates’ compatibility with a particular occupation or post; on the other hand, it reduces their adaptability to different jobs and it is especially prominent in the upgrading process of technology and industry. Based on this, for the future, the economic transformation requires China to handle carefully the problem of how to choose the ways of developing high school education--whether we should continue to expand the secondary vocational education to improve the graduates’ employment and relieve the pressure brought about by the youth unemployment in the present labor markets, or give priority to the development of general high school education to promote the development of higher education and provide more reserve of general talents for economic transformation? In this paper, the author will answer this question through the research from the macro and micro perspectives.At macro level, taking advantage of the cross-panel data provided by the World Bank, this paper analyzes the relationship between the relative proportion of vocational education with general education at high school level among countries and their economic development levels. There is an inverted-U type correlation between them. At a certain stage of economic development, there is a positive correlation between the relative proportion of vocational education and per capita GDP, namely, the vocational education develops faster than general education; but at the higher stage of economic development, there is a negative correlation between the relative proportion of vocational education and per capita GDP, i.e. the general education is given the priority to develop. Moreover, in recent years, in many countries including some European countries whose vocational education developed better, the relative proportion of secondary vocational education experienced a downtrend. Since 2002, the secondary vocational education expands rapidly in China and its proportion in the entire high school education is continuously increasing. With respect to the middle-income stage of China, although the priority of developing vocational education conforms to the general trend of educational development in this phase, from the perspective of absolute value, its proportion of secondary vocational education has been far higher than the average level of other countries at the same stage of economic development, which means that China possibly overdeveloped vocational education. International experience shows that, in the era of knowledge-driven economy, with the faster emergence of new technologies, the policy which is excessively partial to vocational education will hinder the adoption of new technology and reduce the adaptability of labor employment transformation, thus blocking industrial structural transformation and slowing down the rate of economic growth.At micro level, this paper uses the third round of market survey in Chinese cities to make a comparison of the employment and income difference between migrant workers and city workers who received general education and vocational education at high schools and universities, and the variation trends in their whole career caused by this difference. By and large, university graduates perform better than high school graduates in the labor market; for high school graduates, those who received vocational education get higher rewards in the initial labor market than those who received general education; for university graduates, it is those who received general education that get greater return in the initial labor market. However, with the extension of employees’ career life, the differences in labor market outcomes brought about by two types of educational patterns will be gradually reduced or no longer apparent. That is to say, judging from the labor markets, the high school graduates who received vocational education enjoy more advantages in their early career life, and in later period, the reverse is true.At present, China is experiencing the critical period of economic transition. Its economic growth needs to shift towards innovation-driven period and its labor markets are confronted with the uncertainties resulting from industrial structural adjustment. Compared with vocational education, general education puts more emphasis on the teaching of general knowledge and the development of learning abilities, which is beneficial to cultivate employees who adapt and adjust in the sharp industrial structural changes and innovative employees in terms of science, design and management. Therefore, China’s high school education in the future should properly focus on general education, and gradually increase the relative proportion of general high school education; meanwhile, the vocational education should attach importance to the mode of intensive development and promote the general knowledge teaching.
Keywords/Search Tags:general education, vocational education, economic transition, economic growth, labor-market outcomes
PDF Full Text Request
Related items