Vocational workers deserve respect, better pay

2021-08-02 13:39

 Zhao Zhihao from Beijing Polytechnic, the biggest vocational school in the Chinese capital, is learning basic lathe and turning work at the institute. Wang Zhuangfei / For China Daily

FOR THE FIRST TIME, 20 farmers have been admitted to Yangling Vocational and Technical College in Northwest China's Shaanxi province to receive full-time education over the next three years. China Youth Daily commented on Wednesday:

Yangling Vocational and Technical College should be praised for enrolling the farmers for professional training and further education. But as a vocational college, it was designed to do so in the first place. After all, its mission is to recruit technical and agricultural talents, and offer training courses to workers and farmers.

It took so long to fulfill its responsibility, to some extent, because of the underrated role and poor quality of vocational education in the country. Indeed, most teenagers prefer to enroll in universities to seek higher education rather than the vocational colleges.

White-collar workers seem to get all the respect and high salaries while blue-collar workers, including farmers and construction workers, remain underpaid. No wonder college graduates, even those from agricultural universities, are more eager to start their careers in office buildings rather than the field.

But things are quite different in countries like Australia, where one has to have certain qualifications to become a technical worker or professional farmer, which ensures that blue-collar workers get the respect and salaries they deserve-sometimes their incomes are higher than white-collar workers.

Of course, market forces have enabled some housekeepers and babysitters in China, especially in big cities like Beijing and Shanghai, to earn more than they used to. Also, the number of college graduates who choose to work as street vendors or farmers has been rising. But more should be done to encourage young job seekers to find the job that suits them best rather than running after some seemingly glamorous professions.