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China, People's Republic of: Policy Analysis and Assessment of Reforming Education Mode for Promoting Employment of Graduates in Applied Tertiary Institutions

Sovereign (Public) Project | 49017-001 Status: Closed

The TA aims to support the PRC Government's efforts to improve policies and programs for addressing youth and graduate unemployment. The TA will contribute to the government's long-term goal of building a harmonious and prosperous society through education policies that can enhance and maintain employment of new graduates, and is in line with recent policy directives including the State Council's reforms for education. It is directly linked to the CPS of the PRC, 2011 2015, which emphasizes inclusive growth and balanced development. The TA supplements the ongoing and lending program, as well as the TA program in the area of education, and TVET, as it will provide additional knowledge to support policy guidance, tracking and evaluation, and development for expanding skills and employability among Chinese tertiary graduates.

Project Details

Project Officer
Maruyama, Asako East Asia Department Request for information
Country
  • China, People's Republic of
Modality
  • Technical Assistance
Sector
  • Multisector
 
Project Name Policy Analysis and Assessment of Reforming Education Mode for Promoting Employment of Graduates in Applied Tertiary Institutions
Project Number 49017-001
Country China, People's Republic of
Project Status Closed
Project Type / Modality of Assistance Technical Assistance
Source of Funding / Amount
TA 8938-PRC: Policy Analysis and Assessment of Reforming Education Mode for Promoting Employment of Graduates in Applied Tertiary Institutions
Technical Assistance Special Fund US$ 400,000.00
Strategic Agendas Inclusive economic growth
Drivers of Change Gender Equity and Mainstreaming
Governance and capacity development
Knowledge solutions
Sector / Subsector

Multisector / ADB's corporate management, policy and strategy development

Gender Equity and Mainstreaming Effective gender mainstreaming
Description

The TA aims to support the PRC Government's efforts to improve policies and programs for addressing youth and graduate unemployment. The TA will contribute to the government's long-term goal of building a harmonious and prosperous society through education policies that can enhance and maintain employment of new graduates, and is in line with recent policy directives including the State Council's reforms for education. It is directly linked to the CPS of the PRC, 2011 2015, which emphasizes inclusive growth and balanced development. The TA supplements the ongoing and lending program, as well as the TA program in the area of education, and TVET, as it will provide additional knowledge to support policy guidance, tracking and evaluation, and development for expanding skills and employability among Chinese tertiary graduates.

An ongoing TA (Policies for Promoting Employment of University Graduates) is evaluating the scope of the graduate unemployment problem and assessing how employment promotion policies have worked. This TA aims to identify policy recommendations for expanding graduate employment opportunities and for strengthening the enabling environment for graduate self-employment; and provide policy recommendations for improving university education and the role of universities to promote graduate employability. The proposed TA will complement and build on the findings of the former, embracing a cluster approach for ADB's TA program for the PRC. This TA will address institutional reform, with the aim of enhancing labor market relevance, and will support the transition of selected local HEIs into applied colleges. It will yield a summary report with recommendations for the government to rollout the transition on a broader scale. The TA will also contribute, through workshops, to the development of HEI networks in the PRC, which will help spread know-how and good practices. By bringing together policy makers, practitioners, and academics, it will further strengthen and enrich the pool of expertise on tertiary education.

Project Rationale and Linkage to Country/Regional Strategy

The number of university graduates in the People's Republic of China (PRC) has dramatically increased, from 2.12 million in 2003 to 7.49 million in 2015, as a result of both demographic trends and the government's decision in 1999 to expand tertiary education to stimulate the economy. Yet, as the PRC's economic growth is now slowing, and its sectoral composition transforming to a service oriented economy driven by domestic consumption, concerns are emerging about job creation being too weak to fully keep pace with the rising numbers of graduates. The unemployment rate for recent college graduates aged 21 25 is 16%, nearly four times that of blue-collar workers in urban areas, and masks significant bias in rural and female student recruitment. In addition, as the economy transitions to higher levels of economic development widening skills gaps are also preoccupying policy makers. Many university graduates find themselves underemployed several months after gaining employment and employers are expressing their inability to find employees with relevant and appropriate skills.

National priorities for the education sector were recently reiterated during the National People's Congress held in March 2015. Two key priorities for higher education have emerged. The first is to improve policies aimed at stimulating employment, and supporting self-employment and entrepreneurship amongst college and university graduates. The government has already been implementing a range of policies to this end, such as (i) providing employment opportunities in grassroots communities, (ii) encouraging small and medium-sized enterprises and nonpublic enterprises to employ college graduates, (iii) encouraging key state-owned enterprises and research projects to recruit college graduates, (iv) encouraging college graduates to start their own business, (v) improving or reforming employment services available to college graduates, (vi) enhancing employability, and (vii) assisting disadvantaged college graduates in job placement. Self-employment and entrepreneurship are receiving increasing attention as a means of promoting employment and fostering innovation.

The second priority is to reform higher education institutions (HEIs), so they are better able to contribute to these policies and respond to current, as well as future economic and social needs. Specific emphasis is put on local HEIs (particularly lower tier universities) to improve education quality and relevance, particularly to strengthen local economies and rural-urban transitions. Developing and retaining talent in the provinces is part of the country's education sector policy, an important feature of which is the strengthening of applied HEIs. Under this approach, a number of local HEIs are being encouraged to transform into applied colleges or polytechnics. The objective is to promote education opportunities that better prepare students for gainful employment. Although the policy has been set, the modalities of its implementation have yet to be established, as reforming existing HEIs is a complex undertaking which the Ministry of Education (MOE) intends to first pilot.

The reform is also expected to contribute to a shift in students' attitudes regarding higher education and employment. They currently favor university education over tertiary technical and vocational education training (TVET). It is hoped that by bringing these two forms of higher education closer, through applied colleges or polytechnics, tertiary TVET will become more attractive to students. In turn this could help them adjust employment expectations to current labor market realities.

The proposed technical assistance (TA) is a timely response to the government's current priorities. It will focus on the institutional reform of HEIs and support the transition of selected HEIs to applied colleges. By strengthening provincial HEIs, it will encourage graduate employment in local urban and rural areas, and in lagging central and western regions. The TA will also facilitate dialogue between stakeholders, particularly between colleges, employers, graduates and policy makers at the local level. The TA is intended to provide guidance on the deployment of the applied college concept in the PRC and showcase successful examples.

Impact

Employment-ready college graduates increased (National Outline for Medium and Long-term Education Reform and Development, 2010 -2020*)

Students' attitudes regarding higher education and employment shifted (National Outline for Medium and Long-term Education Reform and Development, 2010 -2020*)

Project Outcome
Description of Outcome Higher education institutions' transformation to applied colleges successfully planned
Progress Toward Outcome To be reviewed in November 2018.
Implementation Progress
Description of Project Outputs

1. Local HEIs mapped

2. Selected HEIs and their capacity to implement the transition toward a polytechnic model assessed

3. Recommendations to guide the phased strategy of the MOE and provincial governments to implement the transition toward applied colleges provided

Status of Implementation Progress (Outputs, Activities, and Issues)

The TA consulting firm was mobilized in October 2016. Together with the Ministry of Education, higher education institutions (HEIs) in the PRC were classified into four categories. 12 HEIs were eventually selected for in-depth case studies - three universities/colleges (one in the eastern region, one in the central region, and one in the western region) from each HEI category.

The TA consulting firm collected data, information, and materials from 12 selected HEIs in April-May 2017 and develop case studies. In particular, 12 selected HEIs' cases of reforming modes of education were examined from 7 dimensions, along with their practices of innovation and entrepreneurship education and employment services in October-November 2017.

As of the end of September 2018, a synthetic analysis of the 12 case studies is being finalized. Based on the analysis, draft recommendations for further reforming modes of education in four categories of HEIs are also being prepared.

Geographical Location Nation-wide
Summary of Environmental and Social Aspects
Environmental Aspects
Involuntary Resettlement
Indigenous Peoples
Stakeholder Communication, Participation, and Consultation
During Project Design Discussions were held with relevant stakeholders on the TA objective, activities, cost and financing plan, and implementation arrangements.
During Project Implementation Case study HEIs as well as other HEIs, higher education research institutes, and other stakeholders have been invited to review workshops where findings of the TA activities were presented and discussed.
Business Opportunities
Consulting Services The consultants will be selected based on their academic qualification and relevant work experience. The consultants under the TA will be selected in accordance with ADB's Guidelines on the Use of Consultants (2013, as amended from time to time). The terms of reference (Appendix 3) outline their tasks. All procurement under the TA will be carried out in accordance with ADB's Procurement Guidelines (2015, as amended from time to time). Proceeds of the TA will be disbursed in accordance with ADB's Technical Assistance Disbursement Handbook (2010, as amended from time to time).
Responsible ADB Officer Maruyama, Asako
Responsible ADB Department East Asia Department
Responsible ADB Division Urban and Social Sectors Division, EARD
Executing Agencies
Ministry of Education
37 Damucang Huton, Xidan
Beijing 100816
People's Republic of China
Timetable
Concept Clearance 04 Jun 2015
Fact Finding -
MRM -
Approval 10 Aug 2015
Last Review Mission -
Last PDS Update 21 Sep 2018

TA 8938-PRC

Milestones
Approval Signing Date Effectivity Date Closing
Original Revised Actual
10 Aug 2015 01 Sep 2015 01 Sep 2015 31 Mar 2017 30 Nov 2018 -
Financing Plan/TA Utilization Cumulative Disbursements
ADB Cofinancing Counterpart Total Date Amount
Gov Beneficiaries Project Sponsor Others
400,000.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 400,000.00 10 Aug 2015 352,467.28

Project Data Sheets (PDS) contain summary information on the project or program. Because the PDS is a work in progress, some information may not be included in its initial version but will be added as it becomes available. Information about proposed projects is tentative and indicative.

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Safeguard Documents See also: Safeguards

Safeguard documents provided at the time of project/facility approval may also be found in the list of linked documents provided with the Report and Recommendation of the President.

None currently available.

Evaluation Documents See also: Independent Evaluation

None currently available.

Related Publications

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Contracts Awarded

Contract Title Approval Number Contract Date Contractor Contractor Address Executing Agency Contract Description Total Contract Amount (US$) Contract Amount Financed by ADB (US$)
Policy and Advisory Technical Assistance 8938 11 Oct 2016 Fujian Normal University (China, People's Republic of) No. 1 Keji Rd., University Town 350117 Fuzhou, Fujian, China Ministry of Education 358,016.00

Procurement Plan

None currently available.