New business: building ‘education factories’

Cities all over China are building ‘education factories’ designed to train hundreds of thousands of students. The large school parks are built as part of the drive to move China's economy away from its investment-led past toward a more innovative, high-tech future.

Reuters reports that the ‘education factories’ are meant to help increase the number of skilled workers. According to studies, just 24 per cent of China's workforce had attended at least some upper secondary school in 2010, compared with an OECD average of 74 per cent.

State subsidies have sparked numerous ‘education factory’ projects. Lanzhou, capital of central Gansu province, is to attract 30 schools and 150,000 students to its vocational school park opening in 2017. Ganzhou, in Jiangxi province, will build a vocational school district which hopes to have at least 10 vocational schools and more than 100,000 students when it opens in 2018. Yunnan, Shandong and Hunan provinces all have vocational school parks. In Guiyang, the capital of Guizhou province, Qingzhen Vocational Education City, will have capacity for 35 schools and 300,000 students. At the Guizhou Machinery Industry School, enrolment is expected to increase from about 7,000 students this year to 10,000 next year.

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