The Dilemma of Vocational Education Behind the "Underworld" Type of Sleeping Check

  China News Weekly reporter/Du Wei

  Issued in the 1013th issue of China News Weekly on 2021.9.20

  "In the future, we will see the faces of the six of us clearly. We are here to check the bed... This is Zhang Meiyu, the Minister of Life and Women Workers..." When a video of the bed check from Heilongjiang Vocational College became popular on the Internet, he and Zhang Meiyu belonged to the school’s business administration. Liu Yang, a graduate of the college, is no stranger to this.

"Such rigorous bed-checking is available every year, and it was the same in the year I enrolled. The routine is exactly the same." Liu Yang said, "Our school is okay. In some colleges, there are really some bullies and gangsters. There is a reason to keep these people down."

  Heilongjiang Vocational College (referred to as "Long Vocational College") is the largest comprehensive higher vocational college in the province. It claims to be ranked in the top 50 among more than 1,200 higher vocational colleges in the country. Tsinghua".

The school has two campuses, one of which is located in the city center with many universities.

Across the street from Long Vocational College is Harbin Institute of Technology, Heilongjiang University, and Harbin Medical University. Four or five kilometers away is Harbin Institute of Technology, the highest ranked institution in Heilongjiang Province.

  However, the distance between China's vocational colleges and the quality of undergraduate talent training is not so close.

Vocational education itself is faced with the congenital shortage of students caused by the triage of high school and college entrance examinations.

Du Liansen, a lecturer in the School of Educational Science of Jiangsu Normal University, mentioned in a paper that vocational education has the characteristics of emphasizing management and neglecting skills, and it is assumed that such a management model is in line with the employment needs of production site skills degradation.

Du Liansen said that China's vocational education is more responsible for the function of survival education, and undergraduate education is regarded as a status education with more possibilities for class transition.

The transformation of China's vocational education requires not only the improvement of the internal quality of education, but also the upgrading of China's industry.

High school-style semi-militarized management:

Checking bed, running exercises, evening self-study

  After the video of Zhang Meiyu and others' sleep checking went viral, another audio recording of the male's sleep checking in the School of Engineering and Management of the school was exposed.

In the audio, the sophomore who was checking the bed screamed the freshman to get out of bed and stand up. After the senior introduced himself, he ordered the freshman to call "good senior."

Zhang Li studied mechanical manufacturing and automation in the School of Mechanical Engineering of Long Vocational College a few years ago.

  Zhang Li remembered that there was no class on the first day of enrollment. Seven people in the dormitory, including him, went to dinner outside. The only remaining classmate lived in the upper bunk and was called off from the bed nine times that night to greet him.

Such strict sleep checks are basically two weeks before the start of the freshman year.

The bed-checking of Zhang Meiyu and others in the video also took place during this period.

Zhang Li said that it is a school requirement to wear a uniform suit to check the bed, in order to convince the freshmen, that seniors are quite good.

  In the Long Vocational Academy, bed inspections are conducted at least once a day in the morning and evening. In addition to the college student union, the school student union will also check it.

The main purpose of checking the dormitory is to check whether the dormitory is clean and tidy, and whether the items are placed in compliance with the regulations.

Wang Xiaodian, who served as the assistant to the dean of the Long Vocational College and the Director of the Academic Affairs Office, and is now the vice dean of Heilongjiang Agricultural Engineering Vocational College, told China News Weekly that the more fundamental purpose of bed-checking is to educate and educate students. Develop a good habit of observing the rules.

Especially for graduates of higher vocational education, the first thing an enterprise employs is its basic qualities.

At the same time, this is also in line with the first line of vocational talent service production. Compared with R&D and innovation, more attention should be paid to the positioning of product specifications and standardized production.

  Every time they checked the bed, Zhang Li and his roommate had to stand by the bed and stand in two rows.

Make sure that the tables and chairs are neatly arranged, there should be no items on the table, no rubbish in the trash bag, and the quilt should be folded into tofu blocks.

In Liu Yang's view, such bed-checking is full of formalism.

  There are two ways to apply for Long Vocational College: the unified enrollment of the college entrance examination and the separate enrollment of the school.

In the past few years, Long Vocational College's admission score for college entrance examination in Heilongjiang has been between 220 and 280.

The single move is held two months before the college entrance examination. The school sets the questions independently and the examination is relatively simple.

When Zhang Li participated in a single move, the difficulty of the test questions was only equivalent to the one-month higher test level.

In the recent years of Long Vocational School, more than 60% of the new students come from single recruits in the province.

  Zhang Li's parents are self-employed merchants, so he went to this college to "don't stay at home" after the college entrance examination.

Like him, most of his classmates come from ordinary families.

According to the "2012 Annual Report on the Quality of Talent Cultivation of Higher Vocational Education in China" by Max Research Institute, nearly half of the graduates of higher vocational education from 2009 to 2011 came from poverty-stricken areas, western regions, and ethnic regions.

  From 2017 to 2018, Du Liansen conducted a survey in a five-year consistent vocational school in a certain city in the eastern part of the country, and replaced a language course for a CNC equipment and maintenance professional class.

Of the 29 students in the class, most of them were from worker families.

In a larger survey of the whole school, the parents of students are basically blue-collar workers.

Du Liansen said that with regard to the purpose of these parents applying to the school for their children, parents will publicly declare that they hope their children will have skills.

But when chatting in private, they will say that the most important thing for children to learn in school is not to have trouble.

After spending the past few years safely, I will come to the society to find a job.

  Many teachers from Long Vocational College admitted that if students are not strictly managed, it may be worse to get out of the school than when they entered school.

After graduation, a roommate of Liu Yang got into the "game" because of a fight.

A senior teacher of Long Vocational College sighed that to some extent, the school is sometimes like a big nursery, and it can only adopt a management model like a high school for students.

  Running morning exercises is another way to discipline students.

From Monday to Friday at 6 o'clock in the morning, the freshmen of Long Vocational College start running exercises.

You must wear department uniforms for running exercises. Each college has different styles and colors. When running exercises, you must also shout the slogan of your college.

Zhang Li said that running exercises are almost unimpeded throughout the year.

In winter, you also need to wear tie suits for running exercises. The tie suits are very large and can be worn outside of cotton or down jackets.

After running exercises, the Sports Department of the Student Union will also comment on running exercises.

If the weather is really bad, go to the classroom for morning class, but this is very rare and most of the situations have to be overcome.

Even in the morning class, "everybody basically doesn't do anything and sits in the classroom."

  After running and eating breakfast in the morning, the students have to go back to the dormitory to clean up and wait for a bed check.

Classes start at 8 o'clock, class ends around 5 o'clock in the afternoon, and evening self-study from 6 to 8 o'clock in the evening.

Except for special circumstances such as sickness, you cannot take time off for late self-study, but freshmen can spend 20 to 30 yuan to find sophomores to study on their behalf.

In class, you can also find someone to replace attendance and attend class.

The first thing to do before self-study in the evening is to hand in your mobile phone.

In Long Vocational College, blue mobile phone collection bags are hung on the wall on the side of the podium in many classrooms, with the words "learning to change destiny" on it.

After the evening self-study starts, the college student union and the school student union will check the number of attendees first, and then check the number of mobile phones handed in.

Unless some special events require watching a video, the mobile phone will send it out, and then put it back up after watching it.

  Liu Yang said that in school, the teacher did not leave any homework, and there were not many people doing the homework left.

Students can borrow books from the library or bring other materials to self-study in the evening, but most students can't read books either. Because they can't play with mobile phones or chat, students have to sit.

  Li Yan is a graduate of the school's engineering cost major.

During her schooling, she compared with her undergraduate students and found that in fact, undergraduate colleges are more free and vocational colleges are more strict. Running exercises, sleeping checks, and compulsory evening self-study are routine operations in vocational colleges.

"Except for learning not as hard as high school, many times it is the same as high school."

  In vocational colleges, the student union is an important force in the realization of student management.

Du Liansen said that one of the central tasks of vocational colleges is student management.

When the school focuses on managing students instead of education and scientific research, it will allow student cadres to perform certain management functions on behalf of teachers and be too harsh on other students.

Liu Yang said that the classmates in his class are more enthusiastic about participating in the college student union and class cadres than the school student union, because they can use this to build a good relationship with the college counselor in exchange for some benefits.

Diverted students and teachers

  In Long Vocational College, skipping classes will be severely punished. As long as they are absent a few times, they will be suspended. However, in class, students will not listen to the class well.

Sun Li is an English teacher in Long Vocational College.

In the classroom at 8 o'clock in the morning, she can always see students who are sleepy because of their early morning run lying down in the classroom.

  Zhang Li remembered that most of the school's courses were theory courses, and a few were practical courses.

For the former, such as advanced mathematics, practical English, and some professional theory courses such as processing technology, most students will not listen to it, and it feels useless.

  When Du Liansen taught the students of the five-year vocational college, many students lay directly on the chairs, and some students slept on the table. Less than one-third of the students listened carefully.

He talked with the students in his class, and the students said that ordinary high school students have good academic performance, which is helpful for college entrance examinations, and they study only to enter the factory after graduation.

Without predictable learning gains, there is no motivation to learn.

  Sun Li's biggest headache is facing a group of students who did not study well in junior and senior high schools.

She found that some freshmen had never even mastered the 26 letters and 48 phonetic symbols.

"College classrooms are like elementary schools, teaching students the same way they teach Chinese Pinyin." In the memory of many Long Vocational College students, English lessons learned four tenses that did not exceed the scope of high school teaching. The test fills in the missing letters. The word does not exceed four letters.

The language course final exam requires writing a note that can be completed by junior high school and even elementary school students.

  "Vocational education is in the middle part of the education system, and the quality of its front-end education is not determined by the vocational education itself." He Zhen, a professor at Beijing Normal University and director of the Institute of Vocational and Adult Education, told China News Weekly that most of the high-level vocational students come from Ordinary high school graduates, some come from secondary vocational graduates.

The source of secondary vocational students comes from the nine-year compulsory education, which means that the quality of the source of vocational education is determined by basic education.

"We should ask how basic education can deliver a higher quality and more balanced source of students."

  A senior teacher from Long Vocational College said that if you don't learn so many classes that affect the "life and death" of the college entrance examination in high school, you can love learning here?

"So we can only reduce the difficulty of teaching and examinations. Simple meetings will do. If these students are not allowed to graduate, the education authorities will not allow them. This is a contradiction."

  The source of students in vocational education is not without bright moments.

In the 1980s and 1990s, some junior high school graduates with excellent grades were also the source of students for secondary vocational education.

Under the unified enrollment and unified allocation model, these students can get better employment arrangements than current college students.

However, after the enrollment expansion of colleges and universities in 2000, the status of vocational education was not as good as before.

One of the predecessors of Long Vocational College was Heilongjiang Machinery Manufacturing School. Historically, this secondary vocational college trained a large number of machinery manufacturing talents for the heavy industry in the Northeast.

The reputation of Long Vocational Academy of "Northeast Tsinghua University" comes from this.

  Sun Cheng, director of the Institute of Vocational and Continuing Education of the Chinese Academy of Educational Sciences, analyzed that the distribution of students should be more humane in the future.

Diversion based on scores is just a simpler management method within the perspective of existing policy making, and there should be alternative methods in the future.

Like some developed countries, based on some basic test scores, students and schools can choose in both directions, not just passive selection based on scores, otherwise it will cause a great blow to students’ self-confidence.

  When Liu Yang applied for the college entrance examination, his parents were attracted by Long Vocational College's "school-enterprise cooperation", job security and semi-militarized management propaganda copywriting, so they reported to the school and chose logistics management. Prospect of professionalism.

From his sophomore year, Liu Yang began to take more professional courses.

His original idea was that, as a professional school student, through three years of study and grow into a professional in logistics management, he could draw a clear picture of the composition and operation of the entire logistics system in his mind, but his idea fell through.

If you ask him what logistics is now, his answer is to send express.

  The instructors come from both on-campus and off-campus companies, in order to break down the barriers between schools and enterprises and help students establish a front-line vision of production.

Liu Yang remembered that for a professional course on warehousing, the person in charge of the logistics department of a certain company was invited.

In class, the teacher either talked about the corporate culture or talked freely about his own contribution, so that he did not feel that he had any professional knowledge that he could acquire.

Regarding the content of the textbook, I followed the text, “What kind of cargo is placed in which cabin, and what is the packaging process. This is superficial and predictable knowledge.”

  When studying at school, he could not feel the technical content of the logistics industry.

The school has a simulated logistics warehouse covering an area of ​​more than 100 square meters.

In three years, he and his classmates used it three or four times, trying to drive a forklift inside, putting a box of simulated goods on the conveyor belt, and trying to seal the box with a tie.

Before and after the sophomore "Double 11", he and his classmates went to SF Express to deliver half a month of express delivery as their only on-site internship in the first two years.

  Since 2017, Long Vocational Academy has launched a modern apprenticeship class for machinery manufacturing and automation that cultivates talents for enterprises "order-based".

Zhou Yanchang, a teacher from the School of Mechanical Engineering of the school, mentioned in a summary of this project in 2020: The school teachers have relatively strong theory, but their practical ability is less than that of the first-line masters; and the enterprise masters have rich first-line operation experience, but they have language expression. Poor ability.

The number of teachers with strong theoretical and practical skills is too small to form a scale.

  Sun Cheng said that a major feature of China's vocational education is that it not only brings together students who have been diverted from the high school and college entrance examinations, but also has teachers who are blocked by undergraduate colleges and ordinary high schools.

Both teachers and students came to vocational colleges with a reluctant mood.

In China’s education system, there are very few specialized trainings for vocational teachers. Undergraduate colleges and vocational colleges have different requirements for teacher skills and literacy.

In Long Vocational College, quite a number of teachers go to work directly after completing their undergraduate or postgraduate studies in ordinary colleges and universities. They do not understand the actual situation of the industry and have no practical experience.

  Wang Xiaodian said that in fact, it is much more expensive to train a teacher with no practical experience to master first-line skills than to teach an enterprise staff how to teach.

In addition, in vocational colleges, there will be a lag in the movement of majors along with the industry.

  Vocational colleges still have a considerable proportion of staff outside the establishment, who do not enjoy financial allocations, and undergraduate colleges have sufficient faculty establishment, this problem does not exist.

In 2014, the average expenditure of undergraduate colleges and universities in China was 18,576 yuan in public financial budget, which was about 1.89 times that of higher vocational colleges; the average expenditure on public part of education in the public financial budget per student was 8,932 yuan, which is a higher vocational college. About 2.05 times.

There are also differences in the promotion channels of teachers in vocational colleges and ordinary institutions of higher learning.

In Heilongjiang, the proportion of teachers in vocational colleges evaluating senior titles is about 26%, and the proportion of undergraduate colleges is about 50%. These factors have caused a shortage of teachers in vocational colleges and their quality is not high.

Streamlined internship

Vocational education in urgent need of upgrading

  Long Vocational College implements the "2+1" training model, that is, students in the third academic year enter the company for internship.

Zhang Li remembered that after the end of the second semester of the sophomore year, the companies that came to recruit first sent the recruitment information to the counselors, and the counselors then sent the information to the students.

At that time, there were 20 or 30 companies for Zhang Li to choose his profession.

He selected a company in Hangzhou to manufacture heat dissipation components for new energy vehicles.

It looks good and the salary is quite high.

After the internship, he found out that he was "deceived". This is an electronics factory. His daily task is to weld circuit boards to solenoid valve coils.

  In the factory, daily work starts at 8 o'clock in the morning and ends at 8 o'clock in the evening. There are 40 minutes for lunch at noon and at night, and 10 minutes for rest in the morning and afternoon. The rest of the time is uninterrupted work.

Every day, he has to solder 1,500 circuit boards, and on average, he completes one in more than 20 seconds.

After soldering, he has to check it himself.

If the product is found to be unqualified, it must be picked out and labelled as a defective product to prevent the product from flowing down.

  The requirements of the production line are very strict.

The project Zhang Li participated in has three production lines, one production line has more than ten people, and each production line is equipped with a team leader.

Every time fifty or sixty circuit boards are soldered, he will show them to colleagues in the next link for inspection.

This inspection link will be more detailed. If a batch of defective products is found, the team leader will immediately stop the production line and check which link has the problem, first to see if the product can be remedied, and then a notice will be posted to criticize.

In the morning meeting the next day, the team leader would also sternly mention the matter.

If batches of defective products are found at the terminal, performance pay will be deducted at the end of the month.

Work overtime every weekend, and the working hours are the same as usual.

  Although the company's internship remuneration is not bad, Zhang Li can get six to seven thousand yuan every month, including overtime.

But this kind of work still makes him feel boring, and he can hardly use what he learns in school.

At the beginning, he would check for ten seconds every time a circuit board was soldered. After about a month, he had already developed the ability to distinguish good or bad soldering with his ears.

"If the sound is not so smooth during the welding process, and there is a harsh sound, the welding may be broken."

  The internship contract signed by Zhang Li and the auto parts company is one year, and he can stay and work there after the internship.

"The factory is also short of people. I'm afraid we will leave, but staying there is cheap labor."

But after half a year of internship according to school regulations, Zhang Li and his classmates left the company one after another.

  In Du Liansen's class, only 5 of the 29 students in the class worked on the front line of the factory after graduation, accounting for 20%. The rest of the students joined the catering services, express delivery, intermediary, and automobile sales industries.

There are two to three hundred engineering graduates in the whole year, and this proportion is probably the same when working in factories after graduation.

  Many Long Vocational College teachers said that the country's position in the training of higher vocational talents is front-line skilled workers, and positions that require more brainpower and intelligence, such as design, research and development, require a bachelor's degree or above.

The reluctance of vocational college students to engage in manufacturing has also triggered discussions on the hollowing out of manufacturing.

  Du Liansen believes that in the long run, the national industrial chain must gradually shift to the high-end, so that some workers can take up some high-skilled jobs, so that they have hope and can take root in the manufacturing industry.

But even if the industry is upgraded, it is impossible for a country as large as China to fully transition to high-end manufacturing in a short period of time.

In the future, there will be some low-skilled jobs, and the state must have some protective measures to ensure the income of these people.

At the same time, another trend is that with the replacement of machines, part of the labor force will overflow from the manufacturing industry to the service industry. In the long run, this trend is inevitable, and there will be fewer and fewer people dedicated to the manufacturing industry.

In general, as far as the current status of vocational education is concerned, industrial upgrading will also force educational reforms in the field of vocational education.

  Germany's "dual system" vocational education has a long-standing reputation.

Wang Xiaodian visited Germany last year and found that, unlike China's vocational education, which is led by the education sector, industry associations play an important role as a bridge in the training of vocational education talents in Germany.

Industry associations formulate talent training standards for vocational education and distribute them to enterprises and schools.

Enterprises and schools will then decide on specific training plans separately.

During the whole training cycle, students will have a certain time each week to study in school, and the rest of the time to go to the company for internship.

Upon graduation, the education department will organize the students' final exams, and at the same time, students will also have to take the exams of the industry associations to obtain qualification certificates for their professional skills.

In the context of a tight supply of talents, German SME owners treat their apprentices very well, give them generous remuneration, and will try their best to teach their skills in order to retain talents.

In Germany and Japan, there is still a heritage of craftsmanship.

In China, to revitalize the enthusiasm of enterprises to cultivate talents, preferential policies should be given to taxation and other aspects.

  He Zhen believes that in order to improve the quality of China's vocational education, in addition to improving the internal quality of vocational education, it is also necessary to broaden and complete the career advancement of frontline workers.

"The proportion of highly skilled talents in China is one-fifth that of developed countries. This shows that many blue-collar workers cannot rise to high-skilled technical levels and are not recognized by the society." The wage gap between blue-collar and white-collar workers in developed countries is basically very small. Compared with the front-line labor, the wages of the domestic management are too different.

  Du Liansen mentioned in an essay that when the status of the industrial worker class is high, vocational education will be an attractive choice, which can retain the superior class of society, and vice versa, it will become a helpless choice for the disadvantaged class of society.

Vocational education should go beyond the logic of "survival education" and move towards "development education" to promote the disadvantaged class of society to become part of the middle class.

  (Zhang Li, Liu Yang, Li Yan, and Sun Li are pseudonyms, intern Tian Ran also contributed to this article)

China News Weekly, Issue 35, 2021

Statement: The publication of the "China News Weekly" manuscript is authorized in writing