Meeting Held on the Proposal of the Philosophy and Social Sciences Key Project of the Ministry of Education
On May 24, 2011, a meeting was held to consider the proposal, "Research on the Issues of Vocational Education and the Social Integration of New-Generation Migrant Workers and Urbanization," a philosophy and social sciences key project of the Ministry of Education. Participants included such leaders and experts as Yan Junqi, NPC Vice Chairman, Central Chairman of the Democratic Progressive Party, and Director of the China Education Policy Institute at BNU; Liu Chuansheng, Secretary of the University Party Committee, and Director General of the China Education Policy Institute; Dong Qi, the standing vice-president of BNU; Yang Guang, Director of the Social Sciences Division of the Ministry of Education; and Adjunct Professor Zhang Zhiyong, the Deputy Director of the Education Department of Shandong Province and a member of the Expert Committee of the China Education Policy Institute; as well as leading representatives of the Social Sciences Division of the Ministry of Education, the Faculty of Education, the Social Sciences Department, and the Chinese Education Policy Institute of BNU, among others. The meeting was chaired by BNU standing vice-president Dong Qi.
Secretary Liu spoke of the new-generation migrant workers as a new generation growing up in the environment of the reform and the opening up, and he said this group has become a major force among rural migrant workers and that it is playing an increasingly important role in China’s economic and social development. While new-generation migrant workers add fresh blood to the labor force in China, he said they also create challenges in terms of social development and new issues regarding innovation in social management. In fact, the social integration of new-generation migrant workers has been the most important issue among all the issues involving new-generation migrant workers. Vocational education, as an important means of human capital investment, is an important means for improving the quality of the new-generation migrant workers and for addressing the issue of their integration into society. In order to enhance the level of education of the new-generation migrant worker, he said it is necessary to accelerate the construction of urban and rural lifelong educational systems for migrant workers, launch systematic, open, and comprehensive lifelong education for the new generation, enhance their employability, and expedite the transformationof the new generation from migrant worker to industrial worker and citizen. Secretary Liu said that Beijing Normal University will create the conditions necessary to support the development and further promotion of this project, and he said he hopes that the research group, under the leadership of NPC Vice Chairman Yan Junqi, can maintain a scientific outlook on development, establish a clear awareness of the problems, be forward-thinking, set up an interdisciplinary and open research platform, work as a team at all times, combine theoretical discussion with empirical research, conduct its research from national strategic perspectives, produce landmark research results of both great theoretical and practical significance, and provide the basis for scientific decision-making by both the Party and the Government.
On behalf of the research group, Professor Chu Hongqi reported on the topics being addressed, research ideas, content framework, and research methods.
The expert evaluation team leaders, including Professor Li Shi, Professor Yuan Guilin, Professor Yu Qiding, Professor Zhang Zhiyong, and Professor Ji Li, reviewed topic design and study. The group said they consider the social integration of new-generation migrant workers to be a hot issue in light of China's industrialization and urbanization process as well as an important issue forcurrent educational reform and development.
The opening report reflected well the organic combination of cross-disciplinary research, theoretical research, and policy studies. The study is said to be in line with the rational and scientific approach and in line with the study goals and was described as having important academic value, a policy reference role, and social significance.
Director Yang Guang spoke of the significance of the research and said he hoped that the research group can introduce good practices from abroad while also taking into account national conditions, so as to form a systematic policy strategy to address practical and long-term problems. He said that the Social Sciences Division of the Ministry of Education will provide support for the research projects as well as the construction of a think tank at the China Education Policy Institute. Director Yan Junqi saidthat the project is tackling a social issue of growing concern that is emerging in the new stage of China's modernization, industrialization, and urbanization, which is related in turn to changes in industrial structure, the upgrading of industry, social harmony and stability, and the identification of core values -- an integral part of China's development model and of extremely important strategic and political significance. She pointed out that new-generation migrant workers, as compared with the first generation of migrant workers, are able to float easily and there is a reality gap for them, so the issue of their social integration is extremely urgent. Research projects should therefore be based on national conditions and the overall situation, focus on strategy and policy, and take into account both qualitative and quantitative analysis, so as to achieve a combination of a large sample survey with special case analysis. She said it is important to learn from foreign experience while focusing on China’s issues, not only from a theoretical perspective but also in terms of realistic policy recommendations. As for the research organization, she said it should be based on the principles of innovation, flexibility,and pragmatism, should not limit subject and manner of exploration, should carry out interdisciplinary cooperation by teaming scholars with hands-on people; and should establish a database to share research data and information. She said she hoped that the outcome of the proposed research will help resolve the problems of the vocational education and social integration of new-generation migrant workers as China urbanizes and that it will beconducive to top-level design and overall education planning. Finally, she said she also hopes that the think tank of the China Education Policy Institute can play a significant role in the development of China’s education reform.
(China Education Policy Institute)