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Hurdles to graduate employment lowered

Xu Wei
Updated: Jul 01,2020 08:57 AM    China Daily

College students majoring in clinical medicine will be able to work as village doctors upon graduation and veterinary medicine graduates will be able to work as rural veterinarians under measures introduced by the State Council to reduce the barriers they face in finding jobs.

At its executive meeting on June 24, the Cabinet approved a pilot reform in 16 provincial-level areas that will allow graduates majoring in clinical medicine with experience in clinical practice to apply for the professional qualification required to become a village doctor without having to take exams.

In explaining the decision, the Cabinet said finding jobs for college graduates will be an arduous task this year, and more reforms are needed to break down barriers faced by job seekers and expand the employment channels available to them.

The measure will also help meet the huge demand in rural areas by reinvigorating the village doctor system, and the demand for vets to contribute to the development of the livestock sector and animal disease control in rural areas, the Cabinet said.

The meeting also decided to push forward revisions to laws and regulations so that students majoring in veterinary medicine can sit professional qualification exams while in college so they are qualified vets upon graduation.

Vets who graduate from polytechnic schools or higher education institutions will no longer need approval to practice in rural areas after they file their academic records with the authorities, the Cabinet said.

Premier Li Keqiang said at the meeting that China's shortage of talent in clinical and veterinary medicine was compounded by the fact that many college graduates who have received professional training are forced to spend a large amount of time preparing for qualification exams.

"We must remove such unreasonable barriers to job entry and resort to all measures at our disposal to help with the employment of college graduates," he said.

Premier Li emphasized that pre-job training must be offered to newly employed village doctors and veterinarians, and the government must step up its oversight and roll out incentives such as subsidies.

"All government department must come up with more ways to create jobs with a greater sense of urgency. The various kinds of job qualifications must be further streamlined through reform," he said, adding that the government will bolster compliance oversight and services to expand employment channels for college graduates.

China's college graduates are having a more difficult time finding jobs amid the economic slowdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

National Bureau of Statistics spokesman Fu Linghui said early last month that the unemployment rate among college graduates has risen, with a record 8.74 million fresh graduates this year. Under the impact of the pandemic, the nation created 1.37 million fewer jobs in the first five months of this year than in the same period last year.

He warned that the jobless rate could become even higher in the coming months as more college graduates enter the job market.

Wang Ting, a professor who has conducted research on youth employment at the China University of Political Science and Law, said the Cabinet's decision to remove barriers to job entry will significantly shorten the time required for college graduates to find jobs and reduce the cost.

"Many qualification exams are intended to set up a bar so that applicants can meet the requirements for certain jobs," he said. "However, they also pose obstacles for college graduates to find jobs."

Wang said practical experience is the most important factor in determining competency in many professions, and that excelling in a qualification exam is no guarantee of proficiency.

Lowering barriers to entry for many professions will also guide college students to focus more on gaining practical experience, which will help them in their future job hunting, he said.

With the mounting pressure faced by college graduates this year, Wang said colleges and education authorities should take measures to help alleviate the mental pressure on students in addition to taking steps to help them find jobs.

China's rural doctor shortage worsened last year, with 792,000 village doctors around the country, down by 53,000 or 6.3 percent compared with the previous year, according to a report released by the National Health Commission.

The number of rural clinics was down by 6,000 last year, the report said.
Li Qiu, a deputy to the National People's Congress and dean of the Children's Hospital of Chongqing Medical University, said in a suggestion to this year's NPC session that the public health system in rural areas is vulnerable because the number of village doctors is far from adequate and their professional ability is far from satisfactory.

The subsidies offered by the government to rural doctors were also insufficient and the government must bolster their income to prevent the loss of talent, she said.

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