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Premier calls for market-oriented occupational skills evaluation

Updated: Dec 31,2019 09:40 PM

As reforms advance to streamline administration, delegate powers and improve regulation and services, China should let market evaluate skilled personnel, whose performance has until now been assessed by the government, Premier Li Keqiang stressed at the State Council executive meeting on Dec 30.

The meeting decided to gradually cancel government-certified occupational qualifications for skilled personnel.

The Premier called the move a revolution that would drive the transformation of government functions and help create a market-oriented mechanism for cultivating and selecting such personnel, which will not only clear the way for the development of skillful talent and craftsmanship, but also boost industrial upgrading and high-quality development.

China is in desperate need of skilled personnel, especially highly skilled ones. However, an excessive number of administrative approvals required to certify each skilled person prevent them from standing out, the Premier said.

In global manufacturing powers, the prevailing trend is that skills of senior technicians are evaluated by the market, rather than administrative departments, he noted.

Premier Li recalled one visit to a manufacturing enterprise, where he found that some outstanding craftsmen, even without qualification certificate, are offered an annual salary four times that of their general manager, only because of their market-recognized skills.

The Premier urged related government departments to push forward the occupational qualification evaluation reform, by eliminating unnecessary administrative procedures, to bolster efforts in nurturing highly skilled personnel.

In the short run, the Premier said, this relates to quality improvement and upgrading of the manufacturing and service industries. From a long-term perspective, its success will give a boost to China’s long-term development and its future competitiveness.

According to decisions made at the meeting, starting January 2020 and through one year, the reform aims to gradually remove all government-certified qualifications for skilled personnel, except seven special occupations closely related to public security and health, from the catalogue of national professional qualifications. No certificate from the government or its authorized units will be needed. Existing certificates, though, will remain valid.

Efforts will be made to promote the occupational qualification ranking system, and establish national profession standards or evaluation rules. Related social organizations or employers will carry out evaluations and issue certificates in line with those standards or rules.

The Premier also asked for a shift in functions of current qualification evaluation authorities, and strengthened supervision on evaluation quality.