Both regular and vocational secondary school sought to serve modernization needs. A number of technical and "skilled-worker" training schools reopened after the Cultural Revolution, and an effort was also made to provide exposure to vocational subjects in general secondary schools (by offering courses in industry, services, business , and agriculture). By 1985 there were almost 3 million vocational and technical students.
Under the educational reform tenets，polytechnic colleges were to give priority to admitting secondary vocational and technical school graduates and providing on-the-job training for qualified worker. Education reformers continued to press for the conversion of about 50 percent of upper secondary education into vocational education, which traditionally had been weak in the rural areas. Regular senior middle schools were to be converted into vocational middle schools, and vocational training classes were to be established in some senior middle schools. Diversion of students from academic to technical education was intended to alleviate skill shortages and to reduce the competition for university enrollment. Although enrollment in technical schools of various kinds had not yet increased enough to compensate for decreasing enrollments in regular senior middle schools, the proportion of vocational and technical students increased. Further, to encourage greater numbers of junior-middle-school graduates to enter technical schools, vocational and technical school graduates were given priority in job assignments, while other job-seekers had to take technical tests.
In 1987 there were four kinds secondary vocational and technical schools: technical .schools that offered a four year curriculum, one post-junior middle course and two to three-year post-senior middle training in such fields as commerce, legal work, fine arts, and forestry; workers' training schools that accepted students whose senior-middle-school education consisted of two years of training in such fields as carpentry and welding; vocational technical schools that accepted either junior-or senior-middle-school students for one to three-year courses in cooking, tailoring, photography, and other services; and agricultural middle school that offered basic subjects and agricultural science.
These technical schools had several hundreds of different programs. Their narrow specializations had advantages in what they offered in in-depth training, reducing the need for on-the-job training and thereby lowering learning time and costs. Moreover, students were more motivated to study if there were links between training and future jobs. Much of the training could be done at existing enterprises where staff and equipment were available at little additional cost.
Education has come a long way since the "Cultural Revolution" (1966 — 1976). Today students throughout the country hold their teachers in the highest respect.
Higher education almost ground to a halt during the "Cultural Revolution." The Chinese Government has given priority to education and has achieved remarkable results over the last 20 years. In 2000 alone Chinese colleges and universities enrolled 2 million students, 3 times as many as in 1978 when the system of national entrance examinations for colleges and universities were reinstated.
Colleges and universities of China have trained 9,100,000 students over the last 20 years. That comes to an average of 455,000 for each year. That is not much for a nation of 1,200,000,000 people. But it is great achievement for a burgeoning nation trying to achieve parity in this modern global world.
Students who fail to pass the national entrance examination do not face such dismal future today. China now has 1,107 adult higher-learning institutions available for student. China also has 3,200 post-secondary schools offering vocational training to assist young people to join the new technical age. These schools include technical schools training workers for industry, vocational schools training workers for factories and agriculture and secondary teacher-training schools. To date, post-secondary schools have trained 10,000,000 specialist talents for agriculture, industry, education , medicine, health, finance, public security, and other sectors of the economy.
China’s reform policy has also speeded up the spread of education in poor and remote areas. Nationwide, 99% of Chinese children attend primary schools. In 1989, China launched two ambitious projects, “The Hope Project” and the “ Spring Bud Project.” These two projects have helped children, especially girls, in poor areas to attend school.