BEIJING—The National Meeting on the Work of Agricultural Broadcasting and Television Schools (ABTS) was held in Beijing on March 20th. The Meeting was attended by the headmasters from 39 provincial schools.
The theme of the Meeting is to deploy the work of fostering new-type vocational farmers in the coming years. Discussions were centered on three topics:
First, new-type vocational farmers are requested by modern agricultural development. China is at a critical stage of shifting from traditional agriculture to modern agriculture. Advanced technologies, state-of-art equipment and modern management concepts were introduced to all areas of agricultural production. Only farmers of comparatively high qualifications would fit into such changing context. However, in reality, against industrialization and urbanization, a large number of youth farmers migrate to the urban areas rather than live in the rural areas; moreover, fresh graduates from agricultural universities are reluctant to work on the farmland. China’s rural areas are coming towards an aging society. “Who will work on the farmland” is a big challenge to China. Therefore, we need to have forethoughts in making institutional arrangements and policy development so as to introduce qualified personnel to work in the rural areas and promote farmers’ education and training programs designed for new-type vocational farmers.
Second, fostering new-type vocational farmers calls for stronger farmers’ training programs. Education and training is a must for new-type vocational farmers. Training programs should be targeted at different needs, and be specific towards different groups of people. Priorities should be given to practical agricultural techniques as well as basic cultural knowledge. Free vocational training should be delivered to youth farmers and graduates so that they might obtain a Vocational Skill Certificate or Green Certificate after the training programs. For farmers with certain economic resources, educational background and strong will, tailored training programs would be offered to help them start their own business. In addition, follow-up support in terms of agricultural technology, policy and services would build up their awareness and competency needed for self-employment.
Third, better infrastructural facilities and capacity building is a pre-requisite of stronger training programs. Grass-root training entities forge the front line of fostering vocational farmers, and are the major players in implementing national polices on farmers’ education and training. It is necessary to reinforce infrastructural facilities of farmers’ schools at the county, town/township and village levels. Efforts should be made to build more on-site training bases and offer platforms for new-type vocational farmers, fresh graduates and migrant workers returned to hometown to start their own business or put into practice what they have learned.