China plans to expand the scale of vocational education this year to train more laid-off rural workers who seek re-employment with new skills, the Ministry of Education said on Thursday.
Vocational schools will enroll 8.6 million students this year, 500,000 more than last year's figure, said a ministry's notice issued to local education departments.
"Governments should encourage vocational schools to help home-returning migrant workers acquire necessary skills so that they can get re-employed soon," said the notice.
Migrant workers, most of whom work on assembly lines in China's economically booming regions, were the hardest-hit group amid the economic downturn sweeping the country.
Government statistics in February showed that about 20 million, or 15 percent of the country's total migrant workers, lost their urban jobs and returned to their rural hometowns.
Besides creating more job opportunities, governments have encouraged workers to receive skill training as preparation for reemployment in future.
The ministry said governments would provide subsidies to such vocational training programs, but did not give details.
The ministry will strengthen regular inspections on whether local vocational schools have fulfilled their tasks.
In 2008, 35 million migration workers attended training lessons at vocational schools, and another 50 million farmers took training courses on farming skills.
The ministry also urged schools in rural areas to guarantee the enrollment of children of migrant workers, who previously studied at schools in cities but now have to return home with parents.
Students at primary and junior secondary schools should enjoy equal treatment such as free tuition and textbook fees, and free accommodation at schools poorer areas.
China has been putting a total of 218.2 billion yuan (31.9 billion U.S. dollars) in the 2006-2010 period into education in order to gradually provide free education for all rural students at primary and junior secondary schools.