On March 4, the MOE issued a notice to instruct local education authorities and higher education institutions on how to help this year’s new graduates access employment opportunities while coping with the challenges posed by the ongoing COVID-19 epidemic.
The notice demanded innovation in the provision of online employment services. A nationwide “24/7-365” (around the clock, all year round) online recruitment service platform was launched under the stewardship of the MOE, providing carefully reviewed information on employers and posts and accessible via the MOE employment website (www.ncss.cn). A series of selected employment-related courses and a compilation of employment policies and job websites were to be provided online to facilitate career planning and job search for graduates. Other events such as accurate pairing of graduates and jobs, interviews and contract signing were also encouraged to be organized through online channels.
The notice stressed the need to expand employment and further education. It called on the education system to work with relevant government departments in encouraging graduates to: (1) seek job opportunities in rural grass-roots organizations that are engaged in areas such as modern agriculture and social services; (2) join the military; and (3) teach in kindergartens and senior high schools that were suffering from severe teacher shortages. The notice required the expansion of enrollment in postgraduate programs, especially those capable of serving national strategies and promoting people’s welfare and run by universities located in the Midwest and Northeast. Vocational colleges and application-oriented universities were also asked to expand enrollment in programs that were dedicated to industrial upgrading and improving livelihoods.
The notice requested targeted support to be provided to special groups, such as graduates from poverty-stricken families that were registered in the national poverty relief database, those with disabilities and those living in Hubei province, the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak. It also required public agencies in charge of employment facilitation to prevent employment discrimination and illegal behavior by employers that could infringe the rights and interests of graduates.
Finally, the notice underscored the need for provincial education authorities to develop policy measures aiming for stable employment, and to enhance supervision over universities to ensure that they provided necessary guidance and services to graduates in seeking jobs.