Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region is located in southwestern part of the People's Republic of China (PRC) along the maritime belt, and sharing a long border with Viet Nam. In March 2015, President Xi Jinping urged Guangxi to become the PRC's pathway to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), a new strategic pivot in southwest and central part of the PRC's opening up, and a dynamic portal connecting the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road (Belt and Road Initiative). The Belt and Road Initiative extends PRC's opening-up frontiers to western part of the PRC and the border regions, making Guangxi a direct beneficiary. Ranking 27 out of 31 provinces in the PRC, Guangxi is among the poorer with a per capita gross domestic product (GDP) of about CNY35,000 in 2015 (70% of the national per capita GDP). Guangxi has the largest ethnic minority population in the PRC, comprising 11 ethnic groups and making up 38% of a total population of about 55.2 million in 2015. A significant 12.6% (compared to 6.1% national average), or 6.95 million, of the population lives below the national poverty line (CNY2,300/year). However, it is also among the fastest growing economies averaging 10% growth over the last 3 years.
In line with the PRC's strategy to accelerate development in the south and western regions, Guangxi has pursued an integrated regional development program focused on poverty alleviation, urbanization, agricultural modernization, and industrial transformation and upgrading. Guangxi will use the opportunity of the Belt and Road Initiative to promote interconnectivity and further opening up with Southeast Asia. The Guangxi government aims to strengthen its economic and social positioning to emerge as one of the most important economic regions in southwestern part of the PRC, leading in modern agriculture, diversified industrial growth, and increased regional cooperation.
To fill the demand for highly skilled labor in priority and emerging industries, Guangxi has identified human resource development, and particularly a modernized technical and vocational education and training (TVET) system, as one of its top priorities. Guangxi faces a shortage of highly skilled workers, both because of new emerging occupations and also with a legacy of many Guangxi workers having migrated to neighboring Guangdong. Further, while Guangxi has a vast TVET system, it is characterized with outdated training facilities, equipment and curriculum, low quality of teaching, insufficient links with industry, and weak capacity of TVET institutions to carry out quality learning reforms to come up to national standards. Guangxi has developed a five-year Modern Vocational Education System Development Plan for Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region (2015- 2020) to build a multi- and high-level skilled workforce. The structure of Guangxi's TVET modernization plan is wide-ranging to bring comprehensive improvements in TVET, and will need to be rationalized to bring selectivity and focus with a robust results framework.
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