11.1 Vocational training
11.2 Secondary technical school training
11.3 Education and training at universities and colleges of agriculture
Three basic types and levels of training for fisheries workers were observed by the study group. These were: vocational training for fish farmers at the grass-root level; training of middle-level fisheries technicians at secondary technical schools; and thirdly, education and training at university, agricultural and fisheries colleges.
At the lowest level is the vocational type of training which is more or less training on-the-job with short periods of institutionalized training given in the communes or at an institute by staff of universities, institutes or technicians from the Bureau of Aquatic Products. The short courses may last from a few weeks to three months, and they are usually organized for experienced fish farmers from the communes who need updating in theoretical knowledge and new techniques. The three-month courses organized by the Sun Yat Sen University are very popular and the trainees, on return to their communes and production brigades, become focal points for contacts with scientists and teachers in the university or institute that offered the training. Shorter courses of a few weeks are usually held during or before particular seasonal activities, such as fish breeding or disease control, are undertaken. The course is run in the commune for the fish farmers who are taught the correct practices for immediate application in their farms.
Fig. 30 A view of a short training course in session at the Ho Li People's Commune for fish farmers
The secondary and higher level of training is offered at the fisheries secondary technical colleges. At these institutions, fisheries junior technicians and professional fisheries workers who will become active members of fish cultural groups in the communes, are trained. For example, the Guangzhou Aquaculture Products Secondary School offers a three-year course in fisheries in which fisheries technicians are trained. The trainees for the secondary technical college are junior middle-school graduates who have to pass an entrance examination. Youths from fish-producing areas with proven interest in fisheries work are usually given preference, to ensure that on completion of training, they will have opportunities of engaging themselves in fisheries work.
At the highest level are the four-year courses run by colleges of agriculture and fisheries and at universities. The Guangzhou Aquatic Products College (Guangdong Province), Hua Chung Agriculture College (Hubei Province) and the Sun Yat Sen University, which were visited by the study group, run four-year courses for fisheries professionals. The courses run at the university are equivalent to B.Sc. degree courses and it was explained that the difference between the university course and those of technical colleges is that the university students have more in-depth theoretical training while the technical colleges lay more emphasis on practical fish farming. The best of the university graduates as well as those from agricultural colleges may continue with post-graduate research although higher degrees, as known in other parts of the world, are not awarded. When they complete their studies: the Central Government usually assigns them to a job and place of work. Those with research qualifications become lecturers and professors at universities or colleges of agriculture. The graduates of the four-year courses from colleges of agriculture could be assigned to work as senior technicians in the communes, or in research institutes. Bureaux of Aquatic Products or as teachers in technical schools. The remuneration is the same for graduates from universities and colleges of agriculture. Also the entrance requirements to the two institutions are identical. Only graduates of senior middle school are allowed to take the entrance examination to these institutions of higher learning. Although candidates are free to select the institution of their liking, the successful candidates are chosen not only on the basis of their academic performance in the entrance examination, but also on being found morally and physically suitable. They must also possess a high degree of political consciousness so that after graduation they will serve the people and engage in physical labour with the masses.
At the Hua Chung Agriculture College, the study group visited the Fisheries Department, which trains high-level fisheries technicians. Apart from a four-year course, the College also offers a short one-year course which is run specially for the Ministry of Agriculture. A similar one-year course was also being run at the Sun Yat Sen University in Guangzhou, mainly for officers of the Bureau of Aquatic Products and middle-level technicians from the communes. It is designed to improve the technical knowledge of cadres who are assigned fisheries duties in the communes.
In the four-year fisheries course at the Hua Chung Agriculture College, a total of 23 subjects are taught. They include basic science subjects taught in the earlier years of the course, such as mathematics, physics and chemistry; special fisheries subjects taught include icthyology, freshwater biology, fish physiology, fish culture in ponds and in large water bodies, fish breeding, fish diseases, freshwater fish capture and fish culture engineering. General courses included are politics, foreign languages (mainly English) and physical education.
At the Zoology Department of Sun Yat Sen University, the course convent of the four-year university course in fisheries was said to be divided into two parts. The first three years are devoted to detailed theoretical studies involving four main subjects: icthyology, hydrobiology, diseases of fish and the biology of cultured fish. In the fourth year the students carry out practical projects and are expected to write a dissertation at the end of the course.
The University also used to run two- to three-year post-graduate research courses for a qualification equivalent to a M.Sc. degree, but this was discontinued some years ago.
In all the higher institutions of learning visited, the group was told about the harm done to scientific education and training under the influence of the "gang of four". For example, the Hua Chung Agriculture College was unable to admit students in 1975 and 1976 and at the Sun Yat Sen University, entrance examinations were not held for a period of ten years. Things have changed for the better during the last two years. There is now a resurgence of activity and enthusiasm in the pursuit of scientific and technological knowledge all over China, following the new policy aimed at modernizing agriculture, industry, national defence and science and technology, so as to make China a great socialist nation before the turn of the century. To achieve this, the training of scientists and technologists and advanced scientific research are considered essential.