|General programme, activity sheet|
||Thursday 24 October, 2013 17:55 to 18:15
Challenges of tourism education in ChinaSpeaker: Jaeyeon Choe, Macau University of Science and Technology
Authors: Dr. Jaeyeon Choe, Dr. Michael O’ Regan
Since 1978, when Chinese Vice Premier Deng Xiaoping helped open China's economy and society, inbound/outbound/domestic tourism has grown rapidly. Due to the increased demand in tourism products and services, supply has helped create a professional tourism industry in China, with education courses, institutes, workshops, regional and national conferences, and other in-service training related to tourism. China's first tourism school was established in 1978 (Tao, 1997), a foundation that the led the Ministry of Education to green light many institutions of higher education to offer varied tourism degree programs (Zhao, 1991). In addition, many Western universities have launched 4 year tourism and hospitality degrees through co-operation with Chinese universities in China.
Having taught on a tourism program at a university in Dalian, north east of China for the past two years, we have noticed numerous career opportunities for students. However, through observations, constant informal conversations with students and lecturers and focus group interviews with 320 second, third and fourth year students, one of the biggest frustrations is lack of interest in a tourism career. Alumni office research found from a survey of one hundred 2012 graduating students, only two got jobs in tourism, despite the overall employment rate of 97%. Their survey found that the one third went onto further
study, with many of the remaining students getting jobs in banking, finance and the civil service. Students argue that while parents strongly recommended them to the degree because of the lower entry requirements, they wish them to do post study or get jobs outside of tourism. Parents and therefore students believe tourism-related jobs are not well-paid, unstable, and not helpful in social mobility. In China, working in tourism is seen as a blue collar occupation. Along with parental opinion, china's one-child policy and Confucian culture is also an important factor
China will be the biggest outbound and inbound tourism market in the world by 2020, and has an important strategic role in the economy and society. Job vacancies in areas in research, consulting, management, and front-line jobs, etc are increasing. In order for students to see the tourism industry as a respectable and favorable career option, collaborative work will be needed from industry professionals, university management administrators, local and national government, as well as university professors in the field. We believe in the need to provide role models for tourism students so as to motivate them to stay seek careers in the industry. Additionally, we can develop a more learner-oriented tourism curricular (Shen 1998), since educator-centered practices led to a number of issues that restrained “the sustainable development of tourism education in China” (Xiao, 2000, p. 1052). These bottom-up approaches, we argue, may be better suited in China, in meeting both students’ needs and industry, and keep students interested in and continue working in a more professional industry.
Session 4 – Economic performance and management
Place: Room SB03