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Introduction

From 2013 to 2014, China Development Research Foundation was commissioned by the Department of Vocational and Adult Education, Ministry of Education to conduct an independent third-party assessment on the state financial aid policies for and development conditions of the secondary vocational education. The assessment results show that the Chinese government is paying more and more attention to the development of vocational education, and has made great achievements in improving education quality, developing the connotations of vocational education and advancing the enrollment of economically disadvantaged students. However, there are still various prominent problems with secondary vocational education, such as unbalanced development of school capacity, uneven education quality, low social recognition for the students and indifference to the mental development of the students. The secondary vocational school students are subject to different extents of prejudice and discrimination as their families are mostly economically disadvantaged, their academic performance is poor, and they have some bad habits. We argue that secondary vocational school students are underachievers in the exam-oriented education, but they are not losers; they need respects and recognition. Regarding the aforementioned prominent problems, CDRF established the "Win the Future" Initiative, which will carry out a series of social experiment projects including "New Channel": training of secondary vocational principals, senior technicians' lectures, campus culture activities, Win the Future Scholarship and Outstanding Teacher Award; "Win Chances": start-up training for secondary vocational school students, and developing an online training and service system for secondary vocational education. The Initiative will conduct experiments in changing the school management philosophy of secondary vocational principals, bringing in advanced vocational education knowledge and techniques, advocating a positive campus culture, reinforcing the soft power of vocational schools, and boosting the self-respect and self-confidence of secondary vocational school students. It will also conduct scientific and objective third-party monitoring and evaluation on the experiment process and results. By introducing these activities, the project aims to explore the orientation and approaches for the development and reform on secondary vocational education, and to improve the personnel training capability, enhance the technical and skill level of secondary vocational school graduates, and nurture a batch of sunny, hopeful, positive skilled talents.

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