Why won’t talents return home? : a case study of contract breach by graduates of the Program of Training High-Caliber Backbone Personnel from the Ethnic Minorities

Zhiyong Zhu, Si Xiang


In 2004, the Ministry of Education, National Development and Reform Commission, State Ethnic Affairs Commission, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security jointly released a special document On Training High-Caliber Backbone Personnel from the Ethnic Minorities, as a supporting measure for the strategy of human resources in western development of China. The central government takes it as an important force in thriving and developing the western region, especially the region where ethnic minority groups reside in the west. However, more and more graduates through the Program have breached or intend to break the contract of the Program. Why do they not abide by the contract and return to their hometown province for the work after they have enjoyed the preferential Program? This case study focused on three graduates who broke the employment contract through the Program, traced the origin and development of their minds and action, and demonstrated more about what hid behind the phenomenon. According to the deep interaction with these ethnic minority students, the research found that the social background under which high education policies for the ethnic minorities had greatly changed. The changes have challenged the implementation of the Program. Furthermore, under the socialistic market economy system, the employment contract of the Program couldn’t be processed and secured as the involved actors have expected. Last but not the least, the graduates benefited from the Program have become more and more individualistic and diversified in their career development due to different micro and macro reasons.


graduate students; Chinese education system; ethnic minorities; migration rates

DOI: https://doi.org/10.5944/reec.23.2014.12296


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