BEIJING, Sept. 6 (Xinhua) -- The Chinese Ministry of Education said on Friday it would support students in the quake zone in this year's nationwide IT contest, since the country has a dire shortage of technology talents.
The ministry will reserve 10 seats in the final round for students from southwest China's Sichuan Province, the center of the May 12 earthquake, and it plans to raise the award quota for them. In addition, the ministry will provide free training material and online study accounts.
An official with the ministry said the event was the only authoritative IT competition in China and played a key role in fostering talent.
Travel and accommodation expenses for contestants from Sichuan will be paid by China Distance Education Holdings Ltd. (CDEL), the country's largest online education provider, during their stay in the capital for the final.
According to its official website (www.itatedu.com), the competition, jointly hosted by the ministry and CDEL, runs from Oct. 18 to Dec. 3. Winning contestants will get scholarships and free training.
"Sichuan is awaiting revival. With vigorous support from the country, we expect students there will be eager for IT studies," said the ministry official.
The ministry has set up more than 300 IT training bases nationwide in the past eight years, which have helped more than 50,000 people get IT certifications.
A survey by employment service Manpower Inc. found that technicians led the list of jobs in demand in China in the first half of 2008.