An increasing number of China's vocational school students are joining student societies focused on innovation in hopes fostering fresh ideas, a recent survey by China Youth Daily found.
According to the survey, nearly 82 percent of vocational college students interviewed said there were student societies dedicated to innovation at their schools.
More than 86 percent of respondents said they had participated in scientific research or innovation-oriented activities at school.
Innovation societies are student organizations which are funded by schools to encourage students to take part in scientific research and innovation activities.
Jiang Xiaodong and Yao Bin, sophomore students at Hangzhou Vocational and Technical College, are among a small number of vocational school students to win at the national Challenge Cup innovation contest. This year, their work on a device that helps measure air pollution earned them first place.
Jiang said their award-winning project was inspired by everyday life.
"When I entered college in 2012, the PM2.5 became a major environmental issue in China," Jiang was quoted by China Youth Daily as saying. "It was at that time when the idea of inventing a device to measure indoor air quality occurred to me."
Xiao Changsong, deputy secretary general of the Chinese Society for Microbiology and judge of the Challenge Cup, said while vocational college students often have brilliant ideas for inventions, they don't always see the light of day.
Compared to university students, who are coached in how to pitch ideas and respond to judges, they are at a disadvantage because vocational schools generally don't include these aspects in their curriculum.
"They have to work on their paper-writing skills and some have to learn how to respond to questions from the judging panel properly. There is still room for improvements," Xiao said.