PROMOTE LARGE NUMBERS OF YOUNG TECHNICIANS
November 23, 1961
In the last few years we have not given much thought to our technicians, failing to make proper use of them. As a result, a great many technical personnel who have just entered the ranks cannot fully utilize their abilities. Many college graduates remain technicians on probation after they have worked for several years. Why can we not boldly promote them to engineers? How have returned students been employed? We must promote them no matter how scant our funds are. If they are not assigned to posts commensurate to their abilities, they will not be able to do much. By promoting these young people to higher positions with more responsibilities, thereby broadening their horizons, we can make better use of their talents and abilities. We should highly value our young people in their twenties and thirties. Many scientists in the world have come into prominence around the age of thirty. If we do not begin to address the problem of training and promoting young people now, by the time they reach our age it will be too late.
How many engineers and technicians have we trained over this period of more than ten years since liberation? How many people have graduated from our universities and colleges? How many people in design institutes and enterprises should have been promoted? All ministries should investigate the situation in their subordinate units and then promote a large number of young people to engineer status. Enterprises and departments under the Ministry of Metallurgical Industry could add several thousand engineers to their staff, as could the Ministry of Railways, including those promoted from among outstanding workers. Research institutes can also have engineers. This work should be undertaken over this winter and next spring.
This time we should promote as many people to the status of engineer as are qualified, not a few individuals. As I see it, we can have several tens of thousands of people to be promoted nationwide, but they must be carefully selected and appraised. Professional and technical competence will be the main criterion for promotion, but politically they must not be opposed to the Communist Party and must be loyal to the motherland. No Party members will be promoted if they are not qualified professionally and technically. When necessary, exceptions can be made where a person can become an engineer without having to proceed from technician on probation to technician first. The newly promoted engineers should receive material benefits in line with the standards set for engineers, which means no more than a salary increase of a few dozens of yuan per person.
Our chief problem today is the inefficient use of professional and technical forces. In most factories technicians are sitting idle because of poor organization of work. In some departments they are assigned to do administrative work that has nothing to do with their own field, and still others are even transferred to do manual labor or odds and ends for long periods of time. In future, when assigning work to college graduates, we should pay close attention to giving them work appropriate to their area of learning.
Leading bodies at the various levels and of all trades, major factories, ministries and commissions might consider the establishment of assessment committees. They should, without fail, exercise control over such matters as the number and background information of registered professional and technical personnel in their own units. They should assess the performance of college graduates every two years. In other words, they should see to it that no able people are overlooked. Personnel departments alone cannot do the job; they must rely on experts to examine and evaluate professional and technical levels. They should regularly provide opportunities for professional and technical people to pursue advanced studies and self-study, which will require setting up a system to implement. It seems we cannot go on without instituting the use of academic degrees, for which we can first work out a plan.
(Talk delivered at a meeting of the Secretariat of the CPC Central Committee after hearing a report on the seven-year plan of the metallurgical industry.)