(ECNS) -- Beijing plans to recruit 30 junior high school students and train them into becoming professionals at restoring cultural relics for the Forbidden City amid a shortage of such talents, according to Beijing Youth Daily.
Beijing Union University, Beijing International Vocational Education School and the Palace Museum this year jointly launched a pilot education program to train professional restoration experts.
The students will study cultural relic reconstruction at the Beijing International Vocational Education School for three years, followed by two years of vocational education at Beijing Union University. After further study, they can be awarded bachelor's degrees.
The pilot program is aimed at cultivating more local professional talents. Shan Jilin, the curator of the Palace Museum, once told Chinese media that insufficient career paths for young people had resulted in a lack of professional restoration experts. The hukou, or household registration system, makes it hard for young experts to work in the museum.
To restore all of the cultural relics in the Palace Museum with existing experts will take at least 100 years, according to the museum.
In order to cultivate more professionals in the field, the museum launched the major in cultural relic repair with the Beijing International Vocational Education School in 2015, and recruited about 20 students in the first year. So far, 35 students have been recruited.
Besides general courses including Chinese, math and politics, the students also learn professional knowledge about relic repair, including basic knowledge of cultural relics, the history of arts and the basic methods of relic protection, according to Qian Weidong, the director of the Beijing International Vocational Education School. Teachers were mostly from the Palace Museum, Qian added.
Professional restoration experts have attracted widespread attention from the general public after the success of the three-episode TV documentary, Masters in the Forbidden City, which premiered on China Central Television at the beginning of last year.