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Today in my stroll of the campus I saw a post saying 让职业教育有学头,有奔头,有盼头, that highly interested and confused me at the same time, especially the word 头 repeated three times. Does it mean a target, like in a game where a head of an Indian or an animal put before the shooter(by the way, I do not play games myself, that is simply what I imagine to be so)?

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Looks like things written on a red banner in big yellow characters

Words have various meanings. We can glean the meaning from the context perhaps. This sounds like propaganda with a complex inference. The writer knows his or her job!

头:事情的开端 beginning
头:物的两端或末梢: middle
头:物的两端或末梢: end

学头:reason for studying: literally study, beginning
奔头:prospects, light at the end of the tunnel: literally rush around time: middle
盼头:hope: literally where you are looking: end

让职业教育有学头,有奔头,有盼头。
Let vocational training have reason (for studying), have prospects, have hope!

Or 学头发:study hair :)

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These are slogans used in recent decisions to promote the images and quality of the "vocational education" in China, by the Ministry of Education. Below are my interpretations:

有学 - has tangible knowledge/skills worth learning. (有 - 致用的教材)

有奔 - has a future worth pursuing. (有 - 出路/前途/發展的舞台)

有盼 - has good prospects worth hoping for. (有 - 希望)

Note: In these cases, 头 together with the verb that proceeds it forms a noun. Example: 念头 (idea/thought/intention).

Further reading: 职业教育,要让学生有学头有盼头有奔头

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  • I never heard of 学头, 奔头 or 盼头, But there is a common term 看头 with 头 meaning "worthy", and I've seen 听头 used in some contexts. 韋小寶:「這回書沒什麼聽頭」
    – Tang Ho
    May 24, 2023 at 11:43
  • @TangHo I think 学头 and 奔头 are slogans created/adopted by China's 教育部 use the pattern of 盼头, which is a well-known term among Chinese.
    – r13
    May 24, 2023 at 17:24
  • @TangHo All three are commonly used in Sichuan Mandarin, so are many other words with 头. 头 seems to be a very active suffix. This is probably true in other dialects as well.
    – lilysirius
    May 24, 2023 at 19:05
  • Please see this example: 这年头挣钱越来越少,没有盼头
    – PdotWang
    May 24, 2023 at 20:15
  • @PdotWang Just as in your answer - "附在某些名词后面,构成新的名词。如:木头;石头". Yet, it is also true that "附在某些动词后面,构成名词。如:念头." Source: zdic.net/hans/%E5%A4%B4
    – r13
    May 24, 2023 at 22:02
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is used to form nouns, such as 木头,石头. It means “kind of things”, “matters”, or “something related”.

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