Xinhua Headlines: China trains new-generation workers on vocational education boom

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SHENYANG, March 26 (Xinhua) -- Chen Meina, a 29-year-old elderly carer, made a deliberate choice to stay in Germany and continue with her work during the Spring Festival, rather than returning to her hometown in northeast China's Liaoning Province.

"I've been studying and working in Germany for more than five years. I incorporate traditional Chinese medicine nursing skills into my daily work, and many elderly individuals here appreciate it," Chen said.

Chen graduated from Liaoning Vocational College of Medicine in 2018. The institution is run by the provincial government to cultivate highly skilled professionals in nursing, pharmacy and medicine.

In that same year, an educational cooperation agreement was signed between the vocational college and Germany's Oscar Kemmel Vocational College for a nursing talent training program. Subsequently, the first batch of 17 Chinese students pursued studies in Germany, with six opting to serve as elderly care workers in German nursing homes, including Chen.

In recent years, China has actively expanded its vocational education to align with the demands of enterprises. According to this year's government work report, the country will redouble its efforts to improve vocational education. Thanks to diverse programs, the country's vocational education has embraced international cooperation.


The Luban Workshop exemplifies a mutually beneficial model for international vocational education cooperation. Named after Lu Ban, an ancient Chinese woodcraft master, this workshop offers vocational skills training for local communities. Similar workshops have been established in Thailand, India, Indonesia and other countries.

Statistics show that in the past decade since the inception of the Belt and Road Initiative, more than 400 higher vocational colleges in China and foreign educational institutions have forged cooperation in running schools, with Luban Workshop established in over 20 countries.

Many vocational education programs from China have also been introduced in the Belt and Road participating countries, cultivating high-quality professional employees.

In 2017, the Mombasa-Nairobi Railway, a Belt and Road flagship project jointly built by China Road and Bridge Corporation and the Kenya government, officially opened to traffic. Two vocational colleges from Liaoning sent their staff to Kenya and helped Kenya train over 300 railway talents.

"Recently, we've signed two new international joint education programs, mainly serving the construction of China-Kyrgyzstan-Uzbekistan railway and China-Mongolia railway. Compared with previous programs, we are paying more attention to the employment and technical needs of the enterprises this time," said Dong Yanan, vice president of Liaoning Railway Vocational and Technical College.

At present, China has the world's largest vocational education system. According to data released by the Ministry of Education in 2023, there are 9,752 secondary vocational schools in the country, with over 17.8 million students. In 2022, there were 1,521 higher vocational schools with an enrollment of 5.46 million students. These institutions annually produce approximately 10 million high-quality technical personnel.


"Many believe that only students with good academic performance from famous universities have the opportunity to study abroad. Now, we can also study abroad through our own efforts and excellent vocational skills, which is a great encouragement to me," said Chen Xingwang, one of the six students from the School of Economics and Management at Guangzhou Nanyang Polytechnic College who studied in the Republic of Korea last year.

In order to better serve the development of Chinese enterprises overseas, 18 vocational colleges in south China's Guangdong Province have launched 39 overseas education programs.

Shenzhen Polytechnic University has collaborated with enterprises such as China's tech giant Huawei to establish seven overseas vocational education and training centers in five countries including Bulgaria and Germany.

"I would like to thank Guangdong Industry Polytechnic for its professional lectures, and the teachers' ability to communicate complex ideas clearly and enthusiastically makes each class both educational and enjoyable," said Chan Sai Keong, dean of Business, Information and Human Sciences of Infrastructure University Kuala Lumpur.

China has also invited its global partners to empower the development of its vocational education.

Since 2013, BMW Brilliance Automotive Ltd. (BBA), located in Shenyang, the capital of Liaoning, has run a vocational program. Collaborating with vocational schools, BBA develops industry-relevant courses that align with the needs of both the schools and the enterprise. This initiative aims to offer students more comprehensive practical training and on-the-job internship opportunities.

Currently, two vocational colleges and BBA are jointly building a program. Every year, the company selects some students who will go from vocational colleges and training centers to on-the-job internships, and can get employed after they pass the examinations.

"Thanks to the program, I immediately got a job after graduation," said Sun Haoran, 22, a maintenance worker at the company's production line. "Last year, I spent eight weeks in Munich on the BMW Group's global apprenticeship exchange program. I was exposed to advanced equipment and acquired a deeper understanding of equipment maintenance," Sun added.

Colleges and enterprises in Liaoning have also signed cooperation agreements with educational institutions in some Belt and Road participating countries to build "Mozi workshop." Named after the ancient Chinese philosopher Mozi, also known as Micius, the workshop aims to train skilled craftsmen like Mozi.

"Vocational education exchange is a pragmatic move to meet the development needs of enterprises in the context of economic globalization. It encompasses technical and cultural exchange and dialogue, playing an important role in promoting the development of China and Belt and Road participating countries," said Lao Hansheng, head of Guangdong Lingnan Institute of Technology. Enditem

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