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Foreign Vocational Schools Eye Chinese Market
Professor William A. Wardle, president of the James Watt College of Further and Higher Education -- the largest vocational school in Scotland -- recently paid a visit to Beijing in an attempt to explore cooperative opportunities with his Chinese counterparts.

Less than half a month ago, Regency Institute from South Australia signed agreements with schools in Beijing and Tianjin on a training program for international nursing. In addition, it held talks with municipal departments of Beijing for hotel managerial personnel training.

These two foreign schools are just the latest of a steady flow of new arrivals in China. Starting in 1993, the Jinsong Vocational High School in Beijing has cooperated with a German hotel and catering association and a German culinary school. The diploma of the high school is recognized both in China and Germany. The Beijing Business and Trade School has also cooperated with the British Trade and Education Committee and issued a diploma accepted both in China and Britain. By next year, Beijing will have 11 schools that offer a “foreign diploma” to students in more than ten majors, such as tourism and hotel management.

China’s internationalization has attracted more and more vocational education schools. “As more international corporations come to China and more foreigners work in this country in the wake of China’s WTO accession, world-level service including international hospitals and hotels are needed in the country,” said Ms Lin Meili, manager of international program of the Regency Institute. “China will see an increasing demand for service personnel. Overseas training will help cultivate the related talents. Through the education, people can hone their foreign language level and master the knowledge of international service industry. All these will help them find a niche in China.”

England, Australia and Germany have a well-developed vocational education system. William Wardle of the James Watt College cited three points that attract Chinese students to foreign vocational schools. The advanced curriculum enables Chinese students to keep up with the professional knowledge of the rest of the world; a good focus and practical teaching mode helps them rapidly master this knowledge and effectively apply it in their work. Moreover, the international study environment shows them how to deal with people. The experience will help their future work in China.

So far, most Chinese students go abroad to receive their overseas vocational education. James Watt College already has 33 Chinese students, and is hoping to see this number rise to 50 next year and to 150 in two or three years. Yet, Professor Wardle also pointed out that his college strives to provide courses in China, too, since many prospective students work in China. It has been reported that Xihua Future Education Company in Beijing has become the partner of James Watt College and will establish an office for the college in China. The Regency Institute and its Beijing partner offer a 1+2 program whereby students are required to go through one-year study in China first and then study abroad for two years.

Thus a three-channel approach combining overseas study, China-foreign cooperative schools and foreign training organizations will become the norm in vocational training from now on.

(china.org.cn by Guo Xiaohong June 22, 2002)

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