Turning point for laborUpdated: 2013-07-22 08:19
Offering courses in electro-mechanical specialties, languages, economic management and art design, the college follows Germany's dual occupational training model, which combines classroom learning with hands-on practice.
Over the years, the Sino-German College has worked with several multinational companies, including Siemens and Bosch, to run training courses that focus on hands-on experiences. The students are given opportunities to work at the partner firms during their studies. Many of them end up becoming full-time employees.
"This model of dual occupational training places its central focus on companies, because the training is tailored more toward their needs," says Zhang Xinghui, president of the Sino-German College.
"In Germany, companies select suitable students and fund their training. Although students do not have an obligation to work for these firms, more than 90 percent choose to do so ultimately," Zhang says.
According to Zhang, the Sino-German College is now in its third year of cooperation with Bosch. The course has received excellent feedback from students.
He says the college is responsible for enrolling students in its courses, while Bosch selects a small number of students it wants to invest in. These students then become part of special classes that follow a curriculum designed for Bosch's needs.
Zhang says that as China develops high-tech industries, it creates a growing demand for skilled workers that the Sino-German College is constantly changing its courses on offer to follow.
"One example of a new course we started in recent years is aircraft manufacturing, as a result of China's aerospace industry growth. We developed a syllabus based on industry needs and we brought in European experts to help develop this course," he says.
Zhang says a key lesson China's education system could learn from Germany is allowing children to follow their interests at an early age, so technicians can become highly skilled through training over a long period of time.
"In Germany, students as young as fourth grade in primary school can choose a vocational education route if that is where their interests are," Zhang says.
"Typically the students with less talent for academic learning will choose vocational studies but eventually they can become respected technicians who demonstrate great dedication and professional ethics."
He says that in comparison Chinese students are required to take a large number of core subjects all the way to the end of high school and hence have a late start in acquiring technical skills compared with Western workers.
Benefits to nations
Zhang's views are shared by Gao Hong, CEO of China German Education Group, who adds that vocational training has greatly helped countries such as Germany develop advanced technologies because it teaches students important values including dedication and the constant willingness to learn.