Training for a trade

By Fang Shaoqing Source:Global Times Published: 2014-12-22 17:48:01

A Sino-Finnish joint vocational education center opened last week in Minhang district. The China-Finland Center of Excellence in Vocational Education, or the "Harmony and Love" Creative Space, serves as a platform for Shanghai education authorities, pilot schools in Minhang district and Finnish schools and education experts to work together to increase the quality of vocational education. The center is in the Qunyi Vocational and Technical School in Minhang district.

 "In its attempt to train more skilled professionals to meet the demands of the international labor market, the center will start with its training in Minhang district and pave the way for a flagship of high quality and premium vocational education," said Wang Hao, director of the Minhang District Education Bureau.

In recent years, the Chinese government has repeatedly called for new ways to develop vocational education in China to support the development of the economy.

"In the past, there have only been a few small-scale projects and sister school cooperation, the China-Finland Center of Excellence in Vocational Education is no doubt the biggest effort in Sino-Finnish education cooperation so far," said Anna Korpi, manager of Asia Operations of EduCluster Finland. "The center has many cooperation partners on both sides, and it will work to create something long-term and sustainable in Shanghai and in China."

The center is also supported by both governments, the Shanghai municipal government, the Finnish Embassy and Finland's Ministry of Education and Culture.

The center does not recruit students, but will develop different pilot projects in teacher training and training content development to test new approaches in vocational education. Some of the most important people in this development are the vocational teachers. The projects will focus on finding and supporting the best and most motivated vocational teachers to create a better learning environment for the students.

"Vocational education performs well in Finland," said Sui Ming, section chief for vocational and adult education at the Minhang District Education Bureau. "With so much teaching experience on hand, the center will pilot the modern apprenticeship."

Finnish schools work closely with local companies to provide up-to-date training and skills. The Finnish vocational teachers are highly educated and capable and the education system supports lifelong development of skills and capacity. The center will channel these best practices and expertise from Finland in curriculum development and teacher training into the Chinese vocational education.

This November, Tapio Siukonen, director of the Omnia Vocational College of Finland, paid a visit to the Qunyi Vocational and Technical School accompanied by Anna Korpi and Sui Ming, after both sides had reached an agreement in September on the center and its target, function, venue construction, staff training and the cooperation between schools and enterprises.

Prior to that, Shanghai vocational school teachers were sent to study in Finland for 20 days last September. From June to November, Finnish vocational teachers trained 60 vocational teachers from schools in Minhang district on how to install and operate equipment in buildings. Shanghai teachers also learned about Finnish training methods by visiting their Shanghai-based enterprises with Finnish experts.

Officials from Minhang district visit the China-Finland Center of Excellence in Vocational Education.


Jyväskylä Educational Consortium CEO Vesa Saarikoski (left) and deputy governor of Minhang district Yang Demei at the opening ceremony of the center Photos: Courtesy of Qunyi Vocational and Technical School

Posted in: Society, Metro Shanghai

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