Switzerland eyes vocational education cooperation with China
Published: Feb 01, 2023 08:23 PM
Participants take photos at the Sino-Swiss Economic Forum in Beijing on January 18, 2023. Photo: Courtesy of the Swiss Embassy in China

Participants take photos at the Sino-Swiss Economic Forum in Beijing on January 18, 2023. Photo: Courtesy of the Swiss Embassy in China

Switzerland was among the first Western countries to recognize and establish diplomatic relations with China, and over more than seven decades, China-Switzerland relations have maintained sound development and accumulated rewarding experiences.

China and Switzerland maintain close cooperation in a range of fields, mostly economically.

Since 2010, China has been Switzerland's biggest trading partner in Asia and its third largest globally after the EU and the US. The two countries signed a free trade agreement (FTA) that entered into force on July 1, 2014, according to the Xinhua News Agency. 

In December 2022, China and Switzerland achieved mutual recognition of the equivalence of auditing standards and audit oversight systems, according to China's Ministry of Finance.

For accounting firms that are registered in the Swiss Confederation and the People's Republic of China respectively and issue audit reports on financial statements of economic entities, the audit oversight systems of the two countries are equivalent, the statement from the Ministry of Finance said.

Despite this close cooperation, now a new area can be explored - vocational and professional education and training (VPET).

Switzerland is well-known for its VPET as reports showed that about 60 percent of young people in Switzerland will not go to university and will instead choose from more than 200 occupations to start an apprenticeship course.  

The Swiss Embassy in China hosted a Swiss vocational education exhibition in Beijing last month, as part of activities at the 7th edition of the Sino-Swiss Economic Form (SSEF). 

The SSEF started in 2010, and takes place biennially in Beijing and is by far the largest economic summit between Switzerland and China. Executives from Swiss multinational giants including ABB, Novartis, Nestlé, Roche, Schindler, and Swiss Re also participated in the event.

In a keynote speech at the SSEF, Ambassador of Switzerland to China Jürg Burri noted that VPET is a great way to bring young people directly into companies.

According to him, there are Swiss companies offering the double track education model in China. "We can be proud of our companies that are acting as pioneers and showcase the successful Swiss education system," he said. 

Fang Naichun, director general of China Vocational Education Association, pointed out that vocational education can be a driving force for companies' upgrading and economic development.

Global Times