VO­CA­TIONAL SCHOOLS

China can learn from Brazil on how to train for skills

China Daily (Latin America Weekly) - - Front Page - By ZHANG FAN in Sao Paulo

China can learn from Brazil’s ex­pe­ri­ence in vo­ca­tional ed­u­ca­tion to in­crease the em­ploy­ment rate among new grad­u­ates, said Qiao Jianzhen, the win­ner of Brazil’s 2014 medal of la­bor.

Qiao, the Chi­nese pres­i­dent of Con­fu­cius In­sti­tute in the Pon­tif­i­cal Catholic Univer­sity of Rio de Janeiro, was awarded the an­nual medal is­sued by Brazil’s Min­istry of La­bor on June 11 in Rio de Janeiro for her “tire­less work for the cul­tural com­mu­ni­ca­tion be­tween China and Brazil”.

She is one of the two Chi­nese re­ceiv­ing the honor this year and it is the first time in Brazil’s his­tory to give the honor to Chi­nese. The other per­son is Chen Xiaox­ian, pres­i­dent of the Over­seas Chi­nese As­so­ci­a­tion in Rio de Janeiro.

“There are many things the two coun­tries can learn from each other in the ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem,” Qiao, who played a key role in pro­mot­ing lo­cal govern­ment to in­clude Chi­nese lan­guage ed­u­ca­tion in the cur­ricu­lum of the state high school in Rio de Janeiro, told China Daily. “China has a more solid ba­sic ed­u­ca­tion and Brazil’s vo­ca­tional ed­u­ca­tion is more com­plete and ma­ture.”

Qiao’s words echo re­cent re­marks by Pre­mier Li Ke­qing who in­vited pri­vate in­vestors and so­cial en­ter­prise to help de­velop China’s vo­ca­tional ed­u­ca­tion in or­der to boost em­ploy­ment rates.

“In ad­di­tion to the govern­ment, so­cial en­ti­ties, com­pa­nies and pri­vate in­vestors should take the lead in es­tab­lish­ing more vo­ca­tional train­ing at dif­fer­ent lev­els to in­te­grate prac­ti­cal needs with teach­ing,” said Li.

Li said the rise of the Chi­nese econ­omy re­quires qual­ity im­prove­ment in Chi­nese prod­ucts and ser­vices, which re­lies on “a large num­ber of skilled work­ers”.

Ac­cord­ing to the Chi­nese Academy of So­cial Sci­ences, China’s la­bor force aged 15 to 59 will amount to 900 mil­lion by the year of 2020, a fig­ure that could later de­cline.

Li said the scale and level of Chi­nese prod­ucts and ser­vices may en­joy a big im­prove­ment if the la­bor force can mas­ter “medium- and high-level” skills.

The Chi­nese govern­ment is­sued guide­lines last Fe­bru­ary that clar­i­fied a goal of hav­ing 38.3 mil­lion vo­ca­tional ed­u­ca­tion grad­u­ates by 2020. About 600 uni­ver­si­ties in China may be trans­formed into vo­ca­tional schools, ac­cord­ing to the sched­ule.

“Just like Brazil, China is in a tran­si­tion pe­riod and needs many more highly qual­i­fied work­ers. I think trans­fer­ring 600 uni­ver­si­ties into vo­ca­tional in­sti­tutes can help pro­vide enough qual­i­fied work­ers,” Qiao said.

Brazil’s first tech­ni­cal in­sti­tute was built in 1909. Af­ter years of de­vel­op­ment, the federal govern­ment now runs more than 400 tech­ni­cal in­sti­tutes with 150 new ones un­der con­struc­tion. The to­tal num­ber tripled in the last few years.

Such an in­crease, ac­cord­ing to an an­nual re­port from UNESCO in 2010, is to meet the need for vo­ca­tional train­ing in ar­eas of ser­vices, in­dus­try and agri­cul­ture. Brazil is un­der­go­ing large in­fra­struc­ture projects and its nat­u­ral re­source in­dus­try is boom­ing be­cause of the Li­bra oil field, the coun­try’s largest oil find dis­cov­ered last year.

“Brazil’s vo­ca­tional ed­u­ca­tion al­lows the in­volve­ment of pri­vate en­ter­prises and com­pa­nies which can help train the work­ers they need in the fu­ture. Such an ar­range­ment guar­an­tees that stu­dents can find jobs much more eas­ily,” Qiao said.

“Many Chi­nese stu­dents find there is a gap be­tween what they learned and what so­ci­ety needs af­ter they grad­u­ate. There are many good stu­dents but they lack pro­fes­sional train­ing. This is where China can learn from Brazil,” she added.

PRO­VIDED TO CHINA DAILY

Qiao Jianzhen (right), who has won the Medal of La­bor of Brazil, poses with An­to­nio Al­bu­querq, spe­cial rep­re­sen­ta­tive from the Brazil­ian Min­istry of La­bor, in Rio de Janeiro on June 11.

ZHANG FAN SAO PAULO JOUR­NAL

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