By Yang Yan
Lu Ban isan ancient Chinese woodcraft master who represents the Chinese tradition and spirit of craftsmanship.
The Luban Workshop, a Chinese vocational training program, is exactly named after this outstanding Chinese man. It aims to nurture workmen around the world that are highly skillful, professional and innovative.
The program was initiated and firstly implemented by the government of Tianjin municipality. Following the spirit of craftsmanship of Lu Ban, it shares with other countries China’s vocational education models and vocational skills, and cultivates competitive local skilled talents.
It energizes the cooperation between Chinese schools and foreign educational institutions, enterprises and governments, paving a new path of development featuring joint contribution and shared benefits.
On March 8, 2016, the Tianjin Bohai Vocational Technical College, sponsored by Tianjin Bohai Chemical Industry (Group) Company Limited, set up the first Luban Workshop outside China in the Ayutthaya Technical College Thailand. The workshop has increased the number of majors from one to six, and all of the six majors have been endorsed by the Thai Ministry of Education and included in Thailand’s national education system. In the following two years, over 2,000 students received vocational training there.
Besides, the Chinese vocational training program has also been launched in more than 20 countries including the UK, Egypt, Cambodia, Portugal, Djibouti and Kenya, shaping a multi-tier international vocational training system that covers vocational middle and high schools, as well as application-oriented bachelor’s and master’s degree programs.
As a new international cooperation project of vocational education, the Luban Workshop is based on the outstanding achievements of China’s vocational education reform and development, and carries the advanced Chinese vocational education philosophy. It has systematic training for overseas teachers, adopts standards and equipment in line with frontier technologies, vocational skill competitions and qualifications, and offers bilingual courses, so as to ensure that all workshops under the program aim at the same goal and are standardized.
The Luban Workshop conforms to the demand for industrial development in host countries and has nurtured a big number of local skilled workers that are urgently needed in these countries’ economic and social development.
According to incomplete statistics, over 50 majors have been offered under Chinese-foreign cooperation within the framework of the program, training 9,000 students with degrees for host countries and training 18,000 people for local communities. Many young people in host countries have secured high-quality jobs.
Practices have proved that the Luban Workshop has significantly improved the capability of vocational education in host countries, thus realizing win-win results.
Joe Mucheru, head of the Kenyan Ministry of Information Communications and Technology, believes that the cloud computing and information security training developed by the Luban Workshop is vital for Kenya’s development of information technologies.
Afifa Shajia Awais, education attache of the Embassy of Pakistan in China, said Pakistan needs massive technicians in artificial intelligence, cyber security and intelligent technology to assist the country’s industrialization, and the Luban Workshop is exactly an example of Pakistan-China cooperation.
Luban Workshop is not just a unilateral education provider, but involves two-way exchanges such as student exchange and mutual recognition of academic qualifications.
By launching short-term mutual visits and exchanges between Chinese and foreign teachers and students, and through international skills and vocational competitions, the program has constantly deepened cooperation between Chinese and foreign young students and teachers.
Academic events based on the program, such as forums on Chinese-foreign vocational education cooperation, have also promoted the reform and development of international vocational education from different perspectives.
Besides, Chinese and foreign teachers under the program have jointly carried out studies on international vocational education and worked to develop relevant resources to comprehensively improve their capability in vocational training.
Friendship, which derives from close contact between the people, holds the key to sound state-to-state relations. Over the past seven years, the Luban Workshop has been committed to mutual learning, serving socioeconomic development of host countries and promoting international capacity production. It has built a bridge of cultural and people-to-people communication between China and foreign countries, and witnessed numerous stories of friendship. In the future, the program will keep playing an important role and promote the building of a community with a shared future for mankind.