Since decades there are extensive educational partnerships, between many different schools, institutes and companies in China and Germany. As a rule, most of these partnerships couldn’t survive long after the projects end. When it comes to the regular education process and the project partners are not in place anymore, most projects are dying and all processes falling back to the status before. If these educational projects should be continued with long-lasting effect in high quality and with many students, quality assurance processes must be taken into account which allow the responsible persons to measure and control the quality and to be capable of taking suitable measures for the improvement.
During the past years the Chinese government spent more on the equipment of the schools, which is the easiest quality factor that can be achieved. This is in most schools in China at a very good level now. However, the improvement of software is still having long way to go.
With respect to the documents and media Germany, can play an important role. Here the German curriculum and the philosophy, how we understand vocational education, can be well applied. The special, the German dual professional education, lies not in a detail worked out documentation of the vocational education documents, but in its openness and in its focus on the essentials. This is the education of young people to be able to do the job. The German system encourages the students to work independently and responsibly and has a close link to the reality. This, on the other hand, is the biggest deficit of the schools in China.
From my view suitable faculty is the most important and critical factor for high-quality vocational education. In contrast to the equipment, suitable teachers cannot be just bought on the market. Teachers have to be developed to meet the requirements. The qualification of the teachers often does not meet the needs of the market. Missing working experience and outdated knowledge are bad preconditions for a high-quality training and a good preparation for the students. This becomes during the next years the probably biggest challenge for the vocational education. Here continuing education is not sufficient. Suitable regulations must give orientation to the teachers and supporting teaching quality. Evaluation criteria must be aligned with benchmark competences to develop competences instead of knowledge. This is not just a big step in vocational education but also a change in the culture of teaching and learning in the Chinese school system in general.
Many of the past vocational education projects gave an important contribution to a positive development. Nevertheless, to develop vocational education sustainable and scalable we must shift our focus away from developing more and more single lighthouse projects. We have to develop quality management systems which are focusing on the key factors in vocational education and have to follow-up strictly. Focusing on quality must be a benefit for the school, the teachers and finally for the students.
What should be the role of the German educational partners? Beside qualification measures, the German educational institutes should be more focusing on establishment of quality standards, controlling and certification. Only with standards of both partner countries vocational education is comparable and everybody involved in the process to develop a benchmark vocational system in China can work in a quality framework. Decision makers at schools or politicians must be able to monitor and compare the outcome and finally take actions for improvement.
In particular in China scalability is a core factor which is not as critical in other countries. To have a real influence on the job market, many trainees must be developed in a short period of time. The job market needs these professional forces urgently. All processes must make sure that also with thousands of students, an increase of the quality is possible.
We of IVE have the aim to offer a system that German and Chinese partners can use as a platform for there strategical development of high quality professional vocational educational.