Luban Workshop——China’s vocational education going global

Source: China Education Daily

The National Vocational Education Week 2018 has seen a series of memorable highlights, including a robotic mouse maze competition joined by contestants from countries including Indonesia, Thailand and India, and an innovation achievements fair organized by students from China and ASEAN countries. Also, a satellite National Vocational Students Skills Competition 2018 was held in parallel in Thailand.

All of the abovementioned events were sponsored by or closely related to one project named the Luban Workshop. It is a project launched by the Tianjin government, designed to provide state-of-the-art technical and vocational training, promote modern vocational education reforms, enhance collaboration among vocational schools around the world, and thus better serve the purpose of the Belt and Road Initiative. The project is named after LU ban, the father of Chinese architecture from around the 4th century B.C.

Luban Workshop in Thailand

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. In the following two years, over 2,000 students received vocational training there.

“Apart from local students from Thailand, we also have students from Indonesia, Malaysia and Cambodia etc. Largely thanks to the founding of Luban Workshop in our college, our students made a record-breaking performance in the ASEAN Skills Competition and won the first prize in the competition’s automotive technology section,” said the president of the Ayutthaya Technical College Thailand.

Luban Workshop is not just a unilateral education provider, but involves two-way exchanges such as student exchange and mutual recognition of academic qualifications. Since 2016 some students and faculty members from Thailand have been sent to study at the Tianjin Bohai Vocational Technical College. In the foreseeable future, adequately trained professionals from Thailand will be able to seek job opportunities in China and vice versa.

Luban Workshop in Thailand also helps to facilitate education-industry collaboration. For example, Tianjin Sena Technology Co., Ltd. has signed a technology service agreement with the Ayutthaya Technical College Thailand, while Tianjin Qicheng Technology Co. has signed a cooperation agreement on Engineering Practice Innovation Project (EPIP) with the Ayutthaya Technical College Thailand and a Vietnamese vocational school.

Luban Workshop in other countries

On May 18, 2017, the Tianjin School of Commerce, sponsored by Tianjin Food Group Co., Ltd., set up a Luban Workshop in Britain’s Chichester College, and succeeded in incorporating its professional training standards into Britain’s national vocational qualification framework.

On December 12, 2017, Tianjin Dongli District Vocational Education Center set up a Luban Workshop in Ponorogo Vocational School in East Java, Indonesia, which specializes in the areas of automotive repair and maintenance, smart manufacturing and new energies, and is dedicated to promoting the EPIP. In 2018, a Tianjin-East Java vocational education center was set up to cement the cooperation between the two countries in EPIP theoretical research, educational reforms and faculty training.

The road ahead for Luban Workshop

In 2018, Tianjin government plans to set up a research and promotion center dedicated to facilitate Luban Workshop’s going-global strategies. The Luban Workshop in Thailand will be treated as a pilot center, and efforts will be made to further the development of Luban Workshops in Britain, India and Indonesia. Also, more support will be given to different vocational education institutes in Tianjin to establish Luban Workshops in Cambodia, Pakistan and African countries, while Europe and America will be the next destinations.