On 22nd May 2019, Pingdu, a county-level city known for its rich agricultural products located in the east of Shandong Peninsula in China, hosted around 300 guests from 14 countries for an anniversary celebration. For 30 years Pingdu’s Vocational Education and Training Center and Germany’s Hanns Seidel Foundation have been working on rural technical vocational education and training.
The anniversary was appreciated during the opening ceremony of the 3-day 2019 Qingdao China International Forum on Challenges and Prospects of Vocational Education for Rural Sustainable Development hosted by Qingdao Education Bureau and Hanns Seidel Foundation. But it was not only a look back but equally a glimpse at the future. The event kicked-off further internationalization of Pingdu’s Vocational Education and Training Center through a trilateral cooperation with Germany and Laos.
During the opening ceremony the three sides, represented by GIZ, the Qingdao Education Bureau and the Vocational Education Development Institute of Laos, signed a Strategic Action Plan on Sino-German-Laotian trilateral cooperation on rural technical vocational education and training. The plan envisages trainings for Laotian teachers and trainers for rural occupations in Pingdu’s Vocational Education and Training Center. In this way, the teachers and trainers from Pingdu who have received trainings from the Hanns Seidel Foundation in the past, will in return pass on their knowledge and experience to Laotian vocational school teachers.
Pingdu graduates from a ‘student’ to a ‘teacher’ on rural technical and vocational education and training. “A dual education system with Pingdu characteristics will start to go abroad from here”, said the chief of Qingdao Education Bureau, Mr. Liu Pengzhao, in his welcome address.
“After nearly forty years of trustful and successful bilateral cooperation where Germany accompanied China on its development path, we finally came together as equal partners to learn from each other’s experience and work on joint projects”, Mr. Klaus Supp, Director of the Division of China, Central Asia, East Asia, Laos and Cambodia of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development sent his congratulations in his opening speech. “We are now ready to utilize these experiences to support capacity building in third countries”.
The TVET sector in Laos “faces the challenges of keeping pace with economic and social development”, said Dr. Phouvieng Phoumilay, the director of Laos’ Vocational Education Development Institute. “Since China was faced with the same challenges a few years ago, especially in rural areas, it is very much in our interest in further adopting respective methods from China with the support of German expertise.”
This is exactly one of the key reasons that triangular cooperation is considered as an interesting and appealing mode of development cooperation by Mr. Hagen Ettner, the German Director of the Sino-German Center for Sustainable Development. “We can use complementarities and combine know-how, experiences and financial resources in joint projects.”
Two parallel pilot training courses in 2018 in which 20 vocational school teachers from Laos have been trained in Pingdu with the support of GIZ and Hanns Seidel Foundation illustrated added value. The Laotian Ministry for Education and Sports expressed in a letter to MofCom and BMZ its interest in this project earlier this month. The project will be officially launched after the political endorsement on government level.