Swiss Vocational Training Model Could Work in China, Expert Says

by swisscham in Culture & Society

China plans to reform its vocational education system to develop the skilled workers it needs for innovation and upgrading production. But unlike developed countries like Germany and Switzerland, where vocational education has long been seen as an educational opportunity equivalent to an academic education, China has to overcome several institutional and cultural challenges hindering change, says an expert on vocational education in Switzerland. The key to developing quality vocational education is to let the companies play the lead role, not the government or schools, says Uschi Backes-Gellner, a professor at the University of Zurich in Switzerland, who specializes in the economics of education and training policies. In a recent interview with Caixin at the Sino-Swiss Economic Forum 2014 in Beijing, Backes-Gellner talked about Switzerland’s unique vocational education system, the challenges facing China and possible way of implementing the model in this country. Excerpts of that interview follow.

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