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Belt, Road lay development path for China's vocational colleges

By Zhao Xinying | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2017-07-16 17:12

China's vocational colleges are gaining popularity among international students in developing countries, largely thanks to the Belt and Road Initiative, new research suggests.

Vocational schools welcomed 7,000 overseas students last year, according to the sixth Annual Report on the Education Quality of Vocational Colleges in China released on Saturday.

The report said "many are from countries involved in the initiative", though it didn't specify what proportion they accounted for.

Although the figure is minimal compared with the total number of international students in China last year — 442,000 — it's still a leap up from the situation in 2015, when about 3,800 overseas students were enrolled at vocational colleges.

"It indicates that China's vocational colleges, which bring vocational education and higher education together to add to a graduate's competitiveness in the job market, are gaining popularity in developing countries," said Ma Shuchao, former deputy director of Shanghai Academy of Educational Sciences, which produces the annual report with research company MyCOS.

As the initiative is pushed forward and more Chinese enterprise go abroad, he predicted that vocational colleges will have more opportunities to develop, especially those with strengths in nurturing talent for industries such as high-speed rail, bioenergy and telecommunications.

"The colleges will expand their international impact and become part of China's soft power if they seize the opportunities," Ma added.

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