Published: 11:34, February 21, 2024 | Updated: 11:34, February 21, 2024
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China, Thailand set up engineering college
By ​Yang Cheng in Tianjin

An engineering college joint venture between Chinese and Thai universities is set to usher in a novel model for vocational and technological education in Thailand and advance China's global standing.

Inaugurated at a ceremony in Nakhon Sawan, Thailand, on Jan 27, it represents a significant step forward in internationalizing Chinese vocational education.

The Engineering College, established by Tianjin Bohai Vocational Technical College and Nakhon Sawan Rajabhat University, will offer four-year diploma courses with bilingual instruction, providing both Chinese and Thai students with unique study and vocational practice opportunities in both countries.

The program's initial phase, offering a major in new energy vehicles, will open its doors to students from May onward.

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"The two parties will collaborate on curriculum design, develop international teaching resources, and engineering practice projects, further enhancing China-Thai friendship," said Chairat Pranee, president of Nakhon Sawan Rajabhat University.

Wei Bingju, secretary of the Party committee at Tianjin Bohai Vocational Technical College, said: "We aim to cultivate a cadre of high-caliber international technical elites, develop several high-level bilingual courses and significantly enrich education resources."

This initiative forms part of a broader effort by the Ministry of Education and the Tianjin government to explore modern vocational and technological education reforms, and follows the launch of the globally renowned Luban Workshops in Thailand in 2016.There are now 27 Luban training facilities, spread across 25 countries.

The Engineering College will offer a different model.

Named after Lu Ban, an ancient Chinese woodcraft master, the workshops have gained popularity in recent years, becoming a focal point of Chinese efforts to promote international cooperation in vocational education.

Most Luban Workshops previously offered periodic training, with only a few providing diplomas. Most Chinese teachers left the workshops after several years of training, with foreign teachers then continuing the courses. Additionally, the workshops did not offer Chinese language training.

Instead of periodic training programs, the Engineering College will provide full four-year diploma courses with joint enrollment and training, facilitating a deeper exchange of teaching staff, course integration and communication channels.

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The model has garnered support from key figures in Thailand's vocational education sector.

The principal of Ayutthaya Technical College, where the first Luban Workshop in the world was established, expressed her appreciation for the new model at the inauguration ceremony, along with her predecessor.

"I have witnessed the day-today vocational education in China and deeply appreciate the Tianjin college's unremitting efforts," principal Mayuree Sriraboot said.

Former principal Jarun Youbrum said: "I have enjoyed a delightful collaboration with the Tianjin Bohai Vocational Technological College throughout my career and will continue to support its new initiatives in Thailand for the rest of my life."

yangcheng@chinadaily.com.cn