“To supply Interdisciplinary Talents for Building the ‘Belt and Road’”

[Source]    People’s Daily [Time]    2018-10-22 09:09:56 

“By jointly building the Maritime Silk Road of the 21st Century, China, Thailand and other participating countries will share opportunities and cope with challenges to achieve common development and prosperity together…” At the Maritime Silk Road Confucius Institute in Bangkok, Cai Xia, a teacher, was explaining the “Belt and Road” to her students. “The lectures have cultivated a keen interest in the “Belt and Road” among the Thai and Cambodian students in the class, who hope to learn more about China and the future development of their own countries.” Cai told the journalist.

The Maritime Silk Road Confucius Institute was established in June 2015 by Tianjin Normal University and Dhurakij Pundit University. Since its inception more than three years ago, the Institute has cooperated with many colleges and government departments in Thailand, the Philippines and other countries, and its registered students have numbered over 4,000.

At present, the Thai government is implementing the “Thailand 4.0” development strategy and integrating it with the Belt and Road Initiative. This has increased the demand for talents, especially in China-Thailand cooperative projects in rail transportation, science and technology, tourism, transportation and logistics. There is now in Thailand an urgent need for interdisciplinary talents who have both language skills and technological expertise. The Institute has made good use of this opportunity, and has devised a new pattern of “Chinese + Vocation” to cultivate compound talents. Sumret, Principal of the Fifth Zone in the Northeastern Region of Thai Vocational Education Committee, told the journalist, “The Maritime Silk Road Confucius Institute combines technological expertise with Chinese language, thus providing more job opportunities for our students.”

Promoted by the Maritime Silk Road Confucius Institute, the Tianjin Municipal Government grants 35 special scholarships to Thai vocational school students each year to support the training of talents needed for the “Belt and Road”. Up to now, the Confucius Institute has signed cooperation agreements with 61 vocational colleges in Thailand, and selected 88 students to study in China. The first group of them has already graduated. Tanet, a student from Udon Thani Province, majored in high-speed rail technology-high-speed EMU driving and maintenance. “China leads the world in high-speed rail technology. Now Thailand is also building high-speed rails. I hope to learn more techniques and gain more experience and hope to get a job in related fields in my country after graduation.” Thani said that, after finishing the scholarship program, he furthered his education in automation technology in Tianjin Sino-German University of Applied Sciences. He will continue to pursue a graduate program in high-speed rail technology in China.

In addition, in September 2017, the Maritime Silk Road Confucius Institute signed an agreement with Hainan Cihang Charity Foundation and Sanya Aviation & Tourism Vocational College to enroll Thai students to participate in aviation service training. 30 trainees have received training in Sanya, and 8 of them have been hired by HNA Group. Ben Phi, a student from Nakhon Pathom Province, was one of the lucky ones. She told the journalist, “My dream of becoming a flight attendant has come true. I have a good salary, I can help my family, and I can go to many places.”

The construction of the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) is a priority of the “Thailand 4.0” development strategy and a key project integrating with the “Belt and Road”. At present, a large number of Chinese-funded enterprises have entered the EEC Zone. In order to promote the integration of the EEC construction with the Belt and Road Initiative, the Maritime Silk Road Confucius Institute has had close cooperation with the EEC Special Economic Zone Committee, offered Chinese training courses to EEC officials as well as services in translation, interpreting and translation assessment. The Institute will also set up a “Chinese + E-Commerce” course next year to provide Chinese language training for small and medium-sized enterprise owners in the EEC Zone. “We are learning Chinese not only out of our interest, but also for our job needs,” said Anukun, an official of the EEC Special Economic Zone Committee.

“In addition to meeting the Thai people’s needs for learning Chinese language and learning about Chinese culture, the Institute has also been committed to enhancing the understanding of the “Belt and Road” among people in Thailand and other participating countries, and supplying interdisciplinary talents for building the ‘Belt and Road’,” said Wang Shangxue, Chinese Acting Director of the Maritime Silk Road Confucius Institute.

(Story by Ding Zi and Lin Rui, People’s Daily, Page 21, October 15th, 2018)

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