Guangxi Zhuang, in southern China, is renowned for its natural beauty, making it a prime tourist destination. Its burgeoning economy may also make it a destination for ORT, as its need for a highly trained workforce increases.
ORT’s expertise in professional training has been discussed in a meeting between a delegation of foreign affairs officials from the autonomous region and World ORT professionals in London.
“It was an exploratory meeting in which we got to know each other,” said World ORT Chief Operating Officer Dan Green. “They expressed admiration for our educational model. Perhaps this will be the start of greater cooperation – time will tell.”
Guangxi’s 50 million people produce a GDP per capita of $5,700, more than double that of neighbouring Vietnam. The establishment of the Beibu Gulf Economic Zone in 2008, which serves as a focus for China-ASEAN cooperation, promises further economic development but has also increased demand for professionals in heavy industries as well as the finance, tourism, logistics and marine industries.
“The delegation was particularly interested in modern, professional training, which may be an area where ORT expertise in France, Israel, Uruguay and Russia can be applied,” said Vladimir Dribinskiy, World ORT’s Chief Program Officer.
World ORT’s connection with China stretches back to 1941 when it opened workshops in Shanghai for Jewish refugees, providing training in building trades, electricity, locksmithing and carpentry. In the 1990s, the World Bank backed World ORT international development programmes in the country.
In recent years, ORT Strasbourg has been forging links with the People’s Republic, strengthening its International Trade curriculum by signing a cooperation agreement with Nanjing Trianjiabing High School. The agreement paves the way for student exchanges as well as protracted stays in Strasbourg for Chinese teachers to improve their foreign language skills while assisting ORT staff who teach Mandarin to post-high school students.
ORT Uruguay University has been hosting Spanish-language students from China’s Harbin Normal University for the past six years. And in 2015, ORT Uruguay signed a memorandum of understanding with the University of Jinan to enable student exchanges and the carrying out of joint research projects and conferences. This year, it signed a memorandum of understanding with Beijing Foreign Studies University for general academic collaboration.