Initiative “Smart Education China“

An increasing number of western companies is looking for qualified graduates in China in order to meet the growing demand for skilled employees. Recent studies show that although there is a large amount of academics, at the same time, there is a considerable shortness of qualified personnel. Often, school and university graduates don’t fulfill the expectations of western companies.

The initiative of “Smart Education China” starts from a strong will to optimize the Chinese education system. The project is carried out by  ECNU (East China Normal University), the second-largest university for education in China with headquarters in Shanghai, and  SEDLÁK & PARTNER International Consulting Group. Additionally, this project  is supported by its cooperative partner DCW (German-Chinese Business Association). This is a non-profit project.

Research & study

The main goal of this project is to significantly increase the qualification of graduates in China in the medium term to meet the growing demand for qualified personnel. In the context of this initiative, a large-scale survey has been carried out in the first place regarding the expectations of western companies towards graduates in China. The online survey  was focused on competences that western companies expect from Chinese graduates. Besides the expectations (needs) of these companies, the survey also identified the current degree of fulfillment (satisfaction). Thus, the question was  answered in how far Chinese graduates were already fulfilling the expectations and where  the room was shown for improvement.
The analysis differentiates between three organizational areas and degrees:

  • Research and development
  • Non-technical functions
  • Technical functions

This division was  based on the specific characteristics of the education system and labor market in China. It allowed a derivation of concrete actions tailored to the Chinese educational system. The study seeked to demonstrate the difference between the current quality of graduates in China and the expectations of western companies that operate in China. The collected data was analyzed and processed by SEDLÁK & PARTNER in close cooperation with education experts in China.

The results of the study have been presented to the Ministry of Education in Beijing by  ECNU in the context of the initiative “Smart Education China”.

China Smart School Award

Based on the research results, respective reformatory measures for the optimization of  participating schools are to be developed and implemented in cooperation with the Ministry of Education in Beijing Thereafter, the China Smart School Award will be launched to support these innovatory measures. Observation and evaluation patterns for the Award will be developed with education experts from China and Germany under consideration of the survey results and specific cultural requirements in China. Initially, around 300 primary, secondary, and vocational schools in Shanghai, Jiangsu, Shandong, Zhejiang, Anhui, Henan, Fujian, Hunan and Chongqing will participate in the competition for the China Smart School Award. Thereafter, it will be decided in which further provinces the award will be rolled out.

Cooperation Partners

ECNU – East China Normal University
DCW – German-Chinese Business Association

Project Members

S&P Project Members “Smart Education China“

ECNU Project Members “Smart Education China“

Background Information “Smart Education China”

The essence of smarter education is to create intelligent environments by using smart technologies, so that smart pedagogies can be facilitated as to provide personalized learning services and empower learners, and thus talents of wisdom who have better value orientation, higher thinking quality, and stronger conduct ability could be fostered.

Zhu Zhiting, 2012


The school in China should be based on a system that considers equality, quality and innovation to the same extent:

Equality: Every student has the same opportunity to study
Quality: The evaluation changes from a score-driven system to a comprehensive assessment system
Innovation: From knowledge transmitting to hands-on competence training

Today’s rather inflexible curriculums and the rigid education system have to be restructured. The traditional teaching approaches based on direct instruction or lecturing should be replaced by a student-centered teaching in which the teacher is regarded more as a coach. Teachers should be able to organize self-study, research projects, and collaborative study events for the students. The students should be able to select learning subjects based on their interests and develop their practical competences

Theses from Prof. Dr. Zhu regarding “Smart Education China“

  • Smart e-learning environment could decrease learners’ cognitive load, and thus enable learners focus on sense making and facilitate ontology construction
  • Smart e-learning environment could deepen and extend learners’ learning experience, and thus help learners development in an all-round way (affectively, intellectually, physically)
  • Smart e-learning environment enable learners to learn flexibly and to work collaboratively, and thus it could foster the development of personality and collective intelligence
  • Smart e-learning environment could provide better learning support tailored for learners, so that it could improve learners’ expectations
Prof. Dr. Zhu