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”.


“Smart Education China” in the German Chamber Ticker

Since the Chinese government launched the Reform and Openingup policy in 1978, an increasing number of German and Western companies are looking for qualified graduates in China to meet the growing demand for skilled employees. Meanwhile, the quality of education in China is constantly improving. The popularity of higher education has helped ensure talent competency in our society[…]

Read the complete article .

New strategies in the Chinese “War for Talents”

“In a cooperative study with the East China Normal University (ECNU), SEDLÁK & PARTNER was able to showcase that Western companies are not satisfied with the professional qualification of Chinese graduates.It is not primarily technical skills that Chinese graduates lack. It is rather the methodical and social competences that are not sufficiently trained which makes it difficult for young professionals to successfully and effectively implement their knowledge in the business practice. In particular in Western companies cultural differences often lead to the fact that young professional are not able to deploy their full potential.[…]”

Read more about the here.


Cooperative Partners

ECNU – East China Normal University
DCW – Deutsch-Chinesische Wirtschaftsvereinigung e.V.

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