Creative Education
2012. Vol.3, No.7, 1184-1187
Published Online November 2012 in SciRes (
Copyright © 2012 SciRe s .
Promoting the Quality of Chinese Higher Vocational Education by
General Education
Yongbo Lai1,2, Hongyao Ni3,4
1Department of Electrical Engineering, Jiangsu College of Information Technology, W uxi, China
2College of Science and Engineering, City University of Hong Kong, K o wl oo n , HongKong, China
3Department of Business, Nantong Textile Vocational Technology College, Nantong, China
4Department of Decision Sciences & Managerial Economics, Chinese University of Hong Kong,
Shatin, HongKong, China
Email:, hyni@ ntt ec
Received September 20th, 2012; revised October 24th, 2012; accepted November 2nd, 2012
Due to the quality lack of Chinese higher vocational education, this paper analyzes the quality of the
higher vocational education, from the point of dominant and recessive qualities of cultivating talents re-
spectively. Based on the present situation of vocational education, this paper puts forward to apply the
general education of international advanced universities, to improve the quality of education, moreover,
proposed practical ways to implement intrinsic quality development of higher vocational education in
Keywords: Higher Vocational Education; Dominant Quality; Recessive Quality; General Education
Chinese higher vocational education (CHVE) fits the social
needs as its mission, goes the work-learning process, runs the
way of school-enterprise cooperation, cultivates talents of high
technical abilities as its goal, for the basic posts of production,
construction, service and management. In order to achieve the
abilities of posts, CHVE designs the knowledge, quality struc-
ture and training programs of cultivating students, pays atten-
tion to the practical training. The graduates directly have work-
ing abilities, meanwhile, training relevant professional skills
and standards of the labor and social security departments. By
examining and identifying the vocational skills, the graduate
can get the corresponding degree certificates and occupational
qualifications (Ministry of Education of China, 2010).
Under the guidance of the aforementioned CHVE policies, in
the past 10 years, CHVE has made great achievements for the
development speed, effect and large scale of operating schools
in the world. But today, in the global information and interna-
tional economic development uncertain times, the graduate are
weak in thinking, solving problems, team working, communi-
cating, and dedicating spirit quality abilities, which cause gra-
duates hard to hunt a good job and enterprises difficult to find
talented people, although China is a manufacturing and service
industry powerful country. In the knowledge driven economy
era, the whole society requirements shift from the post skills of
higher vocational education oriented to the comprehensive
quality requirements (Lai & Wei, 2011). Except for skills, the
graduate should have a noble personality, social responsibility,
and make a living of wisdom in the society, all that is what
general education (GE) pursues goals. In the GE mode, the
curriculum designed for specialized technology and skills,
moreover, it improves the learners understanding of the life and
social values, as well as other relevant dedicating spirit (Sch-
neider, 2012).
From the international GE and universities curriculum re-
form practicing experience, comprehensive development of
people-oriented, which is an inevitable choice for universities
curriculum reform, also represents the quality education’s prac-
tice road for CHVE.
Quality Education
The quality education of CHVE is a kind of excellent per-
sons’ initiative activity, which obtained by the long time of
study-forming, finally changes into comprehensive professional
quality at the workplace, based on the professional quality of the
inner regulations and requirements, which contains professional
ethics, skills, behaviors, styles and consciousness, etc.
According to the student integrated embodiment and initia-
tives at the operating post, the professional quality education
can be broken down into two parts: dominant quality and reces-
sive quality education.
Dominant Profession al Quality Education
The dominant professional quality education of CHVE con-
sists in acquired skills of the graduate, which is dominant; this
quality can be obtained by training in the process of teaching,
and specifically—based on the school-enterprise cooperation,
union industrial technical experts and school staffs, it aims to
the social professional posts to make the talent training schemes,
to develop courses, and according to the educational system
layout to implement the teaching process (Lai, 2010). At pre-
sent, CHVE gets used to teaching and training in the school’s
classroom for two years, adding post practice in the cooperating
enterprises for one year, which is named “2 + 1” cultivating
mode. In view of the different skills requirements, normally it
takes vocational schools about 1600 - 2000 unit teaching times
to finish a total cultivating process.
Through that process, learning and training, the student can
Y. B. LAI, H. Y. NI
obtain knowledge and skills of professional quality, appropriate
to the post of manufacturing, service, management and mainte-
nance, etc. This kind of quality belongs to the external domi-
nant professional quality, it can be proved through the various
degree certificates, vocational certificates, or through the pro-
fessional test to verify, and it is easy to quantify, to evaluate,
and easy to obtain the skills further improvement in the limited
training time at workplace.
Recessive Professional Quality Education
The recessive professional quality education of CHVE con-
sists in obtaining professional ethics, working attitude, psycho-
logical anti-frustration, team spirit, moral sentiment, well state
of mind, independent abilities of life and work style, etc. (Jiao
& Lai, 2010).
This quality belongs to the nature of a person, with recessive
characteristics, not can be quantified, difficult to evaluate, it
would be difficult to get the recessive quality improvement in
the limited time, even if carried out teaching and training.
Moreover, the cultivating process cannot be accomplished by
one side alone of colleges, students and social enterprises,
which need the three parties cooperating with each other for
long time. At present, the major student of CHVE is of lowest
graduated qualifications, which come from the remainders after
the undergraduate education enrollment. In addition, as the stu-
dent come from the single-child family growth environment,
generally speaking, they have recessive common-mental fick-
leness, seeking quick success and instant benefits, self con-
straint deficiency, strong individual dependence in teamwork,
poor flexibility, lacking of dedicating spirit, effective interper-
sonal exchanges and other professional quality.
The current CHVE mode, which widespread offers the
course of political education, legal basis, entrepreneurial and
employment ideological guidance, Meanwhile, the CHVE in-
culcates professional norms in curriculum and post training,
practice the recessive professional quality education. Feedback
from employment information and overall evaluation, it is dif-
ficult to meet the requirement levels in the quality of personnel
Mutual Relationship
The relationship between the dominant quality and recessive
quality, the dominant quality is the external performance of
recessive quality, and the recessive is dominant quality’s inter-
nal driving force. Also in the study of the relationship, the do-
mestic and foreign scholars imaged it as the “iceberg theory”
(Nielsen, 2002), that is the dominant quality skills of CHVE
accounts for only one-eighth of the entire professional quality,
and the recessive quality accounts for seven-eighths as the hid-
den underwater part of the immersed iceberg. The magnificent
and ordinary life of the whole career is supported and promoted
to progress by the recessi ve professional quality.
From the quality education of the characteristic and relation-
ship, it can be concluded that the higher vocational education
should be positive and effective developing recessive quality
education for students and lay a solid foundation for broad career.
General Education and Practice
General Education
The GE is not only a kind of idea of the universities, also a
kind of talent training mode (Schneider, 2012). It is the main-
stream of international academic curriculum reform, has been
practiced for many years in the United States, and aims to give
students a broad humanities, arts, and scientific technology
subject, to cultivate the basic important intelligence and as a
citizen of social practice abilities; the mission of GE is devel-
oping the student-oriented, namely, having broad vision, liberal
spirit and graceful feeling, and is not just a talented person with
specialization of narrow field. In the GE mode, the student need
have comprehensive understanding about the professional
knowledge in the field of workplace, way of thinking, develop-
ing trend of history and master study methods, have a solid
professional foundation and the rational knowledge and ability
structure, at the same time, they can understand the important
value orientation of contemporary society, develop the com-
prehensive personal quality and have a broad knowledge view
(Van Dijk, 2001; Chen, 2006).
Based on the GE idea, the Hong Kong higher education “3 +
3 + 4” reform aims to help students develop a broad basic
knowledge and skills to deal with new challenges in the 21st
century globalization and increasingly complex social envi-
ronment. In September 2012, the university in Hong Kong will
enter new 4-year curriculum, according to the university strat-
egy plans one after another which started from 2005-2006, the
proposed vision as the foundation and according to the past
experience, the university meet the new century to design,
launch the new 4-year curriculum, carry out the reform of
higher education in Hong Kong in concepts and innovation
teaching methods. In the past several years almost all the uni-
versity staffs participated in the work. The hardest challenge to
the new thinking is to reconstruct the new curriculum design.
The basic principle of design and management courses is the
outcome-based approaches for this teaching reform (Leon,
Mann, & Pirola-Merlo, 2001). The new curriculum aims to let
the students share a series of common learning experience,
from the core courses to learn experience summary. The im-
portant element of the new curriculum will be more compre-
hensive in training students’ generic skills and pluralistic think-
ing; No matter majoring in what subjects that the college
graduate should be to have some skills and qualities, look for a
universal value, blend arts and science together focusing on
general, also make students have democratic social needed
moral and citizen consciousness, be helpful for personal growth
and development (Lai, 2010).
In the vocational transforming very frequent age, the GE
mode can train professional broad caliber talents, whom shift
more flexible at work. As the pre-President of Chinese univer-
sity of Hong Kong said “general education is key to teach stu-
dents how to self-study, ego growth, and now the world change
very fast, perhaps the teaching object would not be useful in a
few years later, tomorrow some industries might not exist,
therefore we want our students to possess some broad vision, so
that we can cope with changes soon after in the world”.
On the present situation, it is necessary and urgent that the
CHVE should reform colleges’ curriculum to promote the qual-
ity of education by GE model.
Practical Ways
CHVE has generally adopted the method of working process
of the German higher vocational education, in the career ori-
ented, which puts forward “obtain information, guidance plan,
Copyright © 2012 SciRe s . 1185
Y. B. LAI, H. Y. NI
Copyright © 2012 SciRe s .
practice plan, evaluate program” four phases of teaching proc-
ess (European Commission, 2008). The national vocational
education research center of U.S.A, pays attention to profes-
sional education of scientific researching and innovating, the
department of labor proposed “reasonable resources control,
interpersonal, information access, systematic comprehensive
analysis, multi-technology application” five abilities, including
“skills, thinking, conducting” three kinds of qualities (Wilson,
2010), all this fully display the value of GE in the new century;
The GE first concerns a person’s comprehensive quality educa-
tion, then to cultivate student as a professional people (Schnei-
der, 2012); Comparing with GE, the CHVE focuses on the lat-
ter, even though the graduate have expertise and specialize in
technology and skills, but lack of in intelligence, moral senti-
ment, character in all aspects for coordinating and full devel-
opment, resulting in the current CHVE mode. As a professional
people, who is insufficient in thinking and good at inquiry and
solving the question’s abilities, and could not active and effec-
tive participate in social and public affairs, it is weak as a social
sense of responsibility of citizen consciousness.
Education is general and constant, teaching development
needs to accord with person’s growth roads (Soto, 2010). To-
day, teaching reform, research and practice can’t separate the
history and international environment, and need a lot of local-
ization for the CHVE innovation.
The current CHVE operating mechanism is common imple-
mented by colleges uniting enterprises and society for person-
nel training. Refereeing the general education concepts to im-
prove the quality of CHVE, it should be integrated the enter-
prise culture and professional quality into the student’s practice
training, and regularly carried out the spirit of enterprise culture
studying by the teachers and the enterprise personnel depart-
ments or public relations departments, such as small team
workshops, skills contests, skills model selection and com-
mending meetings, cultivating students professional spirit, team
spirit and so on.
For the school curricula, the CHVE should add some courses
of humanities, social science, information science, interdisci-
plinary, and be offered as compulsory courses; The CHVE
should focus on cultivating the students’ interpersonal and ana-
lyzing the social problems abilities, shape theirs social respon-
sibilities. For example, a kind of practical training model is
given as Table 1 for the quality education of CHVE.
Nowadays, under an environment of economic information
and globalization, the effective time management is an essential
ability to complete post tasks, to control life rhythm, to make
good use of time, to work towards goals and not to consume
energy (Lai, 2010). It is difficult to foster the aforementioned
qualities in the current CHVE model. In view of the general
education concepts, the popular science and general curriculum
may be offered as elective courses, pay attention to enriching
students professional and knowledgeable horizon, that is, the
student can be mutual preliminary understanding different sub-
jects knowledge, think a problem from a more open mind and
multi-disciplinary perspecti ves.
For the social needs in China, the CHVE number of majors
increases every year, it is numerous that there are 14,000 or so
in 2011(Ministry of Education of China, 2010). There is no past
experience to refer in developing popular science general cur-
ricula, so the CHVE staff should work hard to exploit them.
Table 1.
A kind of practical training model.
Project of s chool-enterprise cooperation organize safety production competition activity
Quality education excellent good fair poor
role congnition
Role awareness
Recessive quality
Career mentality
team work
External image appearance
success rate
Dominant qua li t y
Professional skills
Y. B. LAI, H. Y. NI
In this paper, we proposed to apply the general education of
international universities, to improve the quality of China
higher vocational education. The quality education of CHVE
should become a social consensus, and general education
makes college students become educated elegant people.
Higher vocational education has the support of the country, all
of the people involved, there is social consensus, can do more
work. In our times, higher vocational quality education reform
and development should be based on the idea of general educa-
tion. The CHVE intrinsic quality education is committed to
nurturing and developing students’ talent and creating applica-
ble knowledge and skills to support social and economic ad-
This work was supported by the Jiangsu Overseas Research
& Training Program for University Prominent Young & Middle
aged Teachers & Presidents.
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