by Yang Zhou, Guo Xinhui, Thana Nuntavoranut
AYUTTHAYA, Thailand, May 5 (Xinhua) -- In order to develop talents, engineers for the China-Thailand cooperation and Thailand's future development, governments and educational institutes of the two countries cooperated to establish the first-ever Lu Ban Workshop in Thailand in 2016. Now the expanding workshop has already made some achievements.
"Thanks for Lu Ban Workshop, I achieved a lot," said 21-year-old Thai student Nattawut Tusawut at the Lu Ban Workshop, a two-story building inside Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya Technical College in Ayutthaya province, some 80-km north of capital Bangkok.
After a three-year study in Mandarin and mechatronics in Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya Technical College and Tianjin International Chinese College, Tianjin Bohai Vocational Technical College of China, Nattawut has received three offers from China-invested companies in Thailand.
"I studied mechatronics and my ability to speak Chinese matches the needs of many China-invested companies in Thailand," Nattawut explained the reason why he is competitive saying he has decided to join a Chinese company investing in Ayutthaya.
Although he knows little about Lu Ban, he said he loved the workshop, especially a set of computer numerical control machine tools among other tools and equipment donated by China.
Nattawut represents the latest batch of students educated at Lu Ban Workshop.
On March 8, 2016, Tianjin Bohai Vocational Technical College of China set up the first Lu Ban Workshop outside China in the Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya Technical College.
The workshop is named after Lu Ban, an ancient Chinese craftsman that represents the Chinese tradition of craftsmanship spirit.
There are different zones in the workshop, such as biomorphic robotics learning zone, automated production line teaching zone, teaching and exchange zone for Chinese and Thai teachers, Internet of Things lab.
The workshop, equipped with remote education facilities, enable Thai students here to attend any course offered by the Chinese vocational college through a big screen.
Jarun Youbrum, director of the Thai vocational school, is proud of the workshop and he still remembers clearly the date when the workshop was established.
"Thanks to equipment in the Lu Ban workshop supported by our Chinese counterpart, we are the leading vocational college in Thailand," Jarun told Xinhua.
He explained the operation of the workshop, such as a series of equipment explaining mechanical principles with descriptions in Thai and Chinese language. Bilingual interpretation helps students understand the mechanical principles more easily and more effectively than old teaching methods.
Director Jarun noted that the Tianjin municipality offered full scholarships for students of his college to study in China and they would be granted certificates of both schools when they finished all the courses. Nattawut graduated on April 29 with both Thai and Chinese certificates.
Director Jarun would not forget the day on July 20, 2018, which marks the establishment of Tianjin Railway Technical and Vocational College Center of the Lu Ban Workshop.
The center, sponsored by Tianjin Railway Technical and Vocational College, covers the second floor of the Lu Ban Workshop. It is the first overseas training center for high-speed railway technical talents, providing degree education, training services, etc.
According to Jarun and Tianjin Railway Technical and Vocational College, the center is conducted in two phases with the 4.8 million-yuan first phase completed in 2018 helping to develop two majors, High-Speed Railway EMU Maintenance Technology and High-Speed Railway Automatic Signaling Control, and four zones, being CRH380B Teaching Zone, CTCS Teaching Zone, Air Class Teaching Zone, and Skill Contest and Equipment Research & Development Zone.
For the second phase, two other majors and more zones are now being prepared at the workshop.
In the center, there is an attention-grabbing simulation driving training platform.
"Now the train moves forward," Arthitaya Sapkum explained the operation of training platform while her classmates were operating the system. Arthitaya is a 20-year-old student from Ko Kha Industrial and Community Education College in the northern Thai province of Lampang.
There is a screen simulating the window in the locomotive of a high-speed train, and a panel controlling the train for students to practice the skill of driving.
Arthitaya and her friends, all from Ko Kha Industrial and Community Education College, were undertaking short-term training at the center of the Lu Ban Workshop.
"Studying here is good, we can easily understand how a train system is formed and how train works," she told Xinhua.
Her friend Raveeroj Sannarong is a big fan of the high-speed train. They both went to China for short-term training in Wuhan, capital of Hubei Province.
"I want to design high-speed train for Thailand one day," Raveeroj said.
Since there is no high-speed rail in Thailand, every teaching material, the equipment here in the center is provided by China, said Jarun, adding that those majors developed by the center are of great importance because they can generate talents and engineers for the future development of Thailand's high-speed rail.
Lu Ban Workshop and the center currently benefit not only students of Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya Technical College but also other colleges around the country as well, Director Jarun said. Thousands of teachers and students have undergone training courses or will come to visit here.
In the past three years, Lu Ban Workshop has helped Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya Technical College to strengthen their teaching and establish new majors from new energy car, Internet of Things to high-speed rail related majors.
Burawit, Natthaphum, Worawan and Onauma, aged around 18, are all admitted to study high-speed rail related major in China, during which they visited the Lu Ban Workshop.
They hoped they can come back to contribute to Thailand-China cooperation and the development of High-speed rail in Thailand.
"I think we should be a good example of Thailand-China cooperation on education and the implementation of Belt and Road Initiative in Thailand," Director Jarun said.