In order to implement the Chinese government’s Belt and Road initiative and respond to the call for "Chinese Vocational Education to Go Global", spread Chinese culture, and promote the connection of common people's minds, the vice president of the Open University of China (OUC),Yang Xiaotang, and his delegation, were invited to visit S. Toraighyrov Pavlodar State University (PSU) of Kazakhstan, NFC Kazakhstan LTD, the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (Almaty) JSC, Tajik Technical University (TTU), and Tajikistan Palute LTD from 21-28 November, 2018. The delegation reached preliminary cooperation intentions.

On 22 November, the delegation visited the PSU. The president of PSU, Ms. Gaukhar Galymovna, led 15 heads of its schools and departments to meet with the representatives of the OUC. Both sides introduced their basic situation. The PSU side expressed great interest in the co-construction of a Chinese language learning centre and discussed the operation model, teachers, equipment, and funds needed. After the dsicussion, PSU drafted a memorandum of cooperation on cooperative research, the exchange of visiting scholars and students, the co-sponsorship of international conferences, and the co-construction of a Chinese language learning centre. The two universities said that they would complete the signing of the memorandum in the near future.

On 24 November, the delegation held a meeting with Zhang Jianjun, the head of NFC Kazakhstan LTD, and Zhang Wenjian, deputy general manager of ICBC (Almaty) JSC. All those present agreed that Chinese enterprises abroad urgently need professionals who have a firm grasp of both technology and Chinese-Russian languages. They hope that the OUC will send students with vocational skills to Kazakhstan to study the language and, in return, they will provide the students with employment opportunities. Yang Xiaotang said that the demand of enterprises is consistent with the goal and content of the OUC's "Long March Belt" Educational Project Targeted at Alleviating Poverty, that is to say, offering complimentary training for the skilled personnel urgently needed by industry and enterprises, and cooperating with relevant enterprises in industries to recruit students from poverty-stricken counties free of charge and provide them with employment opportunities. Yang Xiaotang also introduced the "Long March Belt" Educational Project Targeted at Alleviating Poverty, which the OUC launched in April 2017. He said that the OUC is willing to select outstanding students from the "Long March Belt" project to study in Kazakhstan's universities and train a batch of professionals who are willing and able to stay behind and work for enterprises stationed abroad.

On 26 November, the delegation visited TTU. President Odinazoda and vice president Madadamon received the delegation. TTU representatives mentioned that they have established cooperative relations with North China Electric Power University, China University of Petroleum, and Henan University of Economics and Law. The OUC is their fourth Chinese cooperative university and the first distance open education institution. They expressed great interest in the OUC distance learning model and said that they are willing to work together to establish the OUC’s Tajikistan learning centre. The Tajik side also proposed that the learning centre should not only focus on Chinese language teaching, but also on engineering specialties. It should organise Tajik students to take online HSK examinations so that Tajik students can obtain Chinese language proficiency test certificates without going abroad. The delegation then visited the university's central control room, the server room, the video conference room, and the computer examination centre, and inspected the network equipment and the network operation, providing a reference for the future construction of the learning centre.

On 27 November, the delegation visited Palute LTD and held talks with chairman Wang Gen and general manager Zhang Gang. During the meeting, Yang Xiaotang pointed out that, as a secondary company of NFC, Palute LTD could carry out a vocational education pilot scheme in the park zone of NFC by referring to the model used by the OUC’s Zambia Learning Centre. This will provide support for the company from the perspectives of education and language, which will not only help Chinese companies abroad resolve development problems but also promote the dissemination of Chinese culture. The heads of Palute LTD agreed with the proposal, believing that the project would become an important driving force for Chinese enterprises to operate abroad and an important channel for spreading Chinese culture and promoting the common feelings of the people. Upon viewing the textbook 100 Sentences for Industrial Chinese (Trial Edition), which was jointly compiled and published by the OUC’s Chinese Language Centre and the OUC Press for the three majors of welding, mining and metallurgy, and maintenance, they praised the contributions made by the OUC to the development of overseas enterprises funded by Chinese investors.

PSU is one of the largest universities in Kazakhstan. It is the undisputed leader among Pavlodar educational institutions in terms of the number of students and teaching quality. It offers 66 undergraduate majors, 44 postgraduate majors, and four doctoral majors and its scientific research work consists of 41 departments, 13 research practice centres, the "Orchis" science park, a regional technology innovation and technology transfer centre, and a science and technology centre for college students.

TTU, formerly known as Stalinabad Polytechnical University, was founded in 1956. TTU was the first higher education institution in Tajikistan. It was renamed TTU in 1961. The university has seven departments and two colleges, including the Energy Engineering Department, the Information and Communication Engineering Department, the Innovative Technology Department, the Architecture Department, the Transportation Department, the Transportation, the Communication and Management Department, the Industrial Technology Department, Khujand Polytechnical Institute and Dushanbe Technical College.

By Dai Jing,OUC