From cloud computing to wind power technology: the Double High initiative and opportunities for Sino-British partnerships in the TVET sector

Regular readers may already be familiar with the “Double World-Class” project, launched in 2017 to raise the standards of China’s elite universities. Now, with the unveiling of the “Double High” plan, the Chinese government has turned its attention to the often overlooked technical and vocational education and training (TVET) sector.

The Double High plan aims to develop world-leading training providers in a wide range of fields and has a strong focus on internationalisation, offering new opportunities for international partnerships.

A large proportion of the TVET sector is made up of sub-degree institutions teaching up to junior college diploma (zhuanke / specialist) level. These vocational colleges have tended to be viewed as the poor relations of the degree-awarding universities and institutes which attract the brightest and best. The Double High plan aims to raise the status of these colleges both nationally and globally.

Double High

“Double High” stands for high­ level, higher vocational institutions. In December 2019, the Chinese Ministry of Education announced 197 vocational colleges and 135 key subject areas selected under the plan. Colleges awarded Double High status receive extra funding and support to develop key subject areas of strategic importance for China’s development goals.

Colleges were selected according to a wide range of criteria, including cooperation with industry, financial transparency, governance, graduate employability, performance in national teaching award competitions, quality assurance, and subject focus. Subject focus is critical, because the aim of the Double High plan is for the chosen colleges to become world-leading training providers in cutting edge technical fields. These fields include subjects as wide ranging as:

  • Big data technology
  • Care of the elderly services
  • E-commerce
  • High speed rail engineering
  • Intelligent control technology
  • New energy vehicle technology
  • Polymer materials processing
  • Recreational agriculture (agritourism)
  • Seed production technology
  • Unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) technology.

Opportunities for partnerships

Under the Double High plan, cooperation with overseas institutions is particularly encouraged. The aim is to help colleges move towards international standards in industry collaboration and teaching. Teacher and student exchanges, progression agreements, and sharing of expertise in the areas of apprenticeships, entrepreneurship, and teaching and assessment, are all welcomed.

Information update

Details of all the colleges and subject areas selected for Double High status have now been added to Appendix 2 of the China section on the UK NARIC International Comparisons database. More information about the Double High plan can be found in the Higher Education section. The Institution Listing has also been updated to reflect the enhanced status of the Double High colleges.

This information will be of particular benefit to universities and colleges wishing to identify potential partners in these areas.

Are you a UK college or vocational university interested in exploring partnerships with Double High colleges in China? UK NARIC is currently working with Chinese colleges to support their internationalisation efforts and to facilitate collaboration with UK partner institutions. We are also seeking TVET subject specialists (especially in the areas of marketing, business, and computing and IT) to assist with subject review and development work. If you are interested in exploring these opportunities or would like to know more, please email