Deep Dive · SCO Kunming Marathon 2020

On December 5-6, twenty outstanding delegates from the SCO region participated in the 2020 SCO Roundtable Conference and Symposium on the Vocational Education, Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Kunming city, Yunnan province, jointly organized by SCOLAR Network in cooperation with Kunming City and Belt & Road Youth Alliance.

The conference was attended by a number of distinguished guests, including H.E. Vladimir Norov, SCO Secretary-General; Cui Li, Vice Chairman of GNFCC SCO; Sun Qun, Member of the CPC Standing Committee and Deputy Mayor of Kunming City; Saidzoda Zohir, Ambassador of Tajikistan to China; Jia Tiesong, Deputy of China Youth Center for International Exchange; Wang Fan, Vice President of Kunming University; Muhammad Egamzod, Counselor of the Tajikistan Embassy to China; Jian Yanjun, President of Yunnan University of Business Management; Liu Tao, Founder and CEO of Qixin Education; and Li Guangjun, Chairman Assitant of CICT Datang Convergence. In their speech, they all addressed the importance of vocational training and its value to develop new professional skills, improve current skills, or retrain for new employment.

A roundtable discussion on vocational education and its role in finding a job and career development was organized for SCOLAR delegates. This roundtable was moderated by Qin Feng, President of BRI Youth Alliance and Olesya Ermakova from SCOLAR Network. It started with an ice-breaking session, followed by a discussion where each delegate gave their insights on the most important skill to develop a professional career in their opinion. Participants have discussed the necessity to take vocational education programs to find the dream work and ways to promote vocational education. Youth delegates representing different backgrounds and countries have all agreed that there is a need for transformation of the educational system from the traditional system. One of the delegates believed that vocational education with the help of robotics and AI could be a game-changer in the coming future. Some delegates said that more inclusion of vocational education will create a more skilled population, who can outshine in their work and fulfill the demand of the skilled employee. Some of them also emphasized that all the stakeholders should give priority to vocational education because, in near future, skill-developing education will be more important than just getting a degree. Everybody agreed that there is a need for more promotion of vocational education esp. in developing countries as it helps to boost the economy and empowers people to grow personally and professionally.

The second day started with the annual SCO marathon held on the banks of Dianchi Lake – one of the most picturesque spots in Kunming City. Despite this year’s marathon’s smaller onsite scale, it attracted even more participants online. Runners were united by common inspiration and “Shanghai spirit” which became even stronger in the times of pandemic. Kunming is well-known as a “city of flowers” and youth delegates also had a chance to witness it with their own eyes on the local flower market -the biggest in Asia.

Lastly, SCOLAR Network would like to express gratitude to SCO Secretariat, Kunming city government, and Belt and Road Youth Alliance for an invitation to take part in the event!