College credit for driving skills? Debate revs up - ResearchInChina

Date:2010-05-13mqh  Text Size:

OBTAIN a driving license for college credit?

A local university is doing just that - awarding students academic points if they master behind-the-wheel skills before graduation.

Officials with the Shanghai Ocean University claim the pioneering strategy will encourage students to learn more skills to enhance their competitiveness in the tough job market.

"Students need practical skills to stand out among the increasing number of graduates," said Lu Wenxuan, an official with the school's logistic service center.

University officials say driving skills should be encouraged, as much as computer and language skills.

Students can use the awarded credits to meet optional-class requirements for the time and effort they spend to get the license. The school introduced a driving training center at the campus in Pudong's Lingang area.

But some argue the idea is a wrong turn, saying driving is by no means essential to the job-seeking process.

"I doubt that it will really have much impact," said Edward Dai, a postgraduate student of Fudan University.

"We are not to be drivers. The help is so trivial. It's better for schools to think about improving their career guidance service."

"Licenses don't necessarily reflect the real abilities," said a man surnamed Huang, director of a law firm, who said he has met many incapable job-seekers with many licenses.

"Universities should not focus on skills training as vocational schools," said an administrative worker surnamed Liu of Fudan University.

Some educators, however, hail the skill-oriented policy as a meaningful move forward.

"It's a nice try to enrich the poor curriculum among domestic campuses," said Xiong Bingqi, vice president of the 21st Century Education Research Institute.

Gu Xiaoming, a historian at Fudan University, echoed that opinion.

"Students should be offered a wide range of choices such as dancing and etiquette to meet the various needs of the society," Gu said.

"People used to spend lots of money and time studying in social training centers to get computer skill certificates, just like the driving licenses now," Gu said.


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