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Skills Development Program


About SDP


SDP is a program built around a series of investigations into different global issues, culminating in an enterprise project, presented in English. The aim is to encourage students to develop critical, independent thinking, an understanding of different perspectives, and enterprise skills needed to succeed in upper-secondary higher education and beyond.


The certificate obtained upon successful completion of the program will enhance the student’s portfolio of qualifications, indicating that the student has extensive experience in working in English as medium of instruction and study, and that key study skills have been developed, therefore signaling the student’s readiness for further education.


This outline aims to introduce universities to SDP as an innovative and complementary study program. We encourage universities worldwide to embrace SDP as a useful tool in the evaluation and identification of international student applicants from non-native English speaking countries. 

Course Overview


The SDP program, developed by the CHEER Foundation as one of our education consultancy services, and endorsed by the World Leading Schools Association (WLSA), is designed for Chinese students planning to study in an international environment. SDP can be presented in conjunction with the Chinese high school curriculum, or as a supplementary program (120 hours) through a higher education foundation course. The program is skills driven rather than knowledge driven, engaging the interests of students whilst gradually introducing and developing the study and project management skills required to embark on their international studies.


The CHEER Foundation selects only top-ranked Chinese schools to run the SDP. All lecturers and assessors are trained by WLSA.


Course Contents


The SDP program helps students development five core skills through the study and discussion of three topics, i.e. Genetic Engineering, Social and Economic role of Women, and Impact of the Internet. Upon completion of this study, students will select a final enterprise project to work with in order to demonstrate their planning ability, their application of the five skills, and their exhibition and presentation skills.


Aims of SDP


Traditional secondary education in China trains students to focus on theoretical studies and to score high marks in exams. Valuable study and social skills are often ignored. This is where SDP bridges the gap. SDP will:




Encourage students to be independent and reflective learners with the skills necessary to embark on further studies post the age of 16

Motivate students to think critically

Inspire students to further their knowledge and awareness of certain global perspectives by independent research and inquiry




Help students develop enterprise skills (teamwork, leadership, etc)




Enhance students' communication skills such as presentation, debate and exhibition competence

SDP in China


Following three years of development, SDP was introduced in China in September 2009 as part of a controlled pilot project. Since then, SDP has received recognition and acclaim among top-ranking high schools across China, and in particular in metropolitan cities such as Beijing and Shanghai. The program is run by more than 20 top-ranking high schools, including Beijing No. 4 High School and the High School attached to Shanghai Normal University, two nationally renowned schools. Furthermore, a significant number of teachers have attended SDP teacher training sessions jointly conducted by WLSA and CHEER. This illustrates the demand for programs such as SDP and lays the foundation for future development by supplying schools with highly qualified teachers. The unique qualities of SDP, tailor-made for Chinese students, provide an invaluable complement to the ongoing scholasticism and rigor of the Chinese program. SDP has opened up the teaching and learning experience in the designated centers.



  1. Students receive the SDP Certificate, enhancing their chances to be accepted at top ranking universities from around the world.

  2. Students develop the essential skills and experience they need to succeed at higher education in an international environment.

  3. Students are equipped with the tools to further develop their skills and independent learning habits, both for everyday life and for academic learning.

  4. A unique experience in which students become increasingly independent.


  1. Access to an ever-growing pool of highly skilled and qualified Chinese students.

  2. Well-prepared students with the knowledge and skills to succeed in international higher education from day one.

  3. Greater insight into the Chinese education system.

  4. Open communication channels with top Chinese high schools through the CHEER network of SDP centers in China.

  5. Access to the CHEER network of top schools, universities and corporate contacts in China.

Highlights of SDP

Since launching the SDP in 2009, there have been many highlights. 

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