By CLAIRE FIELD
The Chinese Government is keenly aware of VET’s role in lifting people out of poverty
I was pleased to be invited to address last week’s For the Future: International Conference on VET Development in Beijing.
Chinese senior officials and the Vice Minister for Education made it clear how significant VET is in continuing to grow their economy and adapt to a more technological future. Their current VET reforms are focussed on (a) lifting the quality of VET and (b) greater involvement of stakeholders in the VET system including particularly business. They are looking for ‘pragmatic’ cooperation on VET for the:
* digital economy * robotic transportation * modern logistics * culture * tourism * healthcare
The government is also keenly aware of the role VET can play in lifting people out of poverty. The central government (and through them the provincial governments) are focussed on VET for children in rural areas, children of single parents, and the “left behind” children (whose parents move to cities to work). They have pilot projects underway (backed by a 45 million RMB investment) in rural areas focussed on these priority groups involving: Apple, BHP Billiton, JP Morgan, and Microsoft, amongst others.
International speakers all discussed how critical VET is in the transition to a more digital future workplace. They also spoke about the value they placed on cooperation with China. This included the ambassadors of Canada and the Netherlands who also both expressed a desire to have their apprentices spend time working in China as part of their apprenticeship.
JP Morgan was a conference sponsor and discussed the US$325 million they have invested in VET initiatives over the last 5 years. In the next 5-years they will invest a further US$350 million – a lot of that in China and it will include work through their partnership with the International Labour Organisation to implement apprenticeships (with the support and involvement of the Chinese government).
Claire Field advises on VET, international education and private higher education.