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From the Market: Education

From the Market: Education
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A visit to China last month by Giles Blackburne, CBBC’s education sector lead, and Alan McArthur, TVET UK’s Executive Director, shed some light on the current vocational education and training challenges facing key cities in China. CBBC and TVET UK also plan to take a delegation to China in October. While each city is experiencing different pressures on its vocational education system, the sector as a whole faces the same issue. Namely, it is unable to keep up with China’s rapid economic growth.

The service industry in Beijing, for example, now accounts for some 75 per cent of the economy. For the Beijing Education Commission, the need to adopt international standards and improve teaching in vocational education is now matched by the need to satisfy the new requirements of domestic and foreign enterprises in the service industry.

Presently, Chengdu is in the process of restructuring its industry, so for the Chengdu Education Commission, the city’s higher vocational institutions must become more market orientated and more employment orientated. This can be done by strengthening links with industry through the likes of internships and curriculum co-design. 

For Dongguan Education Commission, the issue is how to come up with new vocational standards for emerging sectors. As vocational education tries to keep pace with industry, sectors are being encouraged to come up with their own standards, which are then approved by the Ministry of Human Resources. But this gives rise to the challenge of linking these standards to teaching and learning in vocational schools. Dongguan also relies on migrant labour for its factories, but the regional disparities in vocational education provision require it to re-train workers from other cities.

For more information, contact giles.blackburne@cbbc.org

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