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Global support for vocational education urged

By ZOU SHUO and YANG CHENG in Tianjin | China Daily | Updated: 2022-08-22 09:39
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A worker works at the practical skills training center at a vocational school in China. [Photo/CHINA DAILY]

Initiative calling for better funding, social status for workers adopted in meeting

All countries have been encouraged to increase support and funding for vocational education, improve the incomes and status of technical workers, and enhance social recognition of vocational education, according to an initiative adopted over the weekend.

As one of the outcomes of the first World Vocational and Technical Education Development Conference recently held in Tianjin, the Tianjin Initiative emphasized the need for vocational education to adapt to the post-pandemic era and undergo digital transformation, integrate into lifelong learning, industrial chains, and economic and social development.

The two-day event brought together representatives from 123 countries and regions for a series of in-depth exchanges on the theme of "Vocational and Technical Education Development in the Post-pandemic Era-New Changes, New Ways and New Skills".

The initiative also emphasized the need for the supply of skilled workers to be increased, the adaptability of vocational education to be improved, and the digital transformation to be accelerated to strengthen the digital and green skills of vocational students.

It further stated that vocational education should be accessible to everyone without discrimination, suitable training should be available to all groups of people to help them develop a professional outlook focused on integrity, dedication, improvement, excellence and innovation, in order to promote sustainable, all-around development.

It encouraged governments, industries, companies, colleges and research institutes to engage in vocational education, create collaboration mechanisms, and build a mutually beneficial community focused on vocational skills, and suggested countries, international organizations, industry players and the education sector forge comprehensive, close, pragmatic, inclusive and quality partnerships, to contribute to achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and toward the Chinese goal of "building a community with a shared future for mankind".

In conjunction with 148 vocational schools, colleges, research institutes and companies from 36 countries and regions, the China Education Association for International Exchange set up the World Technical and Vocational Education and Training League to encourage broader and more active vocational education development around the world.

Minister of Education Huai Jinpeng, said that during the two-day conference, representatives engaged in in-depth discussions on key issues facing vocational education, increased mutual understanding and shared examples of how vocational education serves socioeconomic development, and laid a solid foundation for future cooperation.

China will accelerate the creation of a modern vocational education system and push for the greater integration of vocational education with regular education and industrial development, Huai said, adding that the country will continue to prioritize vocational education and accelerate the development of modern, inclusive and demand-driven vocational education led by the government and with participation from all sectors.

Shahbaz Khan, director and representative of UNESCO's Beijing office, said technical and vocational education and training is increasingly recognized as an effective means of empowering young people to engage in productive and sustainable livelihoods in the knowledge economy.

"This conference is part of China's response as a responsible great nation trying to tackle emerging global TVET issues in the post-pandemic era," Khan said. "As the Chinese saying goes, when everybody adds wood to the fire, the flames rise higher. Let us all work together for better delivery, greater impact, stronger synergy and upscaled cooperation for greater efficiency to allow each and every learner to unleash their potential."

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