Posts Tagged ‘International’

Inside International CTE: CTE in Switzerland

Tuesday, March 24th, 2015

Today Heather Singmaster interviews Ursula Renold, head of the Education Systems field of research in the KOF Swiss Economic Institute on the Swiss vocational education and training system (VET or career and technical education system as we call it here in the U.S.). This is the second in our series on international best practice in career and technical education (CTE), presented as part of our ongoing partnership with Asia Society’s Global Learning blog on Ed Week . 

1. What is the progression of Vocational Education and Training (VET)/CTE in Switzerland?

Please see the chart below as well.

Students chose at age 15 if they want to pursue a traditional university route or if they will follow the vocational education pathway. All young people from eighth grade on have access to comprehensive guidance counselling. This includes access to a national, online database of available apprenticeships, career testing to see where their skills match to job or academic requirements and then assistance with applying for an apprenticeship. VET students will learn and work at an apprenticeship for three or four years, while simultaneously continuing their studies in math, science, languages, etc. These studies are tied to their career – so they are learning in the classroom and then applying those skills on the job every week.

When they finish they earn either a Certificate (for the two-year apprenticeships) or a diploma (for three- or four-year apprenticeships). More academically gifted young adults can earn a Federal Vocational Baccalaureate degree at the same time as or after the apprenticeship. This will allow them to enter directly into a University of Applied Sciences, which is a university that specializes in applied research and development. With an additional year of general education, young adults with a Federal Vocational Baccalaureate can even enter directly in a conventional university.

We have built in a high degree of permeability in the system, which allows for a multitude of career pathways for young people. There are no dead ends. With every degree there comes further education options, thus VET is a very solid foundation for lifelong learning

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2. Please describe the landscape of Career Technical Education/VET in Switzerland:

Two out of three young adults are enrolled in VET/CTE, compared to the 25 percent of young adults who pursue the traditional university route after leaving compulsory school. However, we found that many of those students end up switching over to the vocational education pathway after a year of university or vice versa. Those with a VET background may continue their studies at universities.

Switzerland offers around 230 VET pathways for young adults between the ages of 15 and 19. The most popular VET sector is the commercial sector, covering about 25 percent of all apprenticeships and including industries such as banking, finance, manufacturing, retail and travel. Other highly favored VET pathways are health care and information technology (IT).

The VET system is run and paid for by three partners working together – the federal government (or Confederation), the states (26 Cantons) and around 600 professional organizations representing industry. Both the government and the education community are clear that the system works because it is designed to meet the needs of industry. Therefore, the VET system enjoys enormous support from the employer community. The government works closely with business to set the standards and design the curriculum, putting industry associations in the driver seat for setting program expectations and content.

Business also provides the apprenticeships and pays for more than half of the cost of the system because they regard the apprenticeship as a mid-term investment in their future workforce. Periodic cost-benefit analyses show that the costs are offset by the productivity of the apprentices during the two-, three-, or four-year apprenticeships. Employers see the system as beneficial both to themselves as well as to the students who gain experience, are paid good wages (averaging between US$700 – $1,000/month) and are treated with respect as adults.

3. What are the major goals of VET/CTE in Switzerland?

Among others, the VET/CTE system should provide young professionals with the knowledge and skills relevant to the labor market so that they easily find a well-paying and satisfying job. The VET system should articulate the skills required by the labor market. Hence, the VET system has to secure the volume of labor market quantitatively and qualitatively that is necessary for prosperity and social development.

Come back on Thursday for part two when Ursula discusses the common challenges of CTE/VET in Switzerland and the world and provides advice on overcoming them.

Follow NASDCTEc, Heather, and Asia Society on Twitter.

Katie Fitzgerald, Communications Associate

By Katie Fitzgerald in News, Resources
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CTE in Singapore: Looking to the Future

Friday, February 13th, 2015

Today we continue our joint series on international CTE practice and programs with Education Week’s Global Learning. This is the second part of Heather Singmaster’s interview with Mr. TAN Seng Hua, Dean, ITE Academy in Singapore and one of the architects of Singapore’s CTE/VET system. Be sure to also read Part 1. 

Q: What are the challenges VET/CTE faces? What are some solutions you are looking to implement?

A: There are multiple challenges faced by CTE globally. First, we need to ensure that the training programs are up-to-date and the curriculum is able to address the skilled manpower (workforce) needs of the economy. Working in close partnership with employers to plan and design the CTE curriculum, developing an authentic learning environment, and providing real work and workplace experience to the students are essential approaches adopted by ITE.

Second, we need to understand the profile of CTE students and their learning behavior to better design pedagogic approaches and enrichment activities to bring out their full potential. Pedagogic innovation to make training fun and engaging will further help to develop and retain the interest of students in CTE, given their preference for activity-based learning. To a certain extent, ITE colleges are designed as “Education Wonderlands”, allowing students to acquire relevant skills and knowledge through fun and authentic learning activities.

Q: What is the role of employers/labor/industry in your VET/CTE system? 

A: Partnership with industry is a key strength of Singapore’s CTE system. Over the years, ITE has established a network of industry partners to support its training programmes. These are industry leaders in their respective fields locally and globally, and they support ITE in the setting of skill standards and curriculum design, workplace training and attachment, skills promotion and marketing, employment and engagement of our graduates, sponsorship of students and industry project collaboration, and constructive feedback on both the performance of our student interns/graduates and the improvement needed in our training structure and contents.

The labor movement in Singapore is also very active in promoting the importance of skills acquisition among their members. Many of the union leaders play the role of “skills champions” to encourage their members to acquire new skills and train for deeper skills to improve their career advancement opportunities and enhance their earning power.

Q: What do you think the future of VET/CTE in Singapore looks like?

A: CTE will continue to be a key component of Singapore’s education system in the years ahead. It is a key strength of our education and human resource development structure and a major contributing factor to the success of Singapore’s economic development over the past few decades.

Moving forward, CTE in Singapore would evolve to further engage the employers in the training of the present and future workforce. While the present college-based CTE system has worked well in the past to prepare the youths for the workplace, given the fast changing economy and technology, the skilled manpower needs of the employers have also changed rapidly. To avoid a potential mismatch of the competency of our graduates with the skills demand of the employers amid this shorter product and technology life-cycle, we need to work in close partnership to redesign our curriculum to enable the acquisition of industry-specific and new skills at the workplace.

Q: What advice do you have for other systems attempting to reform their VET/CTE systems? What are some of the policies in Singapore that could assist others in overcoming the challenges they face in VET/CTE?

A: ITE in Singapore has gone through waves of transformation in the past two decades. We have raised the quality and image of CTE in Singapore and gained the acceptance and recognition by employers, parents, students, and the community as a whole that CTE is a viable post-secondary education option that can prepare youth for a rewarding career.  We have developed three world-class campuses, designed to provide authentic learning environment to support the total development of our students. We have also developed an innovative curriculum structure to better prepare our students for the changing work environment in industry, and creative pedagogy to inject fun learning in CTE. Last but not least, we have put in place a strong and effective academic quality assurance system to instill professional pride and discipline among our CTE leaders and staff to continually improve our CTE system and delivery.

The success of ITE in Singapore is a result of system review and staff competency at all levels. There are many useful lessons that could be shared with the global CTE community. At the national level, there are important policy decisions, which must be addressed to position CTE appropriately in relation to the education and economic development of the nation. At the institution level, the philosophy of education and the strategic focus of the management team will determine the quality and relevance of the programs offered, and at the individual level, the passion and commitment to provide innovative solutions and learning activities will contribute to the success of the CTE system in developing and retaining the interest of students.

Our success story has attracted the interest of many countries globally. We have frequent visit requests from the CTE community globally, and many of these visits ended up with requests for assistance to review/enhance their CTE system and development of their CTE leadership and professional competency. Currently, we have CTE consultancy projects in some 25 countries around the world, and they cover a wide spectrum of areas including CTE Infrastructure Planning and Development, CTE Leadership Development, CTE Technology and Pedagogic Development, CTE Assessment and Certification Systems, and CTE Academic Quality Assurance System.

 Follow the ITE and Heather on Twitter.

Katie Fitzgerald, Communications Associate

By Katie Fitzgerald in News, Resources
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CTE in Singapore: Education Wonderlands – Part 1

Wednesday, February 11th, 2015

We are delighted to announce our partnership with Education Week’s Global Learning blog to bring you a monthly profile of international practice in Career Technical Education (CTE) or Vocational Education and Training (VET), which it is called in many countries. To start us off, Heather Singmaster, the Assistant Director of Education with the Asia Society, interviewed Mr. TAN Seng Hua, Dean, ITE Academy in Singapore and one of the architects of Singapore’s CTE/VET system. This interview will be in two parts, so be sure to check back with us on Friday to learn what Mr. Tan sees as challenges facing CTE around the world, and how to overcome them. 

Q: What is the progression of VET/CTE in Singapore? 

A: Structured as post-secondary education options, CTE in Singapore collectively enrolls some 65% of each cohort of students (aged 17 and above), who have completed at least 10 years of academic education, including four years at the secondary school level. Please see the following chart depicting the education system in Singapore. (Editors Note: Or view an interactive chart.)

sg-education-landscape-printsm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Based on their career interests and national exam results, students with keen interest in technical and vocational education may apply to either a Polytechnic college for a “para-professional/technical specialist” level of training or the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) for “technical skills” training. Those who do well in these programs will be able to progress further within the Singapore education system. For instance, students can progress from ITE colleges to a Polytechnic and eventually to a university.

To prepare these students for CTE options, the curriculum of the secondary schools in Singapore places great focus on English language, mathematics, and sciences. Students are also given opportunities to participate in career guidance activities such as the Experience ITE Programme during their secondary school education. Similarly, secondary school educators are engaged in learning journeys to the CTE colleges to better prepare them for a career and education counseling role in the secondary schools.

Q: What sectors/fields of study does VET encompass? Which are most popular with students?

A: ITE offers a wide range of courses including manufacturing, engineering, info-comm technology, business and services, design and media, applied science, health sciences, and hospitality-related training. These courses are regularly reviewed and new courses are introduced based on the demand for these skills projected by the various sectors of the economy and government economic agencies. As of January 2015, there are more than 100 different courses offered by ITE. Based on recent trends, those related to services and certain niche courses such as aerospace technology appear to be more popular among applicants of full-time ITE courses. For adult learners, their choice of training is largely steered by their job requirements and career aspirations.

Q: How is CTE/VET funded in Singapore?

A: Singapore views CTE as an investment by the government to enhance the competitiveness of the nation. The cost of ITE education is almost fully funded by the government, up to 97%. Students only need to pay a nominal portion of the fees to show their commitment to the training. Needy students from low-income families will be further supported by private funds donated by foundations, employers, the community, and individual donors.

For working adults attending continuing education and training at ITE, their course fees are also heavily subsidized by the government, in addition to sponsorships given by their employers. The main objective is to encourage more working adults to develop a culture of life-long learning and regularly upgrade and update their skills and knowledge to remain relevant in this fast changing world.

Q: What are the major goals of VET/CTE in Singapore?

A: The main goal of CTE in Singapore is to maintain its relevance to the workforce needs of the economy. This is a great challenge as there may be a mismatch between the interests and aspiration of youth and the manpower demand of the employers. Working closely with employers to enhance the career development opportunities in their respective technical sectors, to provide good career counseling, and to make CTE fun and attractive for youth, are key strategies to ensure the success of CTE.

Follow Singapore’s ITE and Asia Society on Twitter.

Seng Hua TAN has spent more than four decades planning and transforming the Vocational and Technical Education (VTE) in Singapore. In his previous appointment as Deputy CEO (Academic) of ITE, Mr. Tan led a major project to revamp all training courses of ITE from single occupation oriented to Career-Cluster Based Curriculum, incorporating work-based and personal life skills learning to prepare ITE students for the fast changing work environment.

Katie Fitzgerald, Communications Associate

By Katie Fitzgerald in News
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This Week in CTE

Friday, December 19th, 2014

TWEET OF THE WEEKblog-thumbnail-thiswek
Opportunity Nation @oppnation Almost 98% of CEOs said the #SkillsGap threatens their businesses. Enter, #STEM #CTE #wkdev. #justsaying http://bit.ly/1yjgGAv

VIDEO OF THE WEEK
Success in the New Economy: How Prospective College Students Can Gain a Competitive Advantage
This great new video highlights the skills gap and workforce needs, making the case for CTE.
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ARTICLE OF THE WEEK
Governor Enacts Career and Technical Education Legislation
Governor Chris Christie signed into law five bills that will advance career and technical education and address the workforce needs of New Jersey employers.
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ANNOUNCEMENT OF THE WEEK
National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation opens scholarship application process for both students and educators for 2015 
The application deadline for scholarships is May 2015. Scholarships for students are primarily focused on high school students pursuing post-secondary studies involving the hospitality/restaurant/food service sector. Scholarships for educators are for those who teach in culinary programs.
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INTERNATIONAL RESOURCE OF THE WEEK
The OECD LEED Forum on Partnerships and Local Development (FPLD) new website is now live
The new website includes a new, comprehensive database of Forum materials, including country fact-sheets on partnership models, examples of local development projects, thematic handbooks, publications and events proceedings.
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PARTNER UPDATE OF THE WEEK
Show us your STEM
Change the Equation launched a new crowdsourcing effort bringing together individuals, STEM programs and business to showcase how STEM impacts students across the country. You can share a story, engage online, make a video or a Vine.
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By Katie Fitzgerald in Advance CTE Resources, News, Publications, Research, Resources
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This Week in CTE

Friday, December 12th, 2014

TWEET OF THE WEEKblog-thumbnail-thiswek
@codeorg: Today Obama became the 1st US President to write a computer program #HourOfCode @WhiteHouse http://www.wired.com/2014/12/obama-becomes-first-president-write-computer-program/ …
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ARTICLE OF THE WEEK
The Year of Career Pathways: Congress Restores the Ability to Benefit
Mary Alice McCarthy, Senior Policy Analyst in the Education Policy Program at New America, discusses the gains congress made in Career Technical Education (CTE) this year, including the reauthorization of Workforce Investment Act of 1998, now the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, as well as moving forward in supporting adult students who may have not completed high school through the Pell grant. “In a time when Democrats and Republicans can agree on precious little, they are finding common ground on the need to help Americans build postsecondary skills and credentials,” said McCarthy.
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INTERNATIONAL ARTICLE OF THE WEEK
Why UK Women Miss Out on Science and Technology Careers
Women in the UK are highly underrepresented in STEM careers, especially compared to several countries in Latin America and South Asia who have much higher proportions of women working in STEM professions. Women make up only 13 percent of STEM professionals, even falling behind some developing countries.
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REPORT OF THE WEEK
The Certification Revolution
As part of last week’s Education for Upward Mobility event, Tamar Jacoby prepared a paper and presented on how CTE impacts anti-poverty and education-reform agendas.
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VIDEO OF THE WEEK
ACTE announced the 2015 PSA winners.
You can find the first, second and third place PSA’s on ACTE’s YouTube page.
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WEBINAR OF THE WEEK
WIOA Consultation: Integrated Management Information System
December 16, 2014, 2 – 3 PM ET
A listening session opportunity for stakeholders to provide input and feedback on the provisions of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) regarding guidelines for the states to develop and establish a fiscal and management accountability information system.
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Katie Fitzgerald, Communications Associate 

By Katie Fitzgerald in News, Publications, Research, Resources, Webinars
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