Our monthly scan of news and reports often reveal numerous discussions of ways in which different countries are collaborating to support the development of education. These collaborations are reflected in a number of reports on the development and deepening of partnerships around particular educational issues, or as part of larger efforts addressing many aspects of society. This month’s news includes cooperative agreements that focus on issues like vocational education, technology, and system building.
One of the ways in which countries are working together to improve education is as part of a larger effort to meet the needs of the labor market. For example, Germany is working with Bulgaria on a joint vocational education project that aims to help Bulgaria make reforms to existing legislation, standards, and programs. As Bulgaria’s Education Minister explained in www.focus-fen.com “Bulgaria would like to introduce the dual education system so that there is a link between vocational education and the labour market.” The Slovak Spectator reported that Germany will also be working to build a similar collaboration with Austria.
Meanwhile, as reported by Thailand’s public relations department, Thailand, Laos, and Vietnam are working together to create tri-country vocational certification programs that will allow students with opportunities to study in each country. Executive Director of the ASEAN University Network (AUN) Nantana Gajaseni said that each ASEAN government should support the grouping of educational institutions specializing in similar fields of study as clusters, in order to push for education development in this region.
Finland and Estonia are also working together as part of a specific endeavor to develop cloud technology that will “step up” educational and technological cooperation between the two countries. According to the Finnish government’s press release, “This joint effort aims to enable the creation of cloud services in education and learning and the use of digital materials and find new ways of learning and teaching in the learning environments in both countries. In particular, we wish to help change the school culture to become more student-oriented and inspiring and promote approaches to teaching where the focus is on experiences of success.”
Memoranda of Understanding:
In the news we also see multiple examples of countries signing Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on educational cooperation. Examples include:
- China and Holland, focusing on education policy dialogue, and student and researcher exchange
- Malaysia and Cambodia, focusing on higher education
- Cuba and Mexico, focusing on pedagogy
- Indonesia and Italy, focusing on student and lecturer exchanges, joint research, and exchanges of library materials and publications.
Vocational training, also known as Vocational Education and Training (VET) and Career and Technical Education (CTE), is all the training needed for a certain job. Vocational training doesn’t apply to professions like medicine or law, but to trades such as auto repair, plumbing or even funeral services and retail. These programs generally focus on providing students with hands-on instruction in a specific trade, and generally allow them to forgo the general education courses associated with most postsecondary programs.