The Shanghai Urban Construction Vocational College has collaborated with the NPTC Group of Colleges in United Kingdom to boost international cooperation in higher vocational education.
Students from the China-UK Vocational College of Excellence, a joint project set up by the two education institutions on Nov 16, will receive education jointly offered by the two education institutions. Students will also receive certifications issued by both parties upon graduation. The cooperation is currently limited to four majors: architectural engineering technology, architectural design, computer application technology and construction cost.
The cooperation will be extended to more majors, according to Ye Yinzhong, the principal of SUCC.
“As the largest State-run higher vocational college in Shanghai, SUCC will focus on launching more majors for the Excellence College to benefit more students and provide a platform for teachers from both sides to communicate,” said Ye.
Steve Rhodes, vice principal of NPTC, considered the cooperation a win-win project for both institutions.
“Chinese vocational colleges offer programs delivered by highly qualified staffs, who sometimes are practitioners within the vocational area. While in the UK, all of our staffs are going to education as their second career, so they are practitioners within the educational subject,” Rhodes said.
“Therefore, I think China and the UK can work very well together by bringing the academia of China and the practitioners of the UK together.”
According to Rhodes, NPTC, which formed in 2013 following a merger between the Neath Port Talbot College and Coleg Powys in Wales, UK, would work on Western teaching training methodologies and curriculum mapping fields to improve the national vocational education.
According to Ye, NPTC has many good experiences that SUCC can learn from, given that vocational education in UK has been widely recognized by the international community since the Graduate Level of Apprenticeship was introduced in the UK in 2015. The Graduate Level of Apprenticeship combines the undergraduate or master’s degrees with vocational training.
China has been striving to improve its vocational education since 2012 when the first International Congress on Technical and Vocational Education and Training was held in Shanghai. The country is now home to more than 12,000 vocational schools with over 26 million students and an annual enrollment of more than 9 million, according to the Ministry of Education.
Since early this year, China has enhanced cooperation with the UK by setting up the China-UK Vocational Education Cooperation and Development Committee, which has launched various projects including the establishment of a teacher training base in Shanghai that aims to deliver high quality teachers for vocational education through exchanges.
“It will be a very strong cooperation when we bring two different types of experts together to learn from each other,” Rhodes said.