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TAFE directors launch English competition, China

One of the largest English language competitions ever to be held in China will run next year, as part of a new agreement to build ties between Chinese polytechnics and Australian Technical and Further Education (TAFE) institutes.

The competition will support the several hundred thousand students attending VET institutions in China

Run by TAFE Directors Australia (TDA) and the China Education Association for International Exchange (CEAIE), the competition will be promoted across all of China’s 1,200 polytechnics in 2013 with finalist rounds being held in Australia in summer 2013.

TDA, which represents Australia’s 61 TAFE institutes, said it was aimed at “supporting the several hundred thousands of students attending vocational college institutions [in China], with the competition to reach across all eight geographic regions of the Chinese mainland”.

TDA and CEAIE representatives signing the agreement last week

Australia is trying to build its offshore vocational education and training presence. In July Education Minister Chris Evans suggested Australian vocational providers could play a far bigger role in countries such as India, while ACPET – another major body representing VET – plans to launch a permanent office in China to represent members.

TDA has also been active, maintaining a relationship with CEAIE since 2004 which has led to an “unprecedented outreach of the Australian skills system into China”. TDA pointed to the more than 40,000 students currently taking joint Chinese-Australian qualifications in China.

CEO, Martin Riordan, added that TDA schools had helped China develop its own vocational education system. “From 2009-12, almost 500 senior Chinese college officials have enrolled in TDA-led vocational education leadership training, along a similar pattern of college mentoring [offered by]…US, Canadian, Korean and UK colleges,” he said.

According to TDA, “green skills and sustainability” will be a key theme of the competition, while links with industry that “demonstrate innovation and leading edge sustainability skills” will be encouraged. Winners will receive cash prizes and have their airfares covered.

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