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China delegation discusses NZ VET collaboration

A delegation of leaders from vocational providers in China visited New Zealand in October to discuss increased collaboration between the two countries, as part of the sixth Sino New Zealand Model Programme Symposium.

China is seeking to increase its domestic production of import goods. Photo: ENZChina is seeking to increase its domestic production of import goods. Photo: ENZ

China’s vocational sector has become increasingly important after the launch of the Made in China 2025 strategy

“The Chinese, along with a lot of other countries, have been very interested in New Zealand’s vocational education model”

Held in Auckland and themed around innovation and entrepreneurship, 51 Chinese leaders attended the Symposium to build links with New Zealand institutions and build teacher and student exchanges and collaboration across curriculum development.

“China’s interest in pursuing new opportunities with our vocational institutions is a testament to our reputation for creating creative and innovative thinkers and developing soft skills required for the modern workforce,” said Education New Zealand’s China and North Asia regional director Adele Bryant.

“It makes a lot of sense for our two countries to work together to leverage each other’s strengths.”

China’s vocational sector has become increasingly important over recent years, after the launch of the Made in China 2025 strategy in 2015, which set goals to increase domestic production in traditional import sectors.

Chen Qiaming, council chair at Shenzhen Polytechnic and delegation head, said the symposium’s themes were central to the strategy and New Zealand’s vocational model would help build capabilities of Chinese providers.

“The Chinese, along with a lot of other countries, have been very interested in New Zealand’s vocational education model,” said Independent Tertiary Education New Zealand chair Craig Musson.

“They’ve got so many students now that have got university degrees that when they went out into the market, they found they didn’t have any practical skills, and there were so many in the market there was no differentiation.”

Musson told The PIE News China’s focus on vocational education was part of a global maturation of education needs, which previously saw an increase in master’s degree graduates, and that many providers were looking for practical ability as well as conceptual understanding.

The delegation also discussed increasing the number of New Zealand students attending Chinese institutions.

In mid-2018, China’s Ministry of Education increased its budget for international students by 16%.

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