Monday, May 30, 2011

INAP 4th conference - day 2

Day two opens with keynote from Professor Zhiqun Zhao on 'school enterprise cooperation in China's VET' a topic of world interest and relevance to the NZ context. He provided a brief introduction, followed by the China experience, including ways to promote the process and advantages and disadvantages / problems and discussion. Many methods used to integrate work with VET education, mostly in the form of internships (up to  a year) and work placements.

After morning tea, I attended a series of papers in  the 'open session' - papers that do not quite fit into the four main themes!

First up, Ursel Hauschildt and Helen Brown 'costs. benefits and quality in TVET: method, results and contexts of implementing a self-evaluation tool for companies in Germany & South Africa. Uses an online tool, adapted from German context to try to quantify benefits of training to individual organisations. Calculations show that costs of training  exceeds benefits in the first and second years  and in the third year,there is a return on investment.

Then, Professor Alan Brown & Professor Jenny Bimrose from the University of Warwick on 'developmental tasks, vocational development and career adaptability. Life development stages set time of young  adulthood as getting  into a career.However VET policies tend to assume that choices are set early in life. Current social/economic conditions, require more flexibility as careers are no longer for life. Career adaptability 5 Cs include control, curiosity, confidence, concern and commitment (Savickas et al, 2009). Longitudinal study undertaken to track people as they progress through careers in European countries. Findings include importance of challenging work for  ALL, varying patterns of engagement with learning activities, personal autonomy and meaning of career,  discussions  with others about possible lines of career development, formal learning often valued and identification with occupation and /or organisation or skill set recontextualisation, proactive in  shaping  career and learning pathways but often support to become reflective, anxieties common, help individuals develop their own career stories/sense of direction, career options and choices limited by context and opportunities structures key. Important factors for career adaptive are proactive personality, good interaction with others and engaging  in challenging activities.

Third, a presentation from Professor Moriki Terada from University of Nagoya, on an ' international comparative study on the formation of high school students' vocational views and the  challenges of vocational and career education. Study done across 6 countries with 10th grade students. Career choice research still based on dated and mainly psychological studies (Spranger, 1920s and Super, 1970) but young people have changed e.g. in Japan, there are many youth with low vocational aspirations (Free-ter - part-time workers or NEET - not in employment, education    or training). Therefore important to do an update. Questionnaire on vocational views derived from Shimizu and Shulenberg's inventory (1990) and Schein's career anchors (1978).  Finding that most students,including vocational students (excluding Japan and Indonesia) tend to choose an academic track after graduation but at least 1/4 of vocational students have not made a decision with regards to career choice. Choices include 'self realisation', religion/mission,  economy life signifying, society contribution and leader/wealthy class.

The two projects above, adding concepts to the final report my project on 'perspective of first year apprentices'.

Last on for the morning, Helmuth Zelloth from European Union VET research organisation (ETF) on 'a trend towards apprenticeship in EU neighboring countries?' Reported on a 3 year project (ILP) that has just started on workplace learning. Focus on raising awareness and policy sensitivity for WBL in 30 EU countries and to develop methodologies and  tools for WBL. Project being  reported studying many countries on the fringes of EU using case studies on formal/informal apprenticeships including Eastern /SE Europe,  Mediterranean and Central Asian countries. Themes characterising apprentices in these countries include weak education/business cooperation, VET systems mainly small/medium sized VET systems or school based, external/internal challenges in reforming VET, academic drift in  education and society and low attractiveness and relevance of  VET. Challenges include school-based VET has  structural limits  in  preparing sound  human capital, growing bottleneck of public funding of VET  coupled with high population growth  and  stipulated 'knowledge economy' requires new forms  of learning (situated/contextualised, integrating work and learning). preliminary mapping indicates some countries have well established systems (Turkey, Ukraine, Croatia, Albania, Morocco, Jordan), long established but small (Egypt, Israel), some piloting and a few with none.

After lunch, attended four papers in the 'multiple roles of universities, schools and their teaching and training staff - there have already been a dozen papers presented in this stream!

First up, Associate Professor Bonnie Watt-Malcolm from University of Alberta, on 'reforming VET pre-service teacher ed: the gifted amateur, the seasoned profesional, and the skilled tradesperson. reports on a 3 year study for improving Career & Technical Education (CTE) teacher education. These teachers have a trade skill and then become teachers. surveyed teachers and found the 3 categories, gifted amateur - minimal work experience and education but interest in VET subject, seasoned prof - non-credentialed training and related work experience and skilled tradesperson. need to customised pre-service BEd to help students become CTE teachers. Skilled tradespersons can come into BEd are provided with a 1 year credit towards the 4 year degree.

Secondly, Volker Bank and Thomas Retzman  Chemnitz University of Technology on 'training needs analysis in economics teaching. On the sustainabilityof the test of economics literacy (TEL). Project to develop a tool for self-assessment of further training needs for teachers, in this case for economic and financial literacy, which is part of /embedded inGerman VET system. Uses a adapted TEL originally developed by Soper for an English context. independent variables also used in analysis, these include gender,topic of degree, experience, age, etc. findings indicate there is some need for further training as range of results is wide. However the TEL itself needs refining to provide for more useful results.

The Jianrong Zhang and Luna Huang from Tongji University in Shanghai on 'master education of vocational instructors'. provided ann overview of VET education, rationale for higher ed for VET teachers and the M Ed for VET. In China, very few VET teachers have competence in  a technical competence or have had pre-service training. Usually VET teachers have a Batchelor or Masters and then obtain a VET teaching teachers. now developing a M Ed for people with at least an B Eng so that there is some technical competency to be supported by further pedogogical understanding (dual competence).

Last paper from Yasuhiko Ushida on 'industrial arts for career plan in junior japanese education has had an emphasis on preparing students for university, yet since 1980 many university graduates find it very difficult to obtain employment and many have to complete vocational education or even higher education. This project used the 'industrial arts' curriculum at junior high school to introduce students to the concept of thinking about a future career while still at school.

The conference then re-convened with an hour or so of chairs/reporters from each workshop, reporting on highlights.Conclusions and INAP membership details plus information on next conference (in South Africa), closed the conference.

A varied and interesting conference.

On Day 3, delegates had the opportunity to visit Chang Ping Vocational School, North of Beijing, on the way to an excursion to the Badaling section of the Great Wall. I joined everyone for an interesting and informative visit to the vocational school and then made my own way back to the city to catch flight to Singapore in the early evening.

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