The TVET Leadership and Management Benchmarking Programme held in Tianjin and Beijing in China

date:2023-09-06 13:14author:adminsource:Smart Learning Instituteviews:

In order to promote the social, economic, educational and cultural development of China and Southeast Asian countries, and deepen the cooperation between the two sides in the field of vocational and technical education and training, a series of the TVET Leadership and Management Benchmarking Programme and training workshops were held in Tianjin and Beijing in China from 14-20 August 2023.
The event was co-sponsored by China Education Association for International Exchange (CEAIE), Beijing Normal University (BNU), Tianjin Municipal Education Commission (TMEC) and Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization Regional Centre for Technical Education Development (SEAMEO TED), and executively co-organized by UNESCO Chair on AIED at Beijing Normal University, UNESCO International Research and Training Centre for Rural Education (UNESCO INRULED) and Tianjin Light Industry Vocational Technical College (TLIVTC), which was participated by more than 30 officials from education departments, directors, principals and managers of vocational schools from 8 Southeast Asian countries, namely Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Timor-Leste and China, for a 7-day benchmarking programme and consist of field visits, seminars, training workshops and cultural activities.

Group photo of guest speakers and participants of Benchmarking Programme (Beijing)
As a highly anticipated event of the TVET Leadership and Management Benchmarking Programme, the "Training Workshop on Vocational Education and Digital Technology Applications" was held at Beijing Normal University's Changping Campus from August 18th to 19th. The gathering brought together school principals from vocational and technical education institutions in Southeast Asian countries. Hosted by the UNESCO Chair on AI in Education (also referred to as the AIED Chair), the workshop aimed to address the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals in Education (SDG4) by exploring innovative ways to use digital technology for a more effective and flexible TVET system.

In early 2023, Beijing Normal University will establish the AIED Chair to promote research, training, and information sharing of information technology, particularly artificial intelligence, in the education sector. The chair's main objectives include fostering collaboration between Beijing Normal University and distinguished researchers and teaching staff from prestigious universities and institutions worldwide.
The Training Workshop on Vocational Education and Digital Technology Applications was attended by more than 50 participants from eight Southeast Asian countries, China and beyond. The event was graced by the presence of esteemed guests such as Professor Guangju CHEN, Vice President of Beijing Normal University Alumni Association and former Vice President of Beijing Normal University, Dr. Songheang Ai, Director of SEAMEO TED, Prof. Dr. Libing WANG, Director a.i., Chief of Section for Educational Innovation and Skills Development (EISD), UNESCO Multisectoral Regional Office in Bangkok, Thailand, and Prof. Maqun WU, former Dean of Beijing Information Vocational and Technical College. The workshop was moderated by Associate Professor Rongxia ZHUANG and Assistant Researcher Huanhuan WANG, both from Beijing Normal University. The event included keynote speeches, case presentations, round table discussions, and a call for cooperation initiatives. 

Workshop venue for vocational education principals in China and Southeast Asian countries (Beijing)
At the workshop, Professor Guangju CHEN of Beijing Normal University and Dr. Songheang Ai, Director of the SEAMEO TED, delivered welcome speeches. They both emphasized the importance of international exchanges and cooperation in promoting vocational education. They expressed their desire to share practical technologies and experiences through extensive and in-depth cooperation among education departments, universities, and enterprises across various countries. This, they believe, will expand international exchanges and improve the teaching level of vocational education, ultimately contributing to the promotion of economic development and industrial transformation in China and Southeast Asian countries. During the workshop, Beijing Normal University and the SEAMEO TED signed a memorandum of understanding to continue promoting and deepening research, exchanges, and cooperation in the field of vocational education between China and Southeast Asian countries.

Professor Guangju CHEN delivered a Welcome Remarks
Remarks by Dr. Songheang Ai, Director of SEAMEO TED
Signing of MOU between BNU and SEAMEO TED
During the keynote speech session, scholars and industry experts gathered to discuss the current state and future trends of vocational education. This esteemed platform allowed for valuable insights to be shared on how digital technology can enhance education quality, cater to diverse student needs, and facilitate vocational education transformation. Esteemed speakers included Wang Libing, Acting Director of the UNESCO Bangkok Multi-sector Regional Office, Daniel Burgos, moderator of the UNESCO eLearning Chair, Prof. Maqun WU, a National Vocational College Teacher Principal Training Expert Working Group expert, Professor Vinayagum Chinapah from Stockholm University, Chen Wenxuan, an Assistant Researcher at Zhejiang Laboratory, Neil Selwyn, a professor from Monash University, Dr. Bin BAI, Deputy Director of the Institute for Vocational and Continuing Education Research at Beijing Normal University, Dr. Jinbao ZHANG, Assistant Dean of the Science Education Research Institute at Beijing Normal University, and Ms. Hongyan KUAI, Director of the Design and Learning Laboratory at the Smart Learning Institute of Beijing Normal University. The exchange of ideas between these experts made for an insightful session on the future of vocational education.
Keynote speech by Prof. Dr. Libing WANG, Director a.i., UNESCO Bangkok & Chief of Section EISD
During the case study presentation, representatives from various enterprises shared insightful case studies that demonstrated the ways digital technology can be employed to advance vocational technical education and training. They highlighted how technologies such as artificial intelligence can be leveraged to enhance learning outcomes and increase employment prospects for students. The use of interactive training and evaluation systems, which utilize ubiquitous multimodal technology, was also discussed as an effective way for students to master professional skills. Furthermore, the group discussed the use of artificial intelligence and virtual simulation to cultivate high-quality skills for skilled personnel.
In a round table discussion, participants from China and eight Southeast Asian countries gathered to discuss the challenges currently faced by vocational education development in Southeast Asia's digital age. During this discussion, participants identified various issues, including inadequate infrastructure hindering quality teaching, course content that doesn't align with job market needs, and difficulty in finding employment for graduates. The group also noted a shortage of capable teachers and a lack of sufficient opportunities for vocational and technical education and training. To tackle these challenges, participants shared examples of how information and digital technology can be effectively employed to promote the development of vocational and technical education and training.
Panel discussion
Upon the conclusion of the workshop, the UNESCO Chair in Artificial Intelligence and Education extended a collaborative invitation to stakeholders from Southeast Asian countries, China, and global vocational and technical education and training. The proposal aims to establish a social experiment community that focuses on AI education applications. The primary objective of this initiative is to explore and research the integration of new technologies in educational scenarios on a global scale. Ultimately, this will lead to an improvement in teaching quality for all students.

Furthermore, the workshop attendees had the opportunity to visit the China Education Association for International Exchange (CEAIE) and participate in the Global Smart Education Conference (GSE 2023). Some representatives also had the privilege of presenting at the conference. It is reflected that this event played a critical role in fostering educational and cultural exchanges between China and Southeast Asian countries, which also laid the groundwork for future cooperation, innovation, and development in vocational education between both parties.