The 2021 China-New Zealand Higher Vocational Education Summit was held online on 9th November 2021. As a Private Training Establishment, it was an honour and a privilage for the UUNZ to be invited to participate in the summit.
Following Lisa Fustchek’s opening remarks (General Manager-International of ENZ), Mr. Xu Yongji, the Deputy Director General of the Ministry of Education of China, delivered an opening address highlighting how the two countries can continue to shape the future together.
Established in 2002, the China-New Zealand Education Mechanism is an important platform for the education authorities of the countries to facilitate policy implementation and dialogue. In February of 2021, the 9th meeting of the China-New Zealand Joint Working Group on Technical and Vocational Education Training was held and co-chaired by Tian Xuejun, the Vice Minister of Education of China, and Iona Holstead, the New Zealand Secretary General of Education. The purpose of the meeting was to further promote educational exchange and cooperation between the two countries as an important aspect of bilateral relations.
It was emphasized that China and New Zealand have been long-standing partners and are like-minded in enhancing the understanding and relationship between their people, which underpins the common targets of development, prosperity, and commitment to vocational education reform.
Together many projects have been carried out, including projects in the fields of tourism management, early-childhood education, international business and geriatric care programmes. For example, practical geriatric care skills in New Zealand have been trialed and integrated successfully into existing Chinese professional training schemes.
While dealing with the aftermath of Covid-19, the world is facing unprecedented times that have forced adaptation. One such adaptation envisioned is that the education systems of China and New Zealand will become further aligned. With the refining of the current systems, the introduction of new mechanisms and models of exchange and the transferring of knowledge, there will be greater collaboration to produce high-quality, technical, and skilled individuals for the future workforce.
New Zealand has invaluable experience and advanced teaching concepts in vocational education and training. In 2019, the formation of Te Pukenga and the consolidation of all 16 polytechnics into a single institution has enabled the country to position itself for further cultivation of innovative and creative talent.
In October of this year, the Chinese government issued policy documents addressing the reform and development of a modern era of vocational education, proposing to lift the country’s standard of vocational education to rank amongst the best in the world by 2035 and strategically transition to a technology and skill-oriented landscape. National online resource and data sharing, institution-enterprise dual-learning experiences, 5G-powered virtual learning systems, and online and offline blended learning programs have been prominent elements of reform which resonate with New Zealand’s own initiatives to transform into an ‘off-the-job, on-the-job and online’ seamless transition learning model.
Through the summit, it is clear that China and New Zealand are equally resolved to build, strengthen and standardize a more resilient vocational education framework that will enable both countries to confidently progress into a new phase of globalisation.