Synergy for success: How to better develop vocational and professional education and training in Hong Kong?

Thomas Siu-Ho YAU, Wai Sun Derek CHUN, Sky Wai-Man CHAN

Research output: Contribution to conferencePapers

Abstract

In recent years, the Hong Kong government has implemented a number of new policies to revitalize the development of vocational education and training (VET), such as the rebranding of VET into vocational and professional education and Training (VPET) to cover the new addition of programmes up to the degree level providing a wide variety of specialized vocational skills as well as professional knowledge. On the other hand, VPET is also widely promoted at the secondary school level as outlined in the latest “Learning to learn 2+” curriculum by the Curriculum Development Council (CDC) and the Education Bureau (EDB). The document suggests that the recognition of VPET as a possible articulation pathway could be gradually established through various activities. At the junior secondary (JS) level, career-related experiences in Life-wide learning (LWL) will be one of the main channels for students to gain initial understanding of the society and workplace. If interested, students can also continue their exploration through the diverse available options at the senior secondary level (SS), for instance the selection of Applied Learning (ApL) as elective subjects, participation in Career-related experiences in Other Learning Experiences (OLE) and the enrollment to the newly launched Vocational English Programme (VEP).
Although the suggested planning in the promotion of VPET at the JS and SS level looks ideal, there seems to be a lack of understanding regarding the actual impact and effectiveness of these mentioned policies to the development of VPET, especially at the SS level when students have to make a high-stake choice for their future. Therefore, it is the main aim of this study to provide a systematic and critical review on how different VPET-related policies function as a whole in the promotion of VPET. This discussion in this study will mainly based on qualitative data collected from individual interview and focus group with the key stakeholders (e.g. students and teachers), complemented by a thorough review of relevant studies and policy documents.
The findings of this study indicate there is still a considerable room for improvement at the SS level if VPET is attempted to be an attractive and preferred pathway. One major weakness discovered is that ApL and OLE are not sufficient for the promotion of VPET. In particular, the low recognition level of ApL in terms of public examination results leads to a serious articulation issue. It is also showed that more thoughtful and detailed planning in the synergy of different VPET-related policies is essential. For instance, the current design of VEP is completely separated from ApL or OLE and we consider this decontextualized environment of learning is never ideal. In addition, learning under the VPET track must provide students with more holistic and contextualized experience, such that the effect of experiential learning could be maximized.
To conclude, we suggest the connection of VPET and Career and Life Planning Education (CLPE) should be strengthened for a better development. Streaming of study might be necessary so that students will have a clearer choice in their study progression. Furthermore, the launch of VEP could also echo student’s aspirations through CLPE, which provides them an opportunity to identify their future career interests and better plan their post-secondary articulation pathway for a successful school-to-work transition. Copyright © 2019 THEi AETI 2019.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2019

Citation

Yau, T. S.-H., Chun, D. W.-S., & Chan, S. W.-M. (2019, April). Synergy for success: How to better develop vocational and professional education and training in Hong Kong? Paper presented at the International Conference on Applied Education, Technology and Innovation (THEi AETI 2019): Education 4.0: Applied Degree Education and the Future of Work, Technological and Higher Education Institute of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China.

Keywords

  • Vocational and Professional Education and Training (VPET)
  • Applied learning
  • Career and life planning education
  • Articulation

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