From education to employment

Bill Rammell on international FE at the Neil Stewart Associates conference

The government will be investing nearly £7 million to attract an additional 30,000 non-EU students into further education by 2011.

Addressing delegates at the Neil Stewart Associates conference on Wednesday 20th September, Bill Rammell, Minister of State for Further/Higher Education and Lifelong Learning, set out the Prime Minister’s Initiative (PMI) for International Education, pointing out the strong partnerships between Britain and the world.

“I believe globalisation creates opportunities our FE system must seize. And in the UK, we”re well placed to do so”, Mr Rammell noted. “Globalisation allows a wider pool of students from around the world to access some of the finest educational opportunities on offer. And it gives us the opportunity to work with other leading-edge players to tackle some of the critical issues facing the world today”.

Noting his department’s success in already achieving a target for the first PMI, he said: “The first PMI was highly successful and achieved the challenging targets set for universities and colleges to recruit more international students to the UK – an extra 50,000 higher education students and 25,000 further education students by 2005″.

Furthermore, he revealed that the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) has already contributed £300,000 towards the PMI, used to launch the “FE Partnerships Fund”. “This Fund will support the development of partnerships between FE and Sixth Form Colleges in England and relevant organisations overseas”, he explained.

Outlining the partnerships that already exist within FE, he said: “In Saudi Arabia, City College Brighton and Hove and Hastings College are part-way through delivering a programme for the Saudi government which includes the training of English teachers, management training for Deans and assessor training”.

“In Turkey, Dudley College is working with Cankiri Institute of Arts and Technology near Anakara and the Turkish Education Department to explore the potential for developing non-standard degree routes based on UK HNDs”.

“In Thailand, the British Council has been engaged for 5 years in supporting the VET system reform programme, as part of a wider Thai education reform programme”.

“A consortium of ten London Colleges are also working with their Beijing counterparts on vocational curricula for 16-19 year olds; with plans for an additional ten colleges to be twinned by 2007″, he added.

Outlining his desire for FE institutions to incorporate an international dimension, specifically with India, China and other key players, he continued: “This will help us create a climate where we protect and promote British interests”.

“It’s incredibly important more FE colleges build strong, strategic partnerships with their counterparts overseas. This type of collaboration will help to unlock further the huge potential of FE to contribute to our communities, economy and society on a local, national and international level”.

“I am sure that the UK FE sector will rise to the challenge and I pledge that this Government will do all it can to provide the support you need to succeed”.

Vijay Pattni.

Next week on FE News: The vocational/academic skills debate ““ we ask six FE leaders what they think

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