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SED visits Europe for exchanges on vocational education (with photos)

     The Secretary for Education (SED), Mr Eddie Ng Hak-kim, yesterday (November 3, Frankfurt time) arrived in Frankfurt to begin a five-day visit to Germany and Switzerland with the aim of looking into their vocational education systems and good practices in promoting young people's career development.

     Led by Mr Ng, an education delegation from Hong Kong first visited Heidelberg University, which is the oldest university in Germany and one of the strongest research universities in Europe.

     At a meeting with the university's management, the delegation was briefed on the position and development of the university in Europe, especially in the areas of international education and research. Exchange programmes have been held between Heidelberg University and Hong Kong Baptist University.

     The delegation also visited the university's Centre for East Asian Studies. Mr Ng took the opportunity to meet with university students and listened to their opinions on campus life and expectations about Asian studies, including Chinese studies. He was glad to learn that some of the students are interested in pursuing studies in Hong Kong.

     The delegation then called on the Chamber of Crafts Frankfurt-Rhein-Main, which is a self-governing body for professionals in the skilled crafts sector.

     The delegation learnt that the Chamber, apart from administering the craftsman's register, makes every effort to support both apprentices and the businesses that train apprentices.

     For instance, the Chamber updates its members about new technology and innovation, and tries to bring together universities, research and development institutions and the trades for better collaboration.

     "As stated in the Policy Address 2014, the Government has attached great importance to vocational education with a view to providing more diversified development pathways and promising career prospects for our young people," Mr Ng said.

     "Germany is renowned for its vocational education. The collaboration between its businesses and the education sector has boosted both the building up of its talent pool and its economic development.

     "Hong Kong is also moving towards this goal. In addition to promoting life planning and business-school co-operation in secondary schools, we are improving our apprenticeship and internship programmes for vocational education.

     "These include the Pilot Training and Support Scheme and the Student Industrial Attachment Programme, which were introduced and regularised by the Vocational Training Council (VTC) in the 2014/15 school year."

     Mr Ng added that the Task Force on Promotion of Vocational Education, set up in June this year, has been deliberating on the strategy and proposals to promote vocational education in Hong Kong. The successful experience learnt in Germany will be conducive to further discussions by the Task Force.

     The delegation will continue its visit to Berlin today.

     Officials accompanying the SED on the visit to Europe include the Principal Assistant Secretary (Further Education), Ms Pecvin Yong, and the Political Assistant to the SED, Mr Jeff Sze. Also joining the delegation are the Chairman of the Education Commission, Dr Moses Cheng; VTC Deputy Chairman, Mr Conrad Wong; and VTC Deputy Executive Director, Mr Leung Yam-shing.

Ends/Tuesday, November 4, 2014
Issued at HKT 11:45


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