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In his opening statement, Shyamal Majumdar, Former Head of UNESCO-UNEVOC, stressed that the BILT project started indeed as a European initiative, but the synergies between the regions are now needed more than ever before. Birgit Thomann, Head of Department ‘Internationalisation of VET’, Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training (BIBB), highlighted the pertinence of the BILT project as it builds and strengthens the capacities of the European UNEVOC Network in collaboration with other regional clusters, and explores innovative approaches in TVET to make it modern, relevant, and attractive to youth. In this regard, Oliver Diehl, Deputy Head of Unit Regulation of Vocational Training, German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), emphasised the need to continuously give vocational education and training a new impetus and highlight its global relevance, especially through peer learning and exchange.
The BILT project kick-off conference was held in July 2019, with a focus placed on the consolidation of the UNEVOC European Network cluster. A series of workshops were held in Europe during October-December 2019, where thematic experts presented their innovative examples in the areas of Digitalization/Industry 4.0, Greening, Entrepreneurship, Migration, and New Qualifications and Competencies in TVET. For each presented example, participants were able to explore the added value of the approaches, the impact on curriculum and standards, and their transferability to other contexts and countries. Collectively, these examples will inform further activities within the UNEVOC Network, both within Europe, and in the forthcoming collaboration with Africa, and Asia and the Pacific.
During the BILT launch, a panel discussion by the UNEVOC Centre Focal Points for each BILT work-stream allowed the sharing of initial key learnings from the thematic workshops. The importance of close collaboration between TVET institutions, government and industry for innovative and relevant TVET was a common thread in all workshops. Public-private partnership was crucial to ensure provision of relevant training, as the private sector participates in the definition of the qualifications and competencies that are needed for a modern labour market.
A clear separation was drawn between how new qualifications and competencies are phased into curricula and training regulations at the systemic level, and how they find their way into practice through teacher-learner interface. Practically, the emphasis was on teacher and trainer training, and new teaching methods. At the systemic level, four approaches to the integration of new qualifications and competencies into curricula and training regulations were identified: crosscutting, sector-specific, occupation-specific, and modular.
During the BILT launch session, a short survey was conducted that allowed the audience to rank their order of importance for these four approaches, with 36% favouring ‘cross-cutting’ as the most relevant.
Following the official launch session during the UNEVOC Global Forum on Advancing Learning and Innovation in TVET, the opportunity was taken to hold a BILT project meeting on 4 December 2019. This included 18 representatives from UNEVOC Centres in Europe, Africa, and Asia, who reflected on their key interests, expectations towards peer learning, and their own contributions in BILT 2020 and beyond.
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