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News about internationalisation

16.03.2016

Strategic international planning improved in Finnish vocational education and training

According to a survey conducted by CIMO, over 50% of vocational education and training (VET) providers in Finland plan their international activities strategically, and one in three also have a concrete action plan to help achieve international goals set and to steer activities in the right direction. The situation is better than before but there is still room for improvement.

CIMO studied how set international goals were reflected in training providers' strategies and how well international activities were in line with the strategies in practice. The survey included an analysis of contents of strategy documents, a questionnaire to training providers and case studies of different types of organisations.

"Mobility of people is still the most important means of adding international dimension in VET and the development of the quality of VET is the most common objective", summarises Siru Korkala, leader of the study.

Teachers and students are still not involved enough in strategic work

For the development of international dimension, it is of utmost importance who are involved in its strategic planning. It is good to include teachers, tutors and students, too, but the involvement of management is the key. If the management is committed to international work from the strategic planning stage, set goals will be easier to achieve.

Not all training providers have reached this stage yet. There is still a lot of room for improvement, for example, in involving teachers in the international planning process, and students are still rarely heard.

Only 20% of training providers outline their international goals in cooperation with local employers

The absence of business and industry is also glaring in many cases. The results of the survey reveal that although 70% of VET providers actively work together with employers in their region, only 20% have involved them in their international strategic planning. This is despite the fact that one of the main strategic goals of training organisations is to provide employers in their region with employees who have international competences.

The business relations often depend on the drive of individual teachers, and teachers on the whole play a key role in the international work of training institutions. How much emphasis is placed on the international dimension in tuition, for example, relies sometimes even too much on the competences and interests of individual teachers.

International dimension does not get the attention it deserves in curricula design

Another observation that came out of the study was that there was not much attention paid to international dimension in curricula design locally. Even those training providers who are actively involved in international work often forget the link between international activities and curricula. Recording international work in the curriculum would, however, be a good way of making international activities visible. It would act as a good reminder, encouraging teachers to bring more international dimension into their teaching.

Korkala points out that international success is a sum of many things. "The basis for successful international work is a close dialogue between regional and other top-level strategies, grassroots action and study plans as well as local curricula."

Read more results on the survey

Faktaa – Facts and Figures 1B/2016: International dimension in the strategies and daily life of vocational schools

(16.3.2016 | TL)

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