Collaboration between Vocational and University Education: Building Partnerships

17-18 October 2011
The OECD/IMHE Seminar “Collaboration between Vocational and University Education: Building Partnerships for Regional Development" , Carlos Santamaría Center, at Campus Gipuzkoa of the University of the Basque Country (Donostia-San Sebastián), Spain.

This seminar examined the main challenges and opportunities of collaboration, for regional development, between vocational tertiary and university education. International good practices of collaboration and division of labor between tertiary education institutions were presented by a number of different speakers and discussed from the perspective of their contributions to human capital development and innovation in urban areas and regions.

This OECD/IMHE seminar attracted more than 80 participants along with the collaboration of 28 guest speakers. Attendees included experts in OECD, policy makers and practitioners from both public and private bodies concerned with development and innovation in cities and regions, as well as leaders and managers of universities and tertiary vocational educational institutions.


OECD/IMHE International Seminar “Collaboration between Vocational and University Education: Building Partnerships for Regional Development”
17-18 October 2011 Donostia-San Sebastián, Spain

Venue: Carlos Santamaríabuilding, Campus of Gipuzkoa, University of the Basque Country.


Monday 17 October

12:00 Welcome session
Màrius RUBIRALTA, General Secretary for Universities, Ministry of Education, ESIñaki GOIRIZELAIA, Rector of the University of the Basque Country, ES Isabel CELAÁ, Regional Minister of Education, Universities and Science, Basque Country, tbc Bernard HUGONNIER, Deputy-Director for Education, OECD

13:00 Lunch break

14:30 Keynote Speech

Collaboration For What?
The institutional divisions are unlikely to disappear between vocational and university education.  However in the international educational world, we are beginning to see evidence of an increased blurring of the boundaries. Post-secondary education does not require more barriers. Instead  it needs the collaboration between the vocational and the university sectors for social and economic development.
We ask: What type of collaboration between the two educational sectors will be more productive for regional development? What are the main educational and social challenges to this collaboration?

15:30 Plenary session I

Widening Access to Post-Secondary / Tertiary Education
Mass post-secondary education systems must be more differentiated than elite education systems because they enroll a more diversified student body, need to respond to new demands from the labor market, and must attempt to cover a broader range of knowledge. Diversification occurs between post-secondary education institutions such as universities of applied sciences, also referred to as professional universities, applied technological universities, colleges of higher vocational studies and within them such as in dual sector universities where substantial amounts of both vocational (skills-based) and higher (academic-based) education are found within the same institution. Can diversification widen access to those who were traditionally excluded from tertiary education? What are the strengths and weaknesses of these new tertiary education programs? Will we see new divides emerging among such tertiary education institutions?

16:45 Coffee break

17: 15 Plenary session II

Pathways Across the Educational System
Even as governments have established distinct educational sectors with different aims and purposes, they have also built bridges to access these sectors, enhancing the possibility for student transfers from one to the other. Unfortunately, despite the existence of some officially recognized connections between and within the various educational sectors, students’ mobility is still limited and recognition by other tertiary universities of prior learning is continuing to remain low. Let's explore some better strategies that will enhance learning pathways across tertiary education systems. Can the good practices of collaboration in this educational field scale tonot only the  the regional level, but also the national level?

18:30 End of First Day

20:30 Dinner

Restaurant: NINEU, Kuursal building, Donostia-San Sebastián -San Sebastián.

Tuesday 18 October

9.30 Keynote Speech
Tertiary Education for Lifelong Learning
Because of promising trends in the global economy, there is pressure for more flexibility in the provision of education and training at tertiary education institutions as well as for a more prominent role in providing lifelong learning options. It is dismaying to note that the principle of lifelong learning does not fit well with a system based on pragmatic barriers and divisions even when they are blurred. Let us explore and discover how well prepared are our tertiary education institutions for providing continuing education. In order to adapt to the new scenario, what are the necessary institutional changes that need to be addressed?

10:30 Coffee break

11:00 Plenary session III

Industry Driven Skills Development
If post-secondary education institutions collaborate not only with each other, but also with the industrial sector, they will see a significant contribution to human capital development in their cities and regions. The vocational and the university sectors must be able to collaborate through updating and upgrading workers’ skills in firms, while at the same time share business links for apprenticeships and internships to help establish dual programs with the business sector, etc. You might ask if the business sector is asking for more collaboration between vocational and university education? Let's explore the most productive areas of collaboration of these two sectors for human capital development.

12:30 Lunch break

14:00 Plenary session IV

Vocational and University Partnerships to Boost Innovation
In order to promote economic growth and competitiveness, a regional dimension of innovation is crucial.
If all post secondary educational institutions can help improve the capacity of their cities and regions to adapt knowledge and to foster innovation. We believe that by encouraging collaboration among tertiary education institutions there will be beneficial and innovative results for both the educational sector and the regional system. Lets again explore what kind of economic sectors would benefit the most from the collaboration between vocational and university institutions, focusing on specific gains in terms of economic efficiency.

15:30 Coffee break

16:00-17:30 Closing session
Making the Reforms Happen: Fostering Collaboration for Economic Growth and Development.

18:30 End of Second Day

All Info taken from the PDF file outlining the two day seminar: http://www.oecd.org/edu/imhe/48617959.pdf