Greetings to you all on this important celebration at Shaanxi Polytechnic Institute. I am Craig Robertson, Chair of the World Federation of Colleges and Polytechnics. I am speaking to you from Canberra, the Capital of Australia.
70 years of technical and vocational education is a momentous milestone and which all of you, that are involved at the Institute, should be very proud.
I congratulate all who have been involved in leading the college through that period you are celebrating. You are celebrating a rich history. From the establishment as the advanced polytechnic school, to 1999 when the Institute was upgraded to a Higher Vocational College with the new name of Shaanxi Polytechnic Institute. You have over 18,000 students, with strong international programmes and links with industry.
You celebrate 70 years at a tumultuous time. All countries have been rocked in some fashion from economic disruptions. Our regular way of life has been turned upside down. Technical and vocational education will be critical for the rebound of industry, communities, and countries.
It’s important to affirm the strong purpose of TVET. There are 5 important areas:
Firstly, TVET is accessible to all. Our programmes suite learners of all capabilities and backgrounds as a platform for success.
Secondly, TVET has immediate outcomes for graduates. It prepares students for work across of human endeavour.
Thirdly, TVET empowers students to forge a career. It prepares the whole person for life, in work, in community and in society.
Fourthly, TVET put new technology to work. It is structured learning and skills development to pass on technological capability to firms and organisations; and
Fifthly, TVET powers business we give people the skills and the confidence to start a new business and help other businesses grow.
This is the economic dividend from TVET. It’s the source for transformation in all students. It’s the way we build harmonious communities.
Even before the upheaval this year, we were seeing a major change in the workforce due to automation. Estimates in OECD countries suggest that 14% of jobs are at high risk of automation and that 32% of jobs are at some risk due to a change in automation.
The World Bank has some good news, however. Whilst jobs maybe lost initially, they return in new areas. We cannot halt the march of automation, nor should we want to. Success depends on how we re-skill and upskill workers for new opportunities. Our recovery depends on a strong TVET.
TVET must also evolve though. This is best described as bringing together for students, three important dimensions – Scientific Knowledge; Technical Knowledge and Practical Wisdom. China has a great perspective on this. I hear from my Chinese colleagues that this is called “Talent Development”. In TVET, we are in the talent business. You sit in the capital of China’s first empire. Your proud history sets you up for a strong future.
Hardy congratulations on your success over these 70 years. I see you bring TVET as the new force for change to China and the world over the next 70 years. Enjoy your celebrations because they are richly deserved, and I look forward to visiting your amazing institution at some point soon.
Thank you very much.