On October 17, the MOE held a press conference in Qingdao, Shandong province, to introduce the Implementation Plan for Further Development of Vocational Education Teachers with Industry Experience in A New Era, along with two other policy documents aimed at building a stronger vocational teacher workforce.
Short-term goal: ensure majority of teachers have industry experience
According to the Implementation Plan, over half of vocational school teachers will have industry experience by 2022. To this end, professional qualification-oriented reforms to the existing teacher employment system will be introduced. “Beginning in 2019, for applied courses, new recruits should have at least three years’ experience working in business and a four-year college degree. From 2020 onwards, with the exception of those holding multiple professional certificates, candidates without at least 3 years industry experience will be excluded for consideration for teaching positions.”
Flexible hiring mechanisms will also be introduced, allowing vocational schools to make optimal use of non-staff human resources to fill outstanding full-time vacancies. “To improve the overall strength of the teacher workforce, the existing staffing structure will be reformed. Vocational schools will be given more autonomy in hiring part-time teachers, and a quota for non-staff positions will be established, to attract the best vocational and technical talent to teach and share their expertise,” as set out in the Implementation Plan.
Establishing a professional standards system for vocational school teachers
Apart from employment reforms, the Implementation Plan also includes measures for improving the quality of vocational school teachers.
Differentiated professional standards will be established for teachers teaching general, specialized and practical courses. Accordingly, recruitment, training, performance evaluation, granting of professional titles, and compensation criteria will be tailored to different teacher categories. Various qualification improvement plans will be implemented and third-party teacher qualification evaluation will be introduced. For instance, new hires will be subject to a one-year probation period for teaching and a three-year on-the-job training period at partner businesses. Teachers giving specialized courses will need to have a cumulative minimum of one month of practice or training at a training center every year.
The Implementation Plan requires roll out of a five-year training rotation system, to align with the “1+X” Certification (i.e., 1 academic certificate + several vocational skills certificates) Requirement for vocational teachers. It also encourages establishment of a new teacher evaluation system involving vocational colleges, businesses and training evaluation organizations.
Establishment of 100 business training centers for teachers
To ensure teachers are able to gain industry experience, the Implementation Plan calls for “the creation of a number of first-class vocational teachers colleges and disciplines” and “the joint establishment of 100 teacher training centers by vocational schools and partner businesses, and 100 national-level business training centers.” In addition, it demands the construction of 1,000 national-level studios and expertise and skills transmission platforms. 360 national-level vocational teaching and innovation teams will be organized, and every year, 1,000 team members will be sent to Germany and other western countries for academic visits and further studies to learn the best international practices.
To further motivate vocational school teachers, the Plan makes it clear that “vocational schools may distribute proceeds from school-industry partnerships, technical services and training, and self-owned businesses to teachers as merit pay for teachers.”The MOE has launched a training center selection process in conjunction with a number of other ministries.