Voka, the largest Flemish enterprise network, is enthusiastic about the latest memorandum from Flemish ministers Hilde Crevits and Philippe Muyters – particularly what it means for dual learning being explored in higher and adult education.
In 2015, the Flemish government took steps to bolstering their workforce by introducing a high-quality, fully-fledged alternative to existing 'classic' education systems. Called "dual learning", participating students acquire most of their training (60% or more) in the workplace and the rest at a center for part-time education. The reform's impact had significant success.
“We have always been advocates of dual learning. For us, this new start is a logical step after dual learning in secondary education, where we were also one of the initiators at the time. Now we are once again putting our noses to the grindstone on this project and we ourselves are the driving force behind a pilot project with Vives, PXL, HoGent, and Thomas More,” says Managing Director Hans Maertens. Voka is also pushing a separate Dual Learning Agency to which both the education and labor partners are represented, in response to the demand for a structured and generalized approach from the government.
A new, important step is being taken with pilot projects for dual learning in higher and adult education. Voka has always been an advocate and driving force for the dual learning to be introduced into Flemish education, seeing it is an important means to better coordinate education and the labor market, especially in view of the continuing shortage on the labor market.
“At the end of 2017, we organized an event with a number of partners to convince policy makers of dual learning in higher education; it was clearly successful," says Maertens.
The positive cooperation with the various stakeholders in the Flemish partnership is bearing fruit – the effect of which is also included in the starting memorandum for higher and adult education that was approved by the Flemish government.
“Shaping dual learning together with employers, trade unions and educational organizations is an absolute must. This worked very well for dual learning in secondary education, so that must certainly be retained for higher and adult education.”
Voka even goes one step further, however, and argues for a Dual Learning Agency.
"The current functioning of Syntra Flanders in relation to dual learning and partnerships is best placed in a new Agency for Dual Learning that coordinates and intensifies dual learning at all levels of education," says Maertens.
Voka is also the driving force behind one of the 15 pilot projects that will start in Flanders. The employers' organization thereby demonstrates that it believes in the concept, and also wants to play an active role itself.
"For us, this preliminary memorandum is a good basis for setting up future projects so that we can complete the operation in the next legislature."
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