In the context of a virtual event organised by the Swiss-Mexican Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Swiss Embassy in Mexico, on 25 November Swiss State Secretary Martina Hirayama and Mexican Minister of Education Delfina Gómez Àlvarez signed a letter of intent on cooperation in vocational education and training. The aim is to strengthen the existing partnership in this field and to promote the realisation of projects.
Cooperation between Mexico and Switzerland in the field of vocational education and training (VET) gained momentum after the initial letter of intent (LOI) was signed in 2016. This collaboration has since become firmly established. Various formats for exchange are used at policy and technical level. A number of Swiss companies operating in Mexico also offer dual education programmes as part of the ’Alianza Suiza por la Educación Dual’ (Swiss Alliance on Dual Education) initiative, which was launched in 2016. Since then, 350 apprentices have been trained in Swiss companies in seven Mexican states, and 140 vocational trainers have been trained. A dialogue on this topic is also taking place between the two countries within the Pacific Alliance, in which Switzerland has observer status. Mexico has taken various measures to establish dual education at upper-secondary level.
By signing the second LOI on 25 November, the two countries have signalled their intent to intensify this positive collaboration. The LOI underlines the importance of VET for the economies and societies of both countries, and recognises the important commitment of the private sector to VET. The LOI provides a political basis on which to develop cooperation activities in the field of VET over the next three years. These activities are to be founded on the principles of excellence, equality and mutual interest.
Switzerland and Mexico have already established good relations in the fields of education, research and innovation. However, there is still potential for further consolidation. In addition to dialogue and projects, existing cooperation instruments in the field of VET include the Swiss Government Excellence Scholarships for Foreign Scholars and Artists. Around 150 scholarships have been awarded to candidates from Mexico since 1963. Other instruments are the calls for proposals organised by the Leading House for Latin America (University of St Gallen) and the financial instruments provided by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) to support international research projects and mobility. In the context of SNSF instruments, Mexico is the third most important Latin American partner after Brazil and Argentina.