Federal Council approves report on Switzerland’s international activities in VPET

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On 13 December 2019 the Federal Council approved a report on Switzerland’s international activities in vocational and professional education and training. The report concludes that the country has a coherent system of activities which are well coordinated by the existing interdepartmental coordination group and lead to the creation of synergies. However, there is some room for improvement with regard to communication.

The report, which meets the demand made in the Hche Postulate (17.3506), provides a systematic breakdown of the aims pursued by the Confederation in international cooperation in VPET:

  • The State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation, which is responsible for VPET at federal level, works with the cantons and professional organisations to promote and develop the Swiss system at national and international level. This involves the recognition of diplomas, mobility funding and the exchange of expertise with countries interested in developing their education systems.
  • The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs and the State Secretariat for Migration run VPET projects in priority countries in a range of policy areas - development, migration and foreign economic policy - under the umbrella of sustainable development.
  • Presence Switzerland and Switzerland’s external diplomatic network increase the visibility of Swiss VPET abroad in their communication activities, promoting a positive image of the country. The interest of other countries in the Swiss VPET system can also mean that Switzerland’s concerns are more readily heard abroad.

The Interdepartmental Coordination Group on International Cooperation in VPET promotes the exchange of information among federal agencies. It allocates external requests to the offices and upholds ties with a network of national players. Ad-hoc expert groups are formed on various topics to bring together expertise and exploit synergies. The Coordination Group also works to avoid potentially conflicting goals and contradictions in strategy.

The Federal Council does not find it necessary to set up a new and additional steering body (task force), as proposed by the postulate. However, there is room for improvement with regard to communication. The report already helps to provide a better understanding of the different strategic aims, responsibilities, and focus areas of the federal offices and agencies, and of when and where they can or choose to become involved.

In recent years, the strengths of the Swiss VET system have increasingly attracted the interest of other countries. Key features of the system are a focus on labour market needs, the dual approach involving practice and theory, high-quality training and its permeability, which allows students at all stages to progress in their education or career. One key feature of success is the cooperative partnership between the Confederation, cantons and professional organisations.

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