U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos to Deliver Keynote Address at Third International Congress on Vocational and Professional Education and Training

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U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos to Deliver Keynote Address at Third International Congress on Vocational and Professional Education and Training

Extends visit to explore world-renowned Swiss apprenticeship model, K-12 and vocational education in the Netherlands and U.K.
June 5, 2018

Washington — U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos will deliver the keynote address at the third International Congress on Vocational and Professional Education and Training (VPET) in Winterthur, Switzerland this week.  The remarks will kick off a ten day multi-stop learning tour including the exploration of apprenticeship programs in Switzerland, both vocational and primary school education in the Netherlands and the move towards a decentralized, school-led K-12 education system in the United Kingdom.

"There is much to learn from our European counterparts as they continue to advance education options centered on the needs of individual students and focused on their ability to succeed in the modern economy," said Secretary DeVos. "The proof is in the results as Switzerland, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom continue to out-perform American students on the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA). I look forward to this important opportunity to learn from European education leaders and to exchange ideas on how to ensure America's students have access to the lifelong learning journey that will put them on the path to success."

All school visits and meetings are closed to the express except for the International Congress on Vocational and Professional Education and Training.

The agenda for the multi-stop tour is as follows:

  • Switzerland: Vocational education and training is an integral part of the Swiss education system with close ties to the labor market, frequently combining apprenticeships and classroom instruction.  Apprenticeships are highly valued and competitive in Switzerland where 65% of students in upper secondary education are enrolled in pre-vocational or vocational programs. Among those who choose vocational programs, ninety-three percent are enrolled in joint vocational programs combining school and work-based elements.

    • Wednesday, June 6 (Zurich)

      Visit University of Teacher Education Zurich

      Briefing on apprenticeships by Dr. Ursula Renold, foremost Swiss expert on Career and Technical Education

    • Thursday, June 7 (Winterthur and Zurich)

      Deliver keynote address at International Congress on Vocational and Professional Education & Training

      Visit University of Applied Sciences with Federal Councilor and Minister for Economic Affairs, Education, and Research Johann Schneider-Ammann

      Visit Vocational Baccalaureate School and Career Counseling Centre biz Winterthur

      Meeting with State Secretary for Education, Research and Innovation Dr. Mauro Dell'Ambrogio

      Roundtable discussion with business leaders

    • Friday, June 8 (Zurich) 

      Visit Libs Training Centre, followed by visit to ABB

  • Netherlands: The Dutch have a wide range of educational options from which students can choose as well as a strong vocational education system with a high graduation rate and good career preparation. The majority of Dutch K-12 schools are publicly supported private schools./p>

  • United Kingdom: The U.K. is currently in the process of major vocational and education reform aiming to substantially increase the quality and quantity of apprenticeships in England. The government also has initiated a number of K-12 reforms that allow for a more diverse school system that serves the individual needs of students, no matter their background. These reforms include greater autonomy for schools and increased parental choice.