|International Congress on the Development and Improvement of Technical and Vocational Education - Final Report - 22 June -1 July 1987, Berlin (UNESCO, 1987, 68 p.)|
Address by Mr Akihiro Chiba
Representative of the Director-General of Unesco
on the occasion of the closing of the International Congress on the Development and Improvement of Technical and Vocational Education
Mr Secretary of State for Technical and Vocational Education,
Distinguished Participants, Observers,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The time has come to say good-bye to each other but I am sure all of you will agree that the past ten days during which we have worked together were one of the most profitable and significant occasions for professional educators involved in technical and vocational education. There are many factors and elements which have made this Congress one of the most memorable events in the development of technical and vocational education in the world. This is the first congress of international scale ever held in the field of technical and vocational education in the past 40 years within the framework of Unesco with the participation of over 160 eminent specialists from 64 countries. A further important factor, for which all the participants must be congratulated, is the very high qualitative, pertinent and constructive contribution each of you has made towards the success of the Congress. In this connection, Mr President, you deserve our special praise for the most excellent manner in which you guided the debates of the Congress and let me thank you most sincerely on behalf of all of us.
May I also thank the Vice-Presidents and Rapporteurs of the Congress and the Chairmen, Vice-Chairmen and Rapporteurs of the Commissions for their effective contributions without which the Congress would not have achieved such successful results.
An equally important factor for the success of the Congress is the full support and blessing of the authorities and people of the German Democratic Republic. The special honour given to us in person by Mr Willi Stoph, Chairman of the Council of Ministers, by warmly inviting us to his reception, touched all of us and it is clear evidence of the commitment of the authorities toward international co-operation and more particularly to this Congress. On behalf of all the participants, I request you, Mr President, to convey our heartfelt gratitude and best wishes to Mr Willi Stoph.
People in many corners of the world would say that the characteristics of the German people are warm-heartedness, diligence, thoroughness, perserverance, precision, discipline and efficiency, and I could go on adding many more virtues. These are exactly the qualities demonstrated by the National Organizing Committee in the planning of the Congress and in welcoming us all to this Congress.
The logistic organization, interpretation, the arrangements for the exhibition and field trips are indeed exemplary and all of us will remember the Congress with a very pleasant souvenir of Berlin 1987, which in fact coincides with the 750th anniversary of this historically prestigious city.
May I express, on behalf of all present here, our warmest thanks to the National Organizing Committee for the excellent preparation and organization of the Congress. Mr Secretary of State, you have a team of such wonderful and efficient personnel in your service and they are so pleasant and co-operative. I can see clearly why technical and vocational education is so successfully developed in your country because of their human qualities and devotion. I should also like to request you, Mr Chairman, to convey our thanks to Mr Erhard Krack, Lord Mayor of Berlin, for receiving all of us at the magnificent City Hall of Berlin. In fact, all the citizens of Berlin have warmly welcomed us and I could witness that they are all behind the authorities, to establish the City of Berlin as a permanent symbol and site of lasting peace. We are greatly impressed by your firm determination that no war will ever start from this city. We will certainly carry home your message and tell our families, friends and colleagues about your will for peace and ask them to join in the world-wide effort for lasting peace.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
However successful the Congress may be, it would become an isolated event in history unless we follow up what we discussed, agreed and recommended.
Berlin 1987 which has lit up the field of technical and vocational education in the 1980s must continue to illuminate the future path of development and show clear direction in the 1990s. You have made new acquaintances and renewed your friendship and the partnership evolved in the Congress must be carefully nurtured. Unesco will no doubt have many occasions to have your close association, in future international or regional conferences, such as the 41st session of the International Conference on Education which will discuss the theme of diversification of post-secondary education in relation to employment or the 1989 International Congress on Educational Planning and Management.
You will also continue to enrich Unescos normative action through the implementation of the 1974 Revised Recommendation on Technical and Vocational Education and some of you may actively participate in the preparation and finalization of the Convention in this field.
The Unesco Secretariat has taken note of the many useful suggestions and recommendations of this Congress and they will be reported faithfully to the Director-General. Careful review will be made to find the moat effective ways and means to follow up the recommendations within the framework of the programme and budget for 1988-1989, which will be examined and approved by the General Conference of Unesco at its twenty-fourth session in October/November this year.
In fact, some of your recommendations will be carried out as soon as the proposed Programme and Budget for 1988-1989 is approved as it already foresees a number of activities in line with what you recommended. For example, the twice-yearly Information Bulletin on Technical and Vocational Education can be strengthened to play a greater role in the international exchange of information, including vocational guidance. The preparation of an illustrated technical dictionary, planned for 1988/89, will meet the wishes of many participants.
In addition to the preparation of case studies and annotated bibliographies, guides are under preparation for the use of computers in management of technical and vocational education institutions and for the evaluation of technical and vocational education curricula and courses. A prototype of course curricula for the training of computer technicians at post-secondary level, developed in Asia, is being experimented in three institutions of other regions, and will eventually be disseminated after careful evaluation. Unesco has already developed an International Technical Illustration Bank (ITIB) comprised of technical illustrations and learning modules in sixteen different topics such as electronics, solar energy, etc. which will be useful for the national authorities to develop their own learning material in national languages.
Several activities are also foreseen for the access of girls and women to technical and vocational education, including international meetings and pilot projects.
It is equally important that the National Commissions study the conclusions and recommendations of this Congress and they will make their assessment of the priorities and importance this Congress has attached to technical and vocational education. The outcomes of such an assessment need to be appropriately reflected in their suggestions to Unesco for the preparation of Unescos Third Medium-Term Plan, which will be the main blueprint of international co-operation within the framework of Unesco for 1990-1995.
As you are aware, resources available for international and multilateral co-operation are extremely limited. Every possible way must be found to make the optimal use of scarce resources by avoiding duplication and by concentrating on major priority programmes and actions. In this connection your outcry for more effective co-ordination both within the governments and among international agencies is most pertinent.
Many important guidelines you have outlined for the optimal use of resources will have to be kept in mind in our future action; cost effectiveness, relevance, innovation and multiplier effect, greater measures for realizing self-reliance, adaptability to rapid scientific and technological advances, to name a few.
The overwhelming concern appears to lie in the training of key personnel and teachers, and in the exchange of information. A number of useful recommendations need to be followed up and Unesco will certainly do its best to support national or regional action in this domain through its Regular Programme and Participation Programme, or through the co-operation of other funding agencies. In this connection, you are kindly requested to co-ordinate your action very carefully with other national agencies, in full consultation with the national planning and co-ordinating authorities and Unesco National Commissions. I should also like to appeal to the representatives of both bilateral and multilateral funding and technical co-operation agencies and the international non-governmental organizations present here to maintain close contacts and consultations and Unesco will be more than pleased to co-operate with you in the joint activities.
The year 2000 is approaching. If we are convinced of progress in our history we have so many unfinished tasks and duties to fulfil before the dawn of the century, which should not be passed over to the new generation of the 21st century.
Provision of education for all and democratization of education, especially the eradication of illiteracy and the universalization of primary education will constitute a gigantic challenge for national authorities of developing countries and the international community. Democratization of education will have to be realized not only in quantitative terms but also in qualitative terms. This Congress confirmed the important role of technical and vocational education in the process of democratization of education and of society. It also provided the opportunity to reflect on its basic goals and objectives and we have been reassured that technical and vocational education will continue to contribute to human resources development, especially in the light of rapid scientific and technological progress and more importantly to development of human capacity and quality for creativity and innovation which will be vital for the realization of human dignity and self-confidence.
We have learned through history that mankind must live in partnership and solidarity based on equality and justice and I am happy to conclude that the partnership in technical and vocational education is clearly evident and Berlin 87 has given us the confidence and determination for further development.