TOKYO : The Office of the Vocational Education Commission (Ovec) is seeking cooperation with Japan's Institute of National Colleges of Technology, known as Kosen, to boost vocational and engineering education in the country.
Established in 1962, Kosen offers high-school graduates five-year further education programmes designed to produce technicians.
The courses focus on experimentation, demonstration and hands-on practice in response to the urgent demand for staff from science and technology industries.
Students who complete the five-year programme can then pursue a bachelor's degree through Kosen's two-year advanced engineering course.
Kosen executive director Igarashi Kazuo said 60% of graduates from the five-year course pursue work, while 40% continue their studies. About 70% of students who complete the degree course receive job offers in relevant fields, he said.
Education Ministry vice minister Kitti Limskul said engineering and life sciences play an important role in helping people to live in a rapidly changing world, and Kosen specialises in these fields.
"We are considering establishing a working group between Kosen and Ovec to work closely together to nurture our vocational students in engineering and technology," he said.
Ovec secretary-general Chaiyapruek Serirak said Kosen graduates are in great demand in the labour market.
He expects the mutual cooperation would help boost the quality of the country's vocational education to international standards and increase the ratios of vocational to mainstream education to 51 to 49 by 2015.
The current ratio is 38 to 62.
After preliminary discussions, Kosen and Ovec agreed to improve teaching methodology for vocational teachers and educational personnel, to promote student and teacher exchange programmes, and to encourage more workshop sharing between the two.
Ovec has established ties with four other countries which boast a high quality of vocational education _ Germany, South Korea, Singapore and China.