Can setting up an associate degree enhance the status and attractiveness of higher vocational education?
The starting point for setting up an associate degree in higher vocational education should not only be to enhance the status and attractiveness of vocational education, but to establish a "overpass" for various types of education.
In recent years, the topic of whether to set up an associate degree in higher vocational colleges has caused great discussion.
Recently, the Ministry of Education announced the "Response to Recommendation No. 5066 of the Third Session of the 13th National People's Congress", which revealed that when the "Regulations on Academic Degrees of the People's Republic of China" is revised in the next step, this issue will be investigated and widely listened to. , And overall consideration.
The proposal of setting up an associate degree in higher vocational colleges has been put forward for many years, but it has not been adopted.
On the one hand, it involves the issue of amending the law. On the other hand, the relevant departments doubt the actual effect of setting up an associate degree. Not only does it fail to improve the status of vocational education, but it intensifies the academic complex.
The starting point for setting up an associate degree in higher vocational education should not only be to increase the attractiveness of higher vocational education with a degree, but also to promote the integration of general vocational education and promote the equal development of vocational education and general education.
As early as 2014, my country has awarded graduates with "Worker Degrees" by higher vocational colleges.
In order to promote the construction of a modern vocational education system, Hubei Vocational and Technical College has carried out reforms and experiments, and awarded graduates "Worker's Degree" at the graduation ceremony, which is similar to the "Associate Degree" awarded by higher education in other developed countries and Hong Kong .
However, this "degree" has not been recognized by the Ministry of Education, because in accordance with the "Regulations on Degrees of the People's Republic of China", my country's degree system stipulates that "degrees are divided into three levels: bachelor, master, and doctoral degrees," and there is no associate degree.
To grant an associate degree, it is necessary to amend the Degrees Ordinance.
In the absence of amendments to the Degrees Regulations, the "degrees" independently awarded by schools are not recognized.
Regarding the granting of associate degrees to graduates of higher vocational colleges, the proponents believe that this can increase the attractiveness of higher vocational colleges, so that graduates of higher vocational colleges, like undergraduate graduates, have both a diploma and a degree certificate, and enhance the sense of honor of graduates .
However, this has also been questioned.
Opponents believe that granting an associate degree does not increase the attractiveness of higher vocational education. In an education evaluation system with "academic complex", an associate degree is still one level lower than a bachelor's degree.
Just like part-time graduate students, the graduation certificates and degree certificates awarded are the same as those of full-time students, but only because they are “partial” they are treated as a lower level by the employer.
Moreover, granting an associate degree may cause vocational colleges to run schools not based on employment, but on improving academic levels.
Granting associate degrees to students of vocational colleges and community colleges is a practice in many developed countries and regions. However, the starting point of this approach should not only be to enhance the status and attractiveness of vocational education, but to establish various types of education. "Overpass", this requires the mutual recognition system of credits and the support of the free transfer system.
For example, in the United States, a community college student can apply for admission to a prestigious school with the credits of the community college course. After entering the prestigious school, he will not be discriminated against because of his “low first degree” and he can graduate after completing the required credits. , Get the undergraduate diploma and bachelor degree.
However, in my country, mutual recognition of credits has been mentioned for many years, but the system of mutual recognition of credits has not been established, and there is no sound transfer system between schools. Our vocational students want to transfer credits from higher vocational courses to ordinary undergraduate colleges. It is impossible to study, you must take the college entrance examination.
Under this circumstance, granting an associate's degree to a higher vocational graduate will only have one more certificate, and it will not solve the problem of the integration of general education and vocational education.
Recently, the Ministry of Education and other departments jointly issued the "Action Plan for Improving the Quality of Vocational Education (2020-2023)", which clearly mentions the need to promote the construction of the national qualifications framework and establish a mechanism for the identification, accumulation and conversion of learning achievements of all levels and types of education and training .
Accelerate the construction of a national "credit bank" for vocational education, formulate rules for recording hours and credits, and guide students and social learners to establish personal learning accounts for vocational education to store and accumulate learning achievements and skill wealth.
This is only a "credit bank" for vocational education, and it has not opened up general education and vocational education, and implemented mutual recognition of courses and credits.
Therefore, granting an associate degree is not just as simple as an additional certificate. This requires systematic reforms, especially the abolition of the management system and evaluation system that discriminates against vocational education. According to the requirements of the type of education, vocational education is truly integrated with general education. Equality is a type of education, not a level lower than general education.
□Xiong Bingqi (Educator)