Internationalisation strategy

Rakvere Vocational School´s Strategy for International Relations
2015-2020

1. Introduction

International dimension is today an inseparable part of vocational education. Internationality is reflected in all the work areas of the school. Taking part in international cooperation is not an aim in itself; it helps to ensure the sustainability and attractiveness of the school as well as the quality of vocational education in the region.

Vision

Rakvere Vocational School is a visionary and powerful educational establishment in Virumaa training international level professionals in different fields.

Mission

With the help of an up-to-date learning environment as well as friendly, motivated and qualified staff, Rakvere Vocational School seeks to offer innovative opportunities for students´ personal development as well as for managing their professional lives.

The aim of the present document is to specify the directions and activities of internationalisation in Rakvere Vocational School. The document is based on the development plan of Rakvere Vocational School; Estonian Lifelong Learning Strategy for vocational education programme 2015-2018; as well as on the development plan “Smart and Active People” issued by the Ministry of Education and Research.

As a result of international cooperation Rakvere Vocational School can contribute to the development of its staff and learning processes. Furthermore, since 2011 the school has been participating in the projects of Estonian Development Cooperation supporting the development of vocational education in Georgia. The school also has cooperation experience with vocational education establishments in Armenia.

2. Improving internationalisation in studies
2.1 Development of the curriculum

As regulated by the Vocational Educational Institutions Act, the school follows the European Credit System for Vocational Education and Training (ECVET), the implementation of outcome-based curricula and the learner-centered assessment of the study process.

2.1.1 Main aims of curriculum development:

1) Implementing the information gathered via learning mobility into curriculum development;
2) Creating and implementing international speciality modules.

2.2 Mobility

The mobility of students and teachers serves as an important factor of developing the European common space of education. Learning mobility is an important indicator of internationalisation. The experience of learning mobility contributes to the professional development of both teachers and students, as well as improves the students´ competitiveness on labour market. Furthermore, learning mobility also broadens the mind of the participants, prepares them for competing on international labour market, as well as complements the possibilities of the curriculum. Due to the reasons mentioned above, the school seeks to increase the number of students and teachers participating in learning mobility as well as the school´s participation in international cooperation. The school favours its students and employees participating in learning mobility/learning abroad, as well as creates conditions for hosting foreign students and teachers.

2.2.1 Main aims regarding student mobility:

1) 7% (50 students) will be taking part in the learning mobility programme in 2020 (annually);
2) Erasmus+ programme remains the main form of student exchange;
3) Integrating useful experience more effectively into the learning process. Sharing one´s knowledge and skills with other learners and teachers.

Frequent teachers´ mobility serves as an indicator of the internationalisation of vocational education. By valuing the experience of our partner schools the mobility of our students and teachers is favoured in every possible way. It is also just as important to engage more foreign lecturers because it gives us the opportunity to improve the quality and attractiveness of teaching and learning; enables to offer studies in the fields where we do not have enough competence ourselves; as well as increases the number of modules/topics taught in foreign languages.

2.2.2 Main aims regarding staff mobility:

1) The school has stated in its development plan that each school year ̴36% (30 people) of the staff participate in different international projects, including ̴12% (10 employees) involved in learning mobility. In the context of staff mobility the school values stability;
2) Improving the staff´s foreign language skills in order to increase the number of people participating in learning mobility/ international cooperation;
3) Sharing and implementing useful experience gained through international cooperation;
4) Engaging foreign teachers;
5) The school favours virtual mobility of the staff (teaching and learning in international online courses, being part of professional virtual communities etc.).

3. International communication and partnerships

The school has special measures for ensuring international visibility:
1) Participating in international networks (every department of knowledge has its international cooperation network);
2) Active cooperation with partner schools, creating new partnerships;
3) Information activities via different marketing channels (homepage; information booklet etc.) as well as reviewing and renewing the channels once a year. Creating subpages and social media channels in English and Russian.

4. Staff and support system for internationalisation

The working environment of the school is open and supportive for newcomers; main services are also accessible to non-Estonian speakers. The school provides all hosted students and teachers with a contact person.

The main goals related to the internationalisation of the support system:
1) Developing the language skills of the staff;
2) Ensuring a sufficient number of places for exchange students and teachers in the school´s hostel.

5. Implementing the strategy

More detailed activities for achieving the aims of the strategy are presented in the annual general work-plan as well as in the work-plans of the departments. The monitoring of the realisation of the activities is carried out by the school board semi-annually. Once a school year the results of international cooperation are discussed in the board meeting.