Portfolio of Kimberly Johans

A collection of articles created during my stint as a journalist at The Macau Daily Times

Millenium school and Perth Institute join forces in education initiative

Posted by Kimberly on July 12, 2007

By Kimberly Johans
Published in The Macau Daily Times
July 12 2007, page 4 (989 words)

 

The Millennium Secondary School (Macau) signed a cooperation agreement yesterday with the Perth Institute (Western Australia) to launch joint Australian programs next year.
the agreement was signed by Mr Trevor Barker, Director of the Perth Institute and Mr Tsui Po Fung, principal of Millennium Secondary School.
Established in 1993, the Perth Institute will deliver its secretarial and business administrative programs in conjunction with Millennium School’s practical business administrative program.
The Perth Institute will also assist students of the Millennium school to achieve Certificate III and IV of Business Management under the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) system.
In addition, the Millennium school will provide a ‘Tourism and Event Management’ vocational program with the help of the Perth Institute in order to interchange and communicate at a later stage.
Mr Barker believed that with the growth in Macau’s hotel industry, it was necessary to have an improved planning environment for the hospitality industry.
“This is our first joint venture in Macau and we’re happy to do it with the Millennium Secondary School and are looking forward to developing a strong program for the betterment of the hospitality industry here in Macau,” he said.
He added that it was important, with the continued growth of tourism in Macau, “that the quality of teaching and the high standards of service is maintained.”
“The emphasis is on the practical component because this is the first step for anybody looking to work in the hospitality industry,” he said.
As Mr Barker said, the course will cover theory in the first year, focussing on financial skills in the second year, including “learning about financial control, quality control and marketing.”
“Our program in Australia leads into a Bachelor of Business degree in Hotel Management and as such the Advanced Diploma is based on the same ideals here.
“So we developed the program on the basis that students can graduate and work in a hotel environment of first class standard,” adding that the focus would be on front-of-house.
The Perth Institute has been established in China since 1991, having delivered joint hospitality programs in cooperation with six schools, including Hong Kong, which has a current intake of 60 students.
“As we were already in Hong Kong and China we thought it was a natural transition to do something in Macau.
“Macau’s environment is completely different to Hong Kong because of the casinos.
“I came here to visit a year ago and there really was a shortage of trained personnel so we saw the opportunity that we could provide some support to the industry,” said Mr Barker.
Asked whether the Institute was the only one to have such an arrangement with an educational establishment in Macau, Mr Barker said, “As far as I know, yes. We were the first in China and we have a very good model. We’re just trying to emulate the model here.”
Students in Macau will also be provided with an opportunity to complete part of their program in Australia, although this is dependent on visa regulations.
“Absolutely. We are able to have students do part of the program here and then apply for a student visa to come to Australia to complete their program.
“As long as they meet the requirements of the Australian visa regulations, we’re very happy to support them,’ said Mr Barker.
With the costs of the course being quite low, at US$1,000 per year, Mr Barker said, “quite clearly it’s not a money-making exercise for our college.
“We’re already in the region. Macau is a growing tourism environment and I feel it’s a good prospect for our college to create a further association with the hotel industry here,” he said.
He added that such a connection could also mean an opportunity to train existing casino staff members on aspects of hospitality.
He said that, “by developing this relationship further there may be opportunities for our Hong Kong students to travel and work in Macau and there may be opportunities for our Chinese graduates.
“It honestly might be difficult to try and understand why we’re coming here and not making any money and possibly costing us money.
“I’m very proud of Australian education and I’m very proud of what our college has done and to achieve spending eight years in China establishing six joint ventures and over 700 students.
“I think it’s no problem to come to a place like Macau to help and as support and I think in the long term that will benefit our college in any case,” he said.
Mr Tsui added that there were expecting an intake of about “30 students” but also said, “of course I don’t expect all of them at the same time would like to get the Australian recognition,” but that most likely, about half the intake would be expected to take up this option.
The Millennium School will also be proposing cooperation with the Institute to open up several short-term community courses for Macau residents.
These courses would include, but are not limited to, responsible service of alcohol, event management, coffee making and hotel reception.
Mr Tsui took the opportunity to comment on the current vocational education policy, pointing out the inadequacies of the system in supporting adult students who wish to study while working.
“This is the first time I have commented on the government’s educational policy publicly. So no written paper has as yet been sent to the government.
“Our school will be cooperating with some other associations like the continuing education or higher education associations to write a paper to provide to the government, to a senior office like Mr Tsui Wai Kwan, instead of only to the education and youth services.
“I think they should pay attention, at least when the newspaper publicises such issues. They should also be concerned with this matter.
“I have faith that they will listen but I cannot guarantee because I’m not in power to change the law,” he said.

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