Liaoning schools first to offer VCE next year
Five high schools from the mainland province of Liaoning will be the first in the world next year to offer an Australian secondary school certificate that will be taught in English by Chinese teachers.
Eltham College of Education, a Melbourne private school, has spent two years preparing the new schools to teach the Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE).
The college already operates an English-language school in Beijing where Eltham staff visit to train the teachers and work on exchange.
The new, private international schools in Liaoning will be connected to the Eltham Knowledge network - an online student learning management system.
As well as allowing VCE teachers in Melbourne to check student assessment, the system will also enable them to monitor the work of the Chinese teachers and provide guidance.
The project is a partnership between Eltham, the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority (VCAA) and a Melbourne investment company, the David Glory Group, which is financing the building of the kindergarten to Year 12 schools.
One of the schools has been completed, another will be ready early next year and the remaining three will be finished in time for the start of the next school year.
Students will undertake the usual Chinese curriculum but in senior school those who want to can switch to the VCE course for their final two years.
Eltham principal Dr David Warner was in Liaoning province last week with senior staff from the VCAA to inspect the facilities and meet with key government and school officials.
Dr Warner said the development was part of an educational agenda in the province to create a series of high schools where students could develop advanced English language and learning skills needed to succeed in the west.
'The fact that passing the VCE will give the students access to Australian higher education is an important aspect for parents,' Dr Warner said. 'But more so is the fact the students will be able to complete the course at home rather than travelling overseas for what could amount to six years or more.'
Dr Warner pointed out that this was a much cheaper option. But the students will still pay fees to enrol at the schools as well as outlaying A$1,000 ($6,080) to the VCAA so they can sit the VCE examinations.
He said the curriculum authority staff were impressed and were confident of the schools' abilities to meet the VCE curriculum and assessment standards.
'This development is significant because it means we are on the path to creating an internationally recognised VCE as a world-class schooling credential,' he said.
Although two other Melbourne schools offer some VCE subjects online to mainland students, the Eltham project is the first time the complete certificate will be taught onshore by mainland teachers.