Brexit and education: technical university colleges in England to bridge the technical gaps

Some countries, particularly those that have a long history of vocational education (such as the United Kingdom and the United States), have recently seen a rapid expansion of hybrid schools, providing general and vocational education. The UK government introduced the University Technical Colleges (UTCs) in 2010. These new state-funded institutions (targeting young people aged 14-18) were established to combine academic and vocational education in a new type of hybrid institution.

Denouncing the lack of skills in various technical occupations, Prime Minister Boris Johnson promised to “end the useless gap between the so-called academic variety and the so-called practical variety of education.” In a recently published research article, it was attempted to understand whether UTCs have successfully educated students and bridge the gap between academic and technical education. The cornerstone of these institutions is a teaching curriculum that combines core academic subjects with technical subjects that meet regional skill shortages (such as engineering, manufacturing, or digital technology). UTCs also benefit from the direct involvement of local universities and employers: industry experts help design and deliver project-based learning by trying to develop skills and attributes valued in the workplace.

The first UTC opened in 2010, with another 58 subsequently opened in England.

The Center for Economic Performance (CEPR) conducted a study on the impact these new academic institutions have had on students and their learning outcomes.

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