LONDON, July 11, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Utah Valley University (UVU) President Matthew S. Holland addressed the All Party Parliamentary Group on Foreign Affairs, which assembled to discuss "Education Reform: A Key Response to Current International Challenges." The remarks and discussion were held yesterday at the Palace of Westminster in a House of Lords committee room for cross-party members of both Houses and guests. One of three guest speakers, President Holland spoke about the impact for the State of Utah of incorporating vocational programs and a four-year academic institution under one roof at UVU. He also shared perspectives gained from his summer position as a Senior Associate at Pembroke College, University of Oxford, and collaboration with U.K. innovators on ways to improve vocational models.
The All Party Parliamentary Group discussion was hosted by Co-Chairmen Khalid Mahmood MP and Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne and built upon British Prime Minister Theresa May's call earlier this year to increase funding for technical education in light of Britain's shortage of skilled laborers, and the Queen's Speech to both Houses of Parliament in June. The event also featured as guest speakers Professor Sir Keith Burnett CBE, FRS, Vice Chancellor University of Sheffield and The Rt Revd Stephen Conway, The Lord Bishop of Ely and Member of the House of Lords.
"This is a very important issue for Great Britain," said Baroness Nicholson. "We've expanded our take of university students right up to 50 percent of the young population, which has meant we've left behind 'technical education.' We had fantastic panelists that complemented each other while tackling this whole great problem – this gulf between vocational and academic education. The discussion resulted in one of our most robust Q&A sessions, where President Holland, Sir Keith Burnett and the Bishop fielded so many questions from such a diverse audience. I count this as an important step."
"It is a distinct honor and lifetime opportunity to address Members of Parliament and other innovators concentrating on education reform at Parliament," said President Holland. "During my stay at Pembroke and in London, I have been thrilled by the level of interest and engagement in debating the value and opportunities surrounding vocational education. The U.K. is very focused on enhancing its vocational education system and I am pleased to share insights gained during my stay while also discussing lessons learned at UVU in combining vocational arts with advanced four-year degrees. That UVU's founding 75 years ago was tied to supporting the war effort with skilled laborers makes this meeting particularly meaningful for the UVU family."
The event filled the committee room to standing room capacity, attracting a broad mix of attendees, including members from both Houses of Parliament, scholars from the Universities of Cambridge and Oxford, graduate students, media and NGOs. The proceedings included 45 minutes of remarks from the guest speakers followed by a vigorous question and answer session conducted in parliamentary style that lasted 75 minutes.
About Utah Valley University Utah Valley University is home to more than 35,000 students. UVU began as a vocational school during World War II, and in the seven decades since has evolved into a technical school, community college, state college, and, finally, a comprehensive regional teaching university. UVU is one of Utah's largest institutions of higher learning and offers programs ranging from career training to high-demand master degrees.