The first-ever Global Charter for Co-op and Work-Integrated Education has been signed by more than 50 university and college presidents, education association executives and high-ranking government officials. The signing happened on August 6, 2019, as part of the 2019 WACE World Conference in at the University of Cincinnati.
Among the charter signatories was Dr. Norah McRae, Associate Provost, Co-operative and Experiential Education for the University of Waterloo.
“For over 60 years, the University of Waterloo has been a world-leader in co-operative education, largely due to our focus on training students to be adaptive, resilient, future-ready problem solvers,” says McRae. “It was an honour to sign this charter to symbolize our ongoing global commitment to developing stronger international work-integrated learning experiences that prepare students to address the critical, growing needs of the world’s economy.”
The charter formalizes a commitment to grow the number and quality of international co-op and work-integrated learning opportunities for students around the world through three calls to action:
- Create a significant number of new opportunities for students of Charter supporters to obtain meaningful, international, work-integrated learning experiences, with a focus on scaling up;
- Develop and deliver educational offerings specifically designed to enhance student intercultural fluency and resilience with focus on equity, diversity and inclusion;
- Facilitate conversations between higher education and business to determine what constitutes ‘global work readiness’ and embedding these attributes in a global quality assurance framework.
“The rapid pace of change in business and industry, the increasingly global nature of employment and equitable access for all are themes that need the collective attention of employers and educators,” says Nancy Johnston, president of the World Association for Cooperative and Work-Integrated Education, which led the effort to create the Global Charter. “Work-integrated education is a proven model that brings these stakeholders together during the course of a student’s academic studies so that these challenges can be addressed in real-time, authentic ways that contribute to both a student’s learning and their workplace readiness.”
By engaging and uniting with partners to provide access for all post-secondary students to international work-based experiences, students will be more effectively prepared for the future of work and learning. In turn, gaining productive and rewarding employment anywhere in the world.