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星期三, 3月 02, 2016

Minuteman Hosts Visit from High-Ranking Official and Delegation from Thailand

Minuteman Hosts Visit from High-Ranking Official and Delegation from Thailand

LEXINGTON – As a nationally-recognized vocational-technical school, Minuteman High School is accustomed to seeing visitors from across the United States.  This month, Minuteman played host to an international delegation from Thailand.

Led by the nation’s Minister of Science and Technology, a five-member delegation from Thailand visited Minuteman on March 1.  The delegation was hoping to learn about Minuteman’s STEM initiatives and innovative vocational-technical education programs. 

Officials met with teachers and students and toured Minuteman’s Engineering and Robotics programs.  Teaching in both programs adheres to national curriculum guidelines established by Project Lead the Way (PLTW), the nation’s leading provider of K-12 STEM programs. 

Dr. Pichet Durongkaveroj, Thailand’s Minister of Science and Technology, visited the school’s Engineering, Robotics, Carpentry and Plumbing programs and talked with Minuteman students.  He later sat down with Dr. Edward Bouquillon, Minuteman’s Superintendent, to share thoughts about education in Thailand and the United States.

“We need to find innovative ways to change education,” said Dr. Durongkaveroj.  “I want to put more emphasis on the ‘E’ in STEM,” he said. 

The ‘E’ in STEM stands for Engineering.

The Minister indicated he wanted to increase the number of workers in Thailand who are trained in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) fields, increase awareness of STEM education, and set STEM education as a key national agenda.

“Students want to do something meaningful, instead of just memorizing facts” he said. 

Becky Quay, one of Minuteman’s Engineering Technology teachers, told the Minister:  “Project-based learning is key.”  Quay said hands-on learning brings academic subjects to life and demonstrates their relevance to students.

Minister Durongkaveroj told Dr. Bouquillon that he would like to encourage more businesses to invest in new educational programs.  He said Thailand encouraged such private sector investment through its taxation policy.    

The Minister pointed to Thailand’s Work Integrated Learning program as one way to make learning more meaningful for students.  Through that program, students get hands-on training at private companies, under the supervision of their schools.  

He said educators can also use the Internet to help students learn.

The officials from Thailand were also interested in learning about the structure and organization of career and technical education, how Minuteman determines which programs to offer, and how the school is connected to business and industry.  They also talked about Minuteman’s efforts to build a new school.

At the end of the visit, officials from Minuteman and Thailand agreed to stay in contact.  Dr. Bouquillon said Minuteman would be helpful in any way possible assisting the Minister with workforce development issues from a vocational-technical education perspective. 

“We can learn from each other,” said Minister Durongkaveroj.

David Dimmett, Senior Vice President at Project Lead The Way, said his organization has been focused primarily on advancing applied K-12 learning in the U.S.  However, “we enjoy learning about education from a global perspective so that we can better prepare our students to thrive in a changing world. We all benefit by better understanding our common challenges and the innovative solutions to those challenges,” he said.  

Earlier in the day, the delegation from Thailand visited Harvard University’s Innovation Lab in Allston.  During the week-long visit to the United States, the Minister of Technology and Science was also scheduled to speak at Harvard Business School and at MIT.   

The visit to Minuteman was arranged through Project Lead the Way.

Minuteman is an award-winning regional high school that integrates robust academic and career & technical learning to deliver a revolutionary competitive advantage. The school serves a diverse student body with multiple learning styles, expanding opportunities for college and career success.

Minuteman has been spotlighted in major media outlets, including The Boston Globe, Boston Herald, and National Public Radio.  It was featured in a book, Job U: How to Find Wealth and Success by Developing the Skills Companies Actually Need.

Last year, Minuteman’s Girls in STEM initiative won a national Grand Prize award from SkillsUSA, the organization that sponsors skill and leadership competitions for career and technical education students in the United States.