Students Kayla Pacheco (C) and Jake Ferreira (L) discuss their Electrical shop / Jim Phillips TSM

A group of educators and government officials from the Azores and Portugal toured Greater New Bedford Regional Vocational Technical High School on Monday.

It was a fact-finding trip, looking at ways they can improve vocational education in their country.

The dozen or so visitors were widely impressed by the facility and the skills displayed by students in a variety of shops.

Elizabeth Tavares is a government official from Lagoa. Because of budget constraints and other issues, Tavares says its unlikely you'll see anything like Voc-Tech in Portugal anytime soon.

"Everything is exceptional here. One or two suggestions from our visit must be developed and must be tested in our small world," said Tavares. She added, it might be 20 years before vocational education in the Azores looks like what they've seen this week.

Voc-Tech Teacher Michael Watson helped co-ordinate the visit to the New Bedford  school.  He says so many people from the Azores have come to New Bedford and contributed to our way of life.  "If we can give back and help them with their educational programs, as educators that's part of what our mission is."

The group is also making visits to UMass Dartmouth and Bridgewater State University during their stay.

Educators from the Azores observe a classroom exercise / Jim Phillips TSM