Technical and Vocational Education and Training
July 6th 2011 Kenya Daily Nation reveals findings of GESCI and Kenya Ministry of Higher Education Baseline survey:
Education for All and Knowledge Society agendas are challenging the institutional and human resource capacity of education systems around the world. The pressure to provide access and a quality education to learners partaking in 21st Century knowledge-based societies and economies is immense. Governments in developing countries have been responding to this pressure by investing in ICT for education. However, these investments often go to waste, because lecturer and instructor capacity to effectively and appropriately use and integrate ICT is not addressed. Lecturers and instructors are pivotal agents in the drive to transform education systems. Ministries Higher Education and Science and Technoloy across Africa are now harnessing the power of ICT for Skills Development and Training to equip lecturers and instructors with the skills and knowledge to spur the development of an inclusive knowledge society.
We consider lecturers and instructors to be critical leverage points in the ICT in Education system. By working with Ministries of Higher Education and Science and Technology to equip lecturers and instructors with the knowledge and skills they need to integrate ICT into their practice we know we are helping to address issues of relevance, quality and access at multiple points in developing country education systems.
GeSCI has facilitated national multi-stakeholder consultative workshops in collaboration withMinistries of Higher Education and Technical and Vocational Institutions in Kenya, and Ghana to determine ICT in Lecturer and Instructor competency needs. ICT Lecturer and Instructor competencies were identified as a major challenge. Competency standards are critical to ensuring that lecturers and instructors are taught the same relevant material and that training programmes can be evaluated to determine their appropriateness and completeness.
We’ve been focusing on Standards and Competencies for Lecturers and Instructors with the help of the ICT TPD matrix. The matrix, which was developed by GeSCI in 2009 is based on the UNESCO ICT Competency Standards and each framework in the matrix defines principles and models for ICT integration along a continuum of emerging (basic use), technology literacy (applying), knowledge deepening (infusing) and knowledge creation (transforming) stages.
The Government of Ghana has placed within its national development agenda an emphasis on skills, science, technology, and innovation for promoting economic growth and job creation. Over the past year GeSCI has been expanding its partnership with the Ministry of Education to include support for Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET). Within this support a number of priority sectors have been chosen, including ICT. Policy makers have prioritised a cross-sectoral programme to harmonise and implement this agenda. With support being provided by a number of development partners , the Council for Technical Vocational Education and Training, COTVET, has been spear heading the Ghana Skills and Technology Development Project (GSTDP) to support this government programme. To provide inputs and support to the Government, GeSCI was appointed project coordinator by the World Bank for this project. The expectation is that skills and technology development will support two different but related agendas: poverty reduction and competitiveness.
Better skills and technology use can contribute to the efficiency and competitiveness of Ghanaian firms both in the formal and informal sectors, thereby creating new job opportunities and reaching the poorest.
The project consists of the following components:
Component 1: Institutional Strengthening of Skills Development. This programme includes, among others, strong monitoring and evaluation (M&E) for skills development, a certification system based on competency-based training standards, and strategic positioning of the skills provision.
Component 2: Institutional Strengthening of Science and Technology Development. This component will strengthen governance and coordination of national science, technology, and innovation (STI) policies and programmes and support improvements to technology development and diffusion at universities and public research institutes.
Component 3: Financing of Skills and Technology Development through the Skills Development Fund. The objective of this component is to finance skills and technology development programmes in prioritised economic sectors through a demand-driven skills development fund (SDF) managed by COTVET.
Component 4: Project Management and M&EA project support unit (PSU) will be established within COTVET to support the implementation of the project.
In Kenya, of the 500,000 youth seeking employment annually, less than 25% are absorbed into the labour force. One of the factors cited as a contributor to unemployment is the lack of requisite ICT skills among graduating youth. The Ministry of Higher Education Science and Technology (MoHEST) and the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports (MoYAS) is implementing ICT in Technical Industrial Vocational Education and Training (TIVET) institutions with the aim of endowing youth with the skills necessary to achieve Kenya’s Vision 2030. In June the MoHEST and MoYAS in collaboration with GeSCI, held a three day workshop with the goal of identifying the lecturer/instructor ICT competencies for effective integration of ICT in education. The GeSCI ICT TPD Matrix was again used as thebasis for identifying and contextualising lecturer/ instructor ICT competencies. A situation analysis carried out by GeSCI identfied the following gaps in the implementation of ICT in the education sector in Kenya: Quality and relevance of education: TIVET education and curriculum needs to be aligned with industry requirements. Strategies for ICT integration need to be developed as these are currently not in place. Curriculum and Assessment: there is a need to synchronise the curriculum with industry requirements and with assessment criteria. Institutional Capacity: comprehensive statistical data on the needs and gaps of the institutions is not available.
Presentations included a description of government plans to fund and equip Youth Polytechnics with ICT infrastructure; TIVET case studies from around the world and an institutional snapshot of ICT TIVET use in Kenya. A panel discussion revealed that the private sector is keen to partner with the institutions and especially to reach out to rural schools to transfer industry knowledge. They also stressed that soft skills and communication skills, such as listening skills, teamwork, decision making and problem based learning need to be sharpened in education institutions.. Participants continue to discuss the outcomes of the workshop on GeSCI’s 21st Century Learning Ning.