The Need for New PATHWAYS in TVET Delivery
It is not too late for Government skills development managers to reach beyond the linear, step by step delivery system in TVET, and search for much more inclusive ways to engage the country's workforce in mastering new skills in new technologies so they can live better and the economy can get into a higher gear.
When, where, and how the training is delivered is not of great importance as long as the trainees meet the skills standards set by Industry. No acceptable skills…no job.
The challenge is much more than just girls and boys in technical schools. If we wait for them to bring skills into the workplace so industry can move ahead, we will wait decades to be competitive and never create new work beyond the most basic assembly technology.
We can see the beginnings, the green shoots of change, already, but still very limited and energy and investment of resources continue to be completely dedicated to the linear system and how to make it more effective.
Even if the linear system will be thoroughly overhauled and improved, the system will still focus only on youth and on those lucky enough to complete lower secondary school, the level of grade 9 in math and language. With not even basic learning tools, school leavers have no chance for decent careers. What about the millions of workers with 20 or 30 year working lives ahead?
At present, many countries are investing on technical and vocational education but these investments go into curriculum, improving standards and learning materials.
Some enterprising institutions buy , borrow or copy standards that are fully developed elsewhere and supported by employers. Most skills standards are international and will apply to any country especially in technology. Fixing a computer in Bangkok takes the same skills as fixing it in London or Beijing.
Instructional materials and videos fill the Internet and many learn skills by working with these. Curriculum from many Colleges meeting international standards is also published on the Web as well and if industry has endorsed this, why are we wasting millions have each country struggle to develop “ national “standards. There are no national standards. in technology. So, isn't it time for investment to go somewhere else where there is yet not much developed?
A commitment to a modular approach is a good first step towards moving the system away from the linear traditional path and beginning to open it up to the workforce. Modularized instruction is a self-contained, independent series of learning experiences designed to help the learner achieve certain well-defined objectives (Finch and Crunkilton, 1999; Goldschmid & Goldschmid, 1973).
Modules are building blocks to a Course. Each contains a cluster of linked skills competencies that meet the skills standards. Each can be offered part time or full time, evenings, in school or on the job. Skills competencies are defined at each level of certification.
Once learners either in school or in Industry, demonstrate that they have the competencies for a level of certification, assessment is made by authorized test centres and recommend those who have passed to get certificates which can improve employment for many of them. With each new module another level of certification is achievable.
With the growing access to the internet in many rural villages, these modules can easily be learned by students on their own or with help of tutors. They don't have to leave their present job or pay for board and lodging or transport. Those in the workforce can begin the journey to higher levels of skills and better jobs on a part time basis, paying for the new skills from their present income.
Educators are totally dominated by one inflexible learning model seen in the school system. But that makes no sense at all when we are looking at the present and future skills of the workforce. So, rather than putting all our investment into a system that cannot be successful in meeting the needs of the economy, why not risk some resources into employing new technologies and finding new pathways to enable more in the work force to enhance their skills?
Modularized part time learning is a major opportunity for both those that were forced to leave school without basic learning tools and for the workforce that needs more skills now.
Modularized instruction is just a step. There are still many more steps institutions can take to bring skills to many who have been deprived of easy access to TVET training.
Human Capacity Development through the Use of a Modular Approach to TVET Delivery