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. It is now time to explore and search for more inclusive ways to engage the country's workforce in mastering new technologies to 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 to 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 wholly dedicate to the linear system and how to make it more effective.
Even if there is a thorough overhaul of the linear system, it will focus only on youth and those lucky enough to complete lower secondary school, grade 9 in math and language. With not even essential 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 in technical and vocational education. However, these investments go into the 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 setting it in London or Beijing.
Instructional materials and videos fill the Internet, and many learn skills by working with these. Each time I ask a friend who is so knowledgeable or skilled at something where they picked up such competence, they often say Youtube. We now refer to it as Youtube University.
Curriculum from many Colleges meeting international standards is plenty on the Web. If the industry has endorsed this, why are countries wasting millions to develop "national standards". There are no national standards in technology. Isn't it time for the investment to go somewhere else where there is not much development?
A commitment to a modular approach is an excellent first step towards moving the system away from the traditional linear 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 specific, 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. There are defined skills and competencies at each level of certification.
With the growing access to the internet in rural villages, students can quickly learn these modules with tutors' help. 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 learning from their current income.
A vital opportunity for both those that leave school without essential learning tools and for the workforce that needs more skills now is the modularized part-time learning.
Modularized instruction is just a step. There are still many more steps institutions can take to bring skills to many who have had no easy access to TVET training.
Finland has made significant changes to improve VET. Watch this video.