«Comparative Study and ‘Outcome and Impact’ Analysis of Six Vocational Training Projects in West Africa Synthesis report based on six case ...»
MTS compares itself with other government institutions and says it is far more practice oriented. On the other hand, MTS is focusing on theoretical teaching in the first year of training of a two year course. Since the institution is situated in a small rural town, it also faces difficulties in organising training by production. Trainees in the automotive department are able to dismantle and fix a demonstration engine, but they rarely work on a car. The practical training takes place under lab conditions, the 3-months attachment period is not sufficient to fill this gap.
The strength of improved apprenticeship schemes is the practical orientation of the training.
Trainees are taught on the job by a master who is experienced in his/ her field. Thus, trainees learn exactly what is needed in the market, provided that the selection of the master trainer is appropriate and the business is busy. In the case of OICG, where training materials are provided, gaps without jobs can be meaningfully bridged. In the case of YOWDAST, if there are no jobs, no training takes place. If a trainee is attached to a rural enterprise and the master has to take care of his farm, again, there is no training. The other impediment is the limitation of apprenticeships to 12 months. In some trades (e.g. automotive or electrical installation), this period is too short to learn the trade sufficiently. YOWDAST has been dealing with this issue and allows trainees to extent the training period. In other trades (basic carpentry and
Berufsbildung | Evaluierung
roofing, hair braiding, palm oil extraction, just to name a few), 12 months and even less (e.g.
flower decoration) may just be sufficient. The consultants have seen cases where trainees in carpentry where able to produce good quality coffee tables after only six months of training (example OICG)!
Integration of entrepreneurship training (see also under curriculum) All partners highlight the importance of self employment in their project proposals. All provide entrepreneurial skills training (EST) as part of their VT courses and projects. In Ghana, EST was first introduced by VTF through teachers training courses for VTI and later nation wide. MTS has introduced entrepreneurship training by its own initiative, it is not a compulsory element in the national curriculum. OIC International in its guidelines for OIC affiliates, highlights the importance of entrepreneurship training already since the 80s.
The two apprenticeship schemes offer entrepreneurship training in the form of seminars.
OICG has employed two staff as business development officers. They are responsible for conducting business training sessions to trainees and business counselling for graduates who want to start their own businesses or have already done so. YOWDAST invites external resource persons to carry out the business training to trainees and graduates. The business training is part of larger seminars which address different topics. It is questionable to what extent trainees are able to absorb if seminars are overloaded with too many topics. In the case of YOWDAST, interviewees said that they learn most of the business skills from their masters, either through observation or by asking them for advice during and after training. The nature of the relationship between the master and the trainee and the ability and motivation of the trainee for “self-learning” is a key for acquisition of business skills in this model. The smarter trainees naturally learn faster and benefit more.
On-the-job training or attachment (centre based training only) With the initial effort and support of VTF, attachment has been introduced not only in all VTF supported VTIs in Ghana but to offer attachments has become a policy of the government itself. In Nigeria, attachments are a requirement for accredited TVET institutions.
MTS is organising the attachment in two phases, one month in the first year, three months in the second. In most cases, students select the place, follow up is limited because of the distances involved.
On the job training (OJT) is a very important component of SLOIC and helps a lot in finding employment. OJT lasts three months. The consultants say it should be incorporated in the regular curriculum (leading to a cooperative approach of training if possible) or at least, attachments should be more frequent and not only one at the end of the training. LOIC is the only institution that does not organise attachment.
For effectiveness the follow up of attachments by the training provider is important. The rural location of some training centres (MTS, satellite centres of LOIC and SLOIC) is an impediment to organise follow up. In the case of MTS, 80% of the students find the place on their own. Follow up through instructors is not very frequent because of the long distances, the shortage of personnel (SLOIC) and the costs of travelling involved. VTF staff visits the trainees during their attachment and has also designed a monitoring paper for the employer.
VTF finances, through the help of EED, 70% of the costs of attachments in the VTIs (mainly travelling costs), the remaining 30% is paid by the Parent Teacher Association.
The results of this study confirm that attachments are important (a) to improve the practical skills of trainees, (b) to expose trainees to market realities, and (c) to facilitate market integration. In interviews, a number of graduates reported that they found employment at the
Berufsbildung | Evaluierung
place of attachment or at least a place of further learning (apprenticeship) after graduation.
Important issues are the selection of appropriate places and the period of attachment.
Experiences show that attachments should not be shorter than three months and should take place at the end of each scholastic year.
Integration of “soft” or “life skills” in the curriculum The integration of soft or life skills is another innovative element of TVET projects/ programmes13. It aims at sensitisation, preparation of youth for the challenges of life and facilitation of social and economic integration. This includes awareness creation for health aspects (e.g. reproductive health, HIV/AIDS), personality development for self reliance and value education and labour market related skills such as job finding techniques and work place behaviour. In conflict affected environments, the acquisition of life skills is often connected with psychosocial counselling (see below) and peace education.
Most EED partners address life skill issues through group and individual counselling (see below). The importance of life skill aspects in VT have been confirmed in FGD. In the case of OICG, graduates said that the life skill training and the counselling helped them to protect themselves from unwanted pregnancies, raised awareness on reproductive health issues and helped them to develop their self esteem (see more under effectiveness).
SLOIC organises a so called “feeder programme”, of which life skills acquisition such as job finding techniques, counselling and information of HIV/AIDS are part. In LOIC, life skills are addressed through counselling (see below). MTS practices a religion-based form of teaching which involves some elements of personality building in the theological context of EYN. The subject is taught by a pastor who is not a staff of MTS. Other topics are not part of the curriculum. Information on labour market and behaviour at workplaces are informally taught by some instructors in their respective trades or classes, there are no teaching manuals or guidelines for such topics.
OICG and YOWDAST organise orientation seminars with the objective to prepare trainees for the apprenticeship. These seminars include sensitisation on work place behaviour and values.
In addition OICG organises specific sessions, e.g. on HIV/AIDS and reproductive health, organised by a specialised NGO.
None of the partners use “peer to peer” methods for life skill training. Furthermore, “soft skills” such as communication and teamwork are not systematically addressed in practical training. Most instructors lack the relevant methodological know-how.
This section deals with different aspects of counselling and advice to trainees and graduates. It may be psycho-social counselling of war affected youth as conducted by LOIC during conflict and directly after conflict, a combination of business and social counselling (OICG, SLOIC, VTF), or simply informal advice.
Counselling is provided in both forms, informally and systematically. LOIC provided psychosocial counselling of war affected youth. Each centre had two counsellors which were initially trained by a psychologist. In SLOIC centre Bo, counselling is the task of the OJT officer, who has probably too many students to accompany for playing this role effectively. VTF has Also called “holisticor integrated” VT approaches.
Berufsbildung | Evaluierung
trained teachers of VTI in guidance & counselling techniques. MTS has no staff with this specific task, counselling is provided informally by the teachers, the boarding masters and the principal. For group counselling, OICG uses a part time counsellor employed by the OICG Kumasi vocational training centre. The business development officers employed by the OICG apprenticeship scheme provide follow up services to graduates which involve both, business and social counselling, depending on the situation and needs. YOWDAST provides follow up during and after training but this can not be called counselling. In general, many counsellors lack specific methodological knowledge and do not have opportunities for further training and coaching. Peer to peer counselling methods are not often applied.
There is a general lack of vocational orientation and counselling. Many applicants of VT projects/ programmes lack a good understanding of the labour market (see gap between social and economic demand) and often know too little about the requirements of a trade. All partners do interviews for selection. Some partners test the motivation of applicants, which entails elements of vocational orientation but systematic procedures of vocational counselling are not applied.
Capacity of teachers/ instructors and master trainers
Criteria used for assessment:
• (Formal) qualification of teachers/ instructors • Practical competences • Methodological competences The formal qualification of teachers/ instructors is a system requirement in formal TVET.
Teachers are supposed to have a higher formal qualification than the certification offered by the institution they are employed with. In VTF sponsored VTIs, many teachers hold certificates and advanced diploma, some few have graduated from Polytechnics, but several have graduated from the VTIs themselves. In MTS, several instructors were graduates of this institution, but most have been working in the private sector before becoming a teacher. Many teachers of LOIC and SLOIC have been graduates of these institutions as well, but without getting exposure to the private sector (including small business). The civil war had an effect on the competence of staff in all TVET institutions in both countries as opportunities for teachers training and exposure to work in the private sector did not exist for many years.
The lack of opportunities for training of technical teachers and instructors in all countries is a serious obstacle for development of the TVET sector. Teaching is often “teacher-centred” instead of “trainee/ student-centred”. Modern methods such as student projects are not known or not applied. Training opportunities in teaching methodologies are lacking with the effect that most teachers and instructors even lack basic teaching methodologies.
Most master trainers interviewed in the cities appeared well qualified in their trades, less so
their colleagues in the rural areas. The critical questions:
• Availability of the master: If a master is not present, the “chief apprentice” is in charge.
He/ she is less qualified to instruct
• Willingness of the master to share his/ her knowledge: seems problematic in the technical trades, e.g. automotive
• Lacking instruction skills: a good master does not automatically pose a good teacher, both OICG and YOWDAST organise orientation seminars, OICG has organised methodological training.
Cooperation with communities and parents as key stakeholders Criteria used for assessment was the degree to which the partner is cooperating with communities in the planning and implementation of the VT project/programme, e.g.
involvement of communities in trade selection, selection of trainees and post training support.
YOWDAST is the only partner with a strong community linkage. The community is involved in the mobilisation of youth and women, in the selection of trainees, in the follow up of training and informally in post training support. It remains an open question to what degree the community in a village is equally involved or whether high-ranking community members can influence decisions. If the selection process is left unchecked there is a potential for misuse. Still, the community linkage of YOWDAST is seen as a key success factor for effectiveness of this project (see more under chapter effectiveness). OICG is not working with and through community structures.
VTF supported VTIs have no community link. LOIC und SLOIC involve communities in the board (see under selection).
Cooperation with private sector (micro and small enterprise) and interface with other actors
Criteria used for assessment:
• The degree to which the partner is cooperating with the private sector (small and medium enterprises, trade associations) in planning and implementation of the VT programme/ project
• Interface with other actors in implementation of the project/ programme, e.g. other training providers, public institutions and other church based organisations and NGOs Cooperation with private sector is widely seen as a key criterion for labour market oriented
TVET. Collaboration can have different forms:
• Regular consultations with local businesses for obtaining information on labour market trends
• Involving trade specialists from private sector (including small enterprise!) in curriculum review and development