«Comparative Study and ‘Outcome and Impact’ Analysis of Six Vocational Training Projects in West Africa Synthesis report based on six case ...»
The drop out rate among VTF supported VTI is relatively high, mainly because of financial reasons (parents/ students not able to pay the fee). This is one reason why VTIs work below capacity. In MTS, where fees are substantially lower, (about 45€/ year) the drop out rate ranges from 24% (carpentry) to 6% (automotive). In SLOIC, the drop out rates were low until 2005 and, according to the aggregated pre-study information, increased since 2006 among female trainees (up to 20% in home management, in one tailoring course up to 50%)12. There might be a link between the phasing out of incentives and the drop outs. In LOIC, drop out rates vary between 17% and 25%. In Gbargna centre in tailoring (2006-08), the drop out rate Data collected in centres Bo and Mattru did not confirm this drop out rate.
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reached a peak with 33%, although women received a sewing machine as an incentive after training. The two apprenticeship schemes show a very low drop out rate. In OICG’s case the rate varies between 2% and 5% per course. YOWDAST’s records are contradictory. Some tables show no drop out at all (which would be rather unrealistic) others vary between 1% and 3%.
It is assumed that drop out rates depend on the costs of training, the incentives provided but also with the perspectives for income generation.
Market analysis and trade selection
Most of the formal and non-formal training centres have not been conducting a systematic market analysis in the past years. OICG conducted a market survey with assistance of an external consultant and discussed introduction of new trades with entrepreneurs in the market. Three of the six partners (VTF supported VTIs, YOWDAST and OICG) conduct tracer studies which indirectly provide information on the labour market. OICG has a functioning system of follow-up and the staff and management is well aware about market developments and challenges. The VTF-supported VTIs regularly conduct tracer studies and document results. In the case of most partners, the tracer data is not sufficiently analysed and used for planning and review of training programmes.
The main criterion used by partners for selecting a trade is the social demand, i.e. the number and trend of applications received for an offered trade or course. The economic demand is far less taken into consideration. In those cases where market developments are considered, the decisions are made on the basis of “perceptions” rather than systematic analysis. For training providers it is more convenient to offer a trade that is demanded by the majority of people than one that offers economic potential but is not attractive for the target group (see gap between social and economic demand). Partners lack the methodological knowledge to conduct market assessments and they have no budgets to cater for the costs of conducting studies.
Another constraint is the lack of cooperation between the training providers and the private sector (see section below). None of the partners operating training centres have mechanisms for obtaining feedback from the business community on the relevance of their training programmes; none have involved the private sector in planning new courses. The apprenticeship schemes are in close contact with businesses in the communities they work.
OICG has been contacting businesses when planning to introduce a new trade. YOWDAST is in contact with the communities but does not sufficiently discuss market issues. Field workers and some instructors of training centres have a good understanding of the market, but their experiences are often not sufficiently considered in management decisions and institutional planning.
Vocational training institutions are inflexible by nature. They have invested in training infrastructure and have employed teaching staff. These two facts are an impediment to the phasing out of old courses and the introduction of new ones. Apprenticeship schemes are more flexible in this regard. They do not operate (and do not have to utilise) their own infrastructure for technical skills training. This allows them to have a higher variety of trades offered (OICG: up to 14 trades; YOWDAST: up to 17 trades) and to phase out trades that have less potential. But still, the demand from applicants is considered the most important factor. OICG tried to phase out hair braiding as the market showed signs of saturation, but the demand was so significant that it was decided to reintroduce the trade. YOWDAST continued to train lots of
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tailors with the risk of training too many in one location and thus affecting the existing businesses of its own graduates and others.
In particular, partners do not have knowledge of methods of market assessments. Such methods, be it rapid (external) or participatory market assessments, have been successfully applied in other contexts, EED partners included (example CAPA, Eastern Congo). The latter involves communities, the local businesses and their associations, and last but not least the target group.
Facilities, tools and supply of training materials
Facilities for vocational skills training depend on the level of an institution. If training is geared towards the local market, it should meet this standard with regard to equipment and availability of tools. For labour mobility, formal training institutions should consider national standards. None of the studied institutions aim at regional and international labour markets which would need a higher level of sophistication. As most partners want to promote employment locally, the local standard in the market place is the basic benchmark for equipment and facilities.
Most VTIs visited in Ghana, unlike Sierra Leone and Liberia, were well equipped. However, the supply of consumable training material was sometimes insufficient or of insufficient quality. Similar reports came from Liberia, where the purchase of tools and materials to the satellite centres was often delayed. In SLOIC, tools were available, but not sufficiently utilised.
MTS, which recently has received funding from EED for building new facilities, has now ample space for classrooms but far too little space and no appropriate tools for practical training in the new workshops (example: electrical/ electronic department). Other reports show cases where the quantity of provided tools is not sufficient.
Some facilities were in very poor condition. In general, more emphasis should be put on work-shop management and maintenance. Both, workshop organisation and maintenance, must be part of the training itself and instructors should provide a good example to their students/ trainees.
In the case of apprenticeship schemes, the training takes place right in the market.
Appropriateness of training facilities is used by both partners as an important selection criterion. In the case of OICG where there is a wide choice of available places, the selection mostly seemed appropriate. In addition OICG has a well-established system to purchase training materials which involves the trainees in a monitoring function. YOWDAST does not provide training materials; they have to be bought by the trainees him-/ herself. If trainees are short in money, the training quality suffers.
For some masters in Kumasi/ Ghana training has become a business option, with the effect that they tend to recruit too many apprentices for the space available. This in turn affects the intensity of training. YOWDAST attached less trainees to one place, which makes their full integration in production possible. YOWDAST has changed its strategy a few years back and now allows trainees to select the master they prefer. The trainees do not always make a good choice. Especially in rural areas, some workshops are very rudimentary and just offer very basic facilities and skills to learn. The obvious advantage of the apprenticeship model is that trainees are exposed to the realities of the market. They learn to cope with the facilities and tools available. Some of the workshops are in such poor conditions that a graduate from a well equipped training centre would most probably refuse to work. Yet, this is the reality of the market place with which graduates have to cope if they want to earn an income. People Berufsbildung | Evaluierung trained in the informal sector are acquainted to these conditions, which is their advantage over graduates from training institutes.
Standards applied in training Quality of curricula and teaching aids applied, adherence to national standards In formal vocational training, curriculum development is the task of the Government. Training providers have to adhere to curriculum standards set by the TVET authorities or relevant ministries. Ghana has introduced a new curriculum for four years, which is said to be more theory based than the former 3-year syllabus. The new curricula include Maths and English with the aim of improving basic education levels of JSS graduates enrolling in formal TVET programmes. This move is thought to lead to declining demand for formal TVET especially in conventional trades that can also be learned in “wayside businesses”. In Nigeria, the NBTE curricula used in vocational education are in technical terms comprehensive and well designed, but they refer to training needs of the industry, are technically not up to date and do not sufficiently address the competences needed in informal sector enterprises. The internal curricula used by MTS are outdated and need revision.
In non-formal VT, the training provider is free to design and use its own curriculum, to use and adapt existing curricula or to use unstructured methods of instruction. The application of a basic curriculum framework, which determines the learning outcomes, is essential for quality management. Curricula for non-formal VT should respond to local market needs and to specific training needs of the target group. LOIC uses the curriculum of the government.
The centres have the syllabus of the trades but teaching materials are lacking. As many trainees are illiterate, books are not necessary but teachers should have reference material.
The curricula in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Nigeria are mostly outdated and not appropriate for the target groups and the economic demand. VTF has designed quite some supporting material, especially in functional/ consumer arithmetic and for EST. VTF also designed a competency based syllabus for EST. The different training institutions could learn very much from VTF, some of the material might be applicable in the other countries.
In apprenticeship schemes, unstructured, informal learning is the main method for skill acquisition. Training is largely taking place on the job. To shorten and intensify the training period, masters are supposed to provide initial training sessions and guided instruction.
OICG, in collaboration with the masters, designed curriculum frameworks which spell out objectives and content of the apprenticeship training. The objectives include the items a trainee is expected to produce during the training period. Description of content is useful, but the time tables may not always be practical as the masters have to follow the incoming orders.
The frameworks are used for follow ups by the training coordinator. The masters seem not to use the frameworks frequently. YOWDAST does not use curriculum frameworks. There is no document which spells out the training content in any detail.
All curricula seen during the missions lack references to “soft skills”. They are not designed in a holistic way, i.e. linking acquisition of trade skills with entrepreneurial skills and “core competences” such as the ability to organise, to work in a team or to communicate (see more under teaching methodologies).
Curricula and teaching material used for entrepreneurship are, with the exception for VTF, too theoretical, lack reference to participatory methods and are not adapted to the needs of young people. In most cases, entrepreneurial skills are taught without direct link to the trade but rather in an
manner. Entrepreneurial skills training is a separate subject taught by
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a different teacher than the technical trade teacher. What is lacking is a direct application of the entrepreneurial aspects to a specific trade. In addition, teaching methodology is still very much teacher-oriented. Group work in a class room is not much known. Apprentices watch and copy, but do seldom explore themselves. Teaching aids are rare.
Weaknesses in curriculum development and modification to local needs are particularly obvious in those cases where partners work in isolation, government support is virtually absent and networks among VT providers do not exist. This is the case in the Manu River countries as well as in Nigeria. With the exception of the Ghanaian partners, all others lack competences in development of curriculum frameworks and curriculum revision and adaptation.
Practical orientation of the training provided The consultants looked at the ratio of theory to practical lessons, the type of exercises conducted and the quality of items produced in training. This section is not dealing with the industry attachment. The main method used was observation and group discussion. Practical training was a topic in self administered questionnaires used by one team during the main study.
In centre based training practical sessions are either conducted through exercises (e.g. tailors producing items made of paper so as to save material costs) or through “training by
production”. The quality of practical training mainly depends on:
• Practical competences of instructors (see under human resources)
• Appropriateness of facilities and availability of tools as well as availability of training materials (see above)
• Involvement of trainees in “training on the job” e.g. in production units In LOIC, no attachments are provided. Students only gain experience during the training in the centre which is limited because of the low quality of the training in terms of material, equipment and experience of teachers. In SLOIC, many teachers are previous trainees. They often lack own practical experience somewhere in the private industry. VTIs are well equipped and provide rather practical training, for example in catering.