Sunday, November 13, 2011

Analysis of eLearning and Distance Learning Polices in Zambia

(Presented at 5th eLearning Africa Conference, Mulungushi International Conference Centre, Lusaka, Zambia)

Introduction
The paper seeks to analyse the policy making process and content of distance Learning and eLearning policies in Zambia. This is made by looking at the content of the Open and Distance Learning (ODL) Policy at the Technical and Vocational Teachers College (TVTC) and the National ODL Policy by the Ministry of Education and the ODL Policy Guidelines by The Ministry of Science, Technology and Vocational Training (MSTVT). An assessment is made of how effective these policies are and in gaps in the policies. Important lessons for Zambia and Africa are also drawn. Recommendations are made on how e-learning and distance learning policies can be made relevant to the needs of various learners. After the presentation, listeners will gain new knowledge and skills on policy development in elearning and distance learning. Generally elearning practitioners have tended to provide elearning and distance learning without a policy framework or where one exists a weak policy framework.

Currently in Zambia, the two major providers of education and skills training are the Ministries of Education and the Ministry of Science, Technology and Vocational Training. The Ministry of Education is responsible for education from Early Childhood, Basic Education (Grades one to nine), High School Education (Grades ten to twelve), tertiary teacher education (certificate to degree level), university education (certificate to doctorate level). The Ministry of Science, Technology and Vocational Training (MSTVT) is responsible for Technical Education, Vocational and Entrepreneurship Training (TEVET) from certificate to diploma levels.

Background
Distance learning and e-learning in the TVET sector in Zambia is a recent development offered by a handful of institutions. On the other hand the University of Zambia has been offering a variety of degree, diploma and certificate courses by distance learning since its inception in 1966 with a current enrolment of about 1,700 students. The Zambia Open University, a private university, which has been operating since 2005, has grown from about an initial enrolment of 500 students to the current 3,500 students. In the TVET sector the largest provider of distance learning is the Technical and Vocational Teachers College with an enrolment of over 1000 students. Other TEVET institutions offering distance learning are: Zambia Institute of Business and Industrial Practice (ZIBSIP) offering business programmes, Zambia Institute of Business College (ZIBC), and National Import and Export College (NIEC) and Evelyn Hone College. In-service Training Trust (ISTT) offers distance learning for small stakeholder farmers in Eastern and Southern Africa. A total of 3 of these institutions are public while the other 3 are private. The approach to distance learning in these institutions is that of using stand-alone distance education packages and wrap around packages.

The Technical, Education, Vocational and Entrepreneurship Training Authority (TEVETA) has developed guidelines for Distance Vocational Training for institutions that wish to begin distance learning. TEVETA has produced these guidelines for sale to institutions. One of TEVETA’s functions is to assist in development of learning materials for distance education on a cost sharing basis with training providers.

With regards to e-learning a handful of colleges have been offering this type of learning. E-learning can help in addressing issues of access and providing access to training. The National Information and Communication Policy has targets on the promotion of ICTs in education, research and development. The policy goal is to “integrate ICTs in the education system and develop the nation’s Research and Development (R & D) capacity to support, facilitate and contribute to the development of the key sectors of the economy including development of appropriate local ICT products and services” (Ministry of Communication and Transport, 2006:28). E-learning in TVET institutions is offered by Evelyn Hone College of Applied Arts and Commerce.

Analysis of eLearning and Distance Learning Policies
Policy analysis is a generic name for a range of techniques and tools that are used to dissect, breakdown, organize, evaluate and analyse policy. It can also be defined as "determining which of various alternative policies will most achieve a given set of goals in light of the relations between the policies and the goals". Some of the policy analysis tools that have been used include: seven criteria of good policy, 6 C’s of Policy Options, 3 E’s of Policy Options, Cost-Benefit Analysis etc.

This paper applies the tool of 6 C’s of Policy Options. These are:
1. Concentration
2. Clarity
3. Changeability
4. Challenge
5. Coordination
6. Consistency

The Ministry of Education recently developed a National ODL Policy in 2009. The policy was developed by a committee drawn from the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Science, Technology and Vocational Training, Zambia National Broadcasting Society, Zain Zambia Limited, University of Zambia (UNZA), Mulungushi University and Zambia Open University. The broad composition of the policy development team gives the ODL Policy wider acceptability as policy makers, ODL implementers, ODL support providers like the media: ZNBC and communication technology: Zain were involved. The goal of the draft ODL Policy is to create a learning society in which citizens are not restrained in learning and to guide the provision of education through ODL in order to promote an innovative and productive, relevant lifelong learning education and training accessible to all citizens.

The Ministry of Science, Technology and Vocational Training developed Policy Guidelines for ODL in TEVET. These were developed by a committee drawn from MSTVT, MOE, UNZA, TVTC and the Technical Education, Vocational and Entrepreneurship Training Authority (TEVETA). The goal of the ODL Policy Guideline is to create a learning environment in which citizens will access relevant lifelong learning and training without any restrictions. The objectives of the guideline deal with issues of increasing access, Improving delivery of ODL through use of appropriate ICT, Providing effective Learner support and Providing opportunities for training of ODL providers.

Applying the 6 C’s of Policy Options to the above Policy and Policy Guideline the following can be noted:

1. Concentration
The Policy and Policy Guideline have not yet been implemented. However since ODL is already being implemented e.g. at UNZA and ZAOU under Ministry of Education and at TVTC and ZIBSIP under MSTVT, it can be noted that these institutions have ODL Operational policies which are working and delivering the intended outputs. This can be noted in the growth of the number of students studying through ODL. There is need to however ascertain if the money, human resource, time and other resources are enough. This could be done after one year of policy implementation.

2. Clarity
These refer to the clarity of the goals and the steps to their attainment being straightforward. It is important to ensure that as the policy and policy guidelines are implemented everyone involved knows what the goals are and what their role is. The policies have addressed this area by having a section on implementation framework which spells out the roles of key stakeholders.

3. Changeability
This seeks to establish if the policy has enough flexibility to ensure that it can be adjusted to changing conditions and also whether policy implementers can change they way they do business. This is a major challenge because change is never easy to implement. Policies normally run for a five year period. There is need to develop the organizations that implement the policies into learning organizations that can easily adapt and change where need arise.

4. Challenge
How realistic is the policy in terms of it’s scope? Do the goals challenge the organization and yet remain realistic? The scope of the policies is large enough and realistic. However this needs to be further analysed as the policy is implemented.

5. Coordination
Does the policy allow for the exchange of information among implementing official? It does as the policy development process involved various stakeholders. In addition, the two ministries have Inter-Ministerial committees that can be strengthened to allow for information exchange.

6. Consistency
Are the goals consistent with the objectives, the objectives with the actions? Are the goals internally (with one another) and externally (with other policies)?

Recommendations
1. There is need for wider consultation of all stakeholders in ODL and elearning to ensure that the policy is relevant and effective.
2. There is need for a strong monitoring and evaluation committee to ensure the policy goals and objectives are constantly monitored and evaluated and where need arise changes are made.

Conclusion
Having a good policy is not the end of the road in policy making. It’s just the beginning. The real work starts once the policy is launched. That is where consultation and collaboration become key. African nations have a lot to learn from each other and outside Africa on how to implement good and effective ODL and elearning policies.

References
FIDA (2006) Policy Analysis Management. Mbabane: FIDA

Ministry of Education (1996) National Policy of Education. Lusaka: Ministry of Education.

Ministry of Communication and Transport (2007) National ICT Policy. Lusaka: Ministry of Communication and Transport.

TEVETA (2004) Guidelines for Distance Vocational Training. Lusaka: TEVETA.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Collaboration in e-Learning in Zambia

Status of e-Learning in Zambia

The TVET system in Africa has been predominately classroom based. This is particularly true in Zambia. The classroom based learning is characterised by a physical learning environment between a student and a lecturer. However, the emergence of e-learning has allowed some people in Zambia to acquire and improve their training in different fields.

Some of the challenges that have been identified that pose a challenge to many Zambians benefiting fully from the advantages offered by e-learning include: the low numbers of people with internet access, availability and affordability of computer hardware, cost of acquiring the training. Many African nations are struggling with limited access to training for young people, and at the same time have to address the basic needs of an older generation. In Zambia, secondary school leavers at grades nine and twelve have to compete for limited places at universities and colleges. The TVET sector has enrolments of 27,000. Considering the number of youths that do not qualify to grades eight and ten and those that write grade twelve examinations, this number is not as high as it should be to cater for these youths. Distance learning and e-learning can help the youths in training. In the TVET sector in Zambia very few institutions are offering distance learning let alone e-learning. The Technical, Education, Vocational and Entrepreneurship Training Authority (TEVETA) outlines the objectives for distance and vocational training as being:

· To provide access to Technical Education, Vocational and Entrepreneurship Training (TEVET) to a wider category of students.

· To develop an affordable type of education and training to citizens in the country.

· To provide opportunities for the acquisition of education and training to disadvantaged citizens in the country.

· To eliminate distance as a barrier to the acquisition of knowledge, skills and values.

· To develop a variety of means of offering TEVET programmes which are in line with developments in the region and globally (TEVETA, 2004:v).

There is need to promote access and inclusion for TVET through promotion of ICTs. The National Information and Communication Technology Policy has a vision of “A Zambia transformed into an information and knowledge-based economy supported by consistent development and pervasive access to ICTs by all citizens by 2020” (Ministry of Communications and Transport, 2006:20). This gives a policy direction of how the different sectors, like the TEVET one, should align their strategies in their training.

Survey of e-learning

Approach to e-Learning

In a survey carried out on the four institutions offering distance learning in TEVET it was found that the approach to e-learning was mainly computer-based assessment, web-based research, discussion board, wireless device, simulation, learning software and streaming video/audio.

e-Learning Technologies

It was found that face-to-face where all participants are physically present was among the e-learning technologies used.

Benefits of e-Learning

The most significant potential benefits of e-learning were identified as:

  • No barriers in learning;
  • Learner progressing at their own pace;
  • Workers do not need to go on leave or resign in order to pursue their studies;
  • Being cheaper than traditional learning methods;
  • Being flexible;
  • Ability for students to communicate and have discussions with other students within and outside the country.

Challenges in delivery/learning of e-learning

The following challenges were identified by e-learning practitioners:

  • Development of adaptive material being time-consuming;
  • Certain e-learning systems are expensive to purchase:
  • Lack of skills in e-learning technologies and how these can be used in lesson delivery.

Recommendation for the improvement of e-learning

Respondents proposed the following recommendations for the improvement of e-learning:

  • Government policy guidance;
  • Removal or significant reduction of tax on ICT equipment and software;
  • Information dissemination on e-learning benefits and technologies through seminars and workshops;
  • Having specialised courses on e-learning technologies that will give knowledge and skills to lecturers and tutors.

The survey on e-learning shows that there are number of challenges that need to be overcome if the potential benefits of e-learning are to be fully realised by learners. In TEVET, e-learning has not yet been fully realised as a mode of learning that can enrich traditional learning and bring on board those that are not part of the formal full-time training system.

Provision of Information and Communication Technology training

It should be noted that a number of institutions are offering computer training programmes. In a survey conducted by the Ministry of Science, Technology and Vocational Training, it was found that 6,943 out of 32,841 trainees were enrolled in ICT programmes. This represents 21.1% of the total enrolment (Ministry of Science, Technology and Vocational Training, 2005:11). A total of 125 out of 340 registered institutions offer computer training programmes. This represents 37 percent of the institutions. Programmes offered include: Information Technology, Diploma in Computer Studies, Computer Systems Engineering and Information and Communication Technology for the Visually Impaired. A number of the TEVET programmes have ICT integrated in them. This means that most TEVET institutions have the potential to develop distance learning and e-learning programmes to benefit students that cannot be enrolled in the full-time learning programmes.

Promising Practice of E-learning in TEVET

The School of Radiography at the Evelyn Hone College has been implementing e-learning since 2003. This is being done under the ORET (Development Related Export Transactions) programme financed by the Zambian and Dutch government. The aim of this cooperation is to improve the quality of the Diploma in Radiography programme. This is realised by support in curriculum development, teachers training, provision of books and lesson materials, a website and e-learning space. In collaboration with Fontys International Projects of Netherlands a range of services from basic literacy to highly specialised vocational training are provided. Since 2003 the School of Radiography of Evelyn Hone and Fontys University of Professional Education has been cooperating in Curriculum Development and Education. The e-learning programme has enabled learners and lecturers develop a collaborative work culture. Lecturers have pursued various courses in the Netherlands and enhanced their skills in areas such as Information Technology, e-learning, teaching methodologies, diagnostic ultrasound, and Educational materials development (Munsanje, 2007:1).

Students on the e-learning programme use a digital learning environment where they follow Internet courses. Students are able to sign up and subscribe for a course. For example, they may subscribe for a Basic Ultrasound course. The student will find information on the course on the website. The course duration for each course is stated including the start date.

The e-learning programme has enabled learners to enrich their learning of Radiography. In cases where lecturers are not available, the learners are still able to follow the course material on their own using e-learning.

(This article is part of a paper that was presented at the 1st African UNESCO-UNEVOC TVET Summit held in Nairobi in May 2007)

The full paper can be downloaded at: http://bit.ly/vwazL1

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Surviving in a Boarding School

1. Introduction

Surviving in a boarding school can be a tough experience. It can be made easier if some steps are followed. This article looks at the advantages of boarding school, the disadvantages of boarding school and how to survive in boarding school.



2. Advantages of Boarding School
Boarding Schools have a number of advantages. These include more time for study, more time to develop friendships, becoming independent, more time to consult classmates and teachers and good preparation for college ad university life.


(a) More time for study
In boarding schools, times are allocated for afternoon and evening study times. Pupils have at least a minimum of three hours of study per day. This gives a pupil more time to revise and study their school work. Apart from study times, pupils in boarding schools have weekends which can be used for studies. Pupils in day schools may not have enough time as their boarding school colleagues.


(b) More time to consult classmates and teachers
The boarding pupil has more time to consult his classmates, school mates and teachers on school work. The pupil can discuss with classmates during study times or consult them in the hostels. In addition the pupil can consult their teachers at their homes or classrooms.


(c) Developing Independency
Boarding School enables pupils to develop independency and self-reliance. Pupils are able to budget their pocket money to last for one term. Pupils also wash their own clothes and clean their surroundings. They also learn how to manage time for studies, leisure and sleep. This helps the pupil to be more responsible in later life.

(d) More time for extra-curricular activities
Pupils in boarding schools have a number of extra-curricular activities. These range from sport, gardening, cleaning and inter school activities. Some boarding schools also have activities that benefit the community. These extra-curricular activities help a pupil to be a balanced pupil as opposed to one who is just a bookworm.


3. Disadvantages of Boarding School
Boarding schools have some disadvantages. These include pupils being away from parents at a critical stage in their lives, exposure to bad company, growing distant from parents and family and adjusting to a new environment.


(a) Teenage Pupils being away from Parents
Most pupils who are in boarding school are between the ages of 13 and 18. This is a critical stage when the pupils are teenagers. Teenagers are at a stage when certain changes are taking place emotionally and physically within them. They are undergoing self-discovery. They need the close guidance of their parents and guardians. Some pupils miss out on the counsel and guidance of their parents. Teenage pupils in day schools have an advantage over their friends in boarding schools as they are with their parents or guardians on a daily basis.


(b) Exposure to Bad Company
Some pupils go to boarding schools as sweet and nice boys. They leave boarding schools as naughty boys having learnt bad habits such as smoking and drinking. What's the reason? It is because of exposure to bad company. Bad company ruins good morals as the Bible teaches. If you are to survive in boarding school and come out as a useful pupil avoid bad company the way you would avoid contagious diseases.


(c) Growing distant from parents and family
A pupil in boarding school is normally at school for 9 months in a year. This leaves only 3 months for the pupil to be at home. The pupil is thus more of a guest in his home. The pupil becomes closer to boys and girls at their school than their brothers, sisters, guardians or parents at home. Parents tend to give their children from boarding school a special guest status when they are on holiday.


(d) Adjusting to a new environment
A pupil who goes to boarding school is in a new environment different from home. The pupil has to adjust to new school mates, new teachers and a new place. If the pupil is very far from home, the adjustment is made more difficult. Some pupils even lose weight as they adjust to new food and a new environment.



4. How to survive in boarding school

To survive in boarding school you need to avoid bad company, develop good friendships, work hard in your studies and take part in extra-curricular activities.


(a) Avoid bad company
You need to avoid bad company. Bad friends look fun and attractive. But they damage your character and values. Avoid making friends with such pupils. Bad friends will lead you to do the wrong things that you may regret later in life.


(b) Develop good friendships

You need to develop good friendships in boarding school. Most people have friends in later life with those who became their friends whilst in boarding school. Boarding school offers pupils the opportunity to become close friends as they have more time after classes to know each other better. The writer has two close friends whom he became friends with whilst at boarding school.


(c) Work hard in your studies

Boarding school offers you enough time and resources to do well as a pupil in your studies. Take advantage of that. Divide your time well so that you have enough time for studies, recreation and rest. Form study groups with classmates. Consult your teachers and senior school mates.


(d) Take part in extra-curricular activities

Boarding school offers one a rich programme of extra-curricular activities. These range from sporting activities, clubs and societies, hostel duties and gardening. Since the choice is so wide, you need to be wise so as to choose suitable activities that match your interests and abilities. Avoid being involved in too many activities. This will rob you of enough study time.


5. Conclusion
The article has looked at the advantages and disadvantages of boarding schools. The article has also proposed ways in which you can survive in a boarding school. Boarding school is not some imprisonment which you have to endure. On the other hand it is not home. It is a different environment to which you have to adjust. For you to survive much better in boarding school, you need to have good values that you treasure and live by. Values that ensure that even if your parents and guardians are not close, you can still cherish the good they have taught you. I recommend to you Christian values that are found in the Bible. These values or standards will help you not only in boarding school, but later in life. I recommend you to place your life under the Lordship of Jesus Christ and live by biblical values.

Digital Natives

Introduction

Although digital natives (Prensky, 2001a, 2001b) possess sophisticated knowledge of and skills with technology (Bennett et al., 2008:777) and use technology on a daily basis (Thinyane, 2010), digital natives are not necessarily digitally competent (Li and Rznieri, 2010). The term digital natives is used to describe modern students who are said to be native speakers of the digital language of computers, video games and the Internet (Prensky, 2001a:1). The term also describes those born during or after the general introduction of digital technology, and through interacting with digital technology from an early age, have a greater understanding of its’ concepts (Wikipedia, 2008:1). A digitally competent learner is one that has developed communicative and interpretive ability using electronic media (Bucek, 2010:9). The essay analyses the opening sentence and then discusses the implications for education by considering the context in Zambian educational institutions. The essay seeks to support the opening statement through critical analysis and discussion.

Analysis

From the opening statement and the definitions of a digital native and digital competent person, it can be noted that digital competence requires development of communicative/ interpretive ability in using electronic media (Bucek, 2010:9). From the writer’s teaching experience of grades 8 to form 6 (digital natives) born between 1978 and 1985, it was noted that most of the students were not digitally competent. They required guided instruction from teachers in order to develop communication skills and interpretation in using electronic media. Most students would use computers for Computer related studies and not for getting information and as a learning tool for other non-computer related subjects. The students would also mostly play games on the computer and use e-mail to communicate with friends and family.

It needs to be noted in supporting the opening statement of this essay that not everyone agrees with the language and underlying connotations of the digital native. It suggests a familiarity with technology that not all youths who would be considered digital natives have. In its application, the concept of the digital native preferences those who grow up with technology as having special status, ignoring the significant difference between familiarity and creative application (Wikipedia, 2008:2). Bennett, Maton and Kervin (2007:778) note that research findings suggest that technology skills and experience are far from universal among young people. At a high school where the writer taught from 1996 - 2002, all students from eighth grade to sixth form did compulsory computer literacy lessons. This was due to the policy of the owners of the school, Zambia Consolidated Copper Mines to have all students have basic computer literacy. Most of the students came from what could be considered middle class families and had knowledge of ICTs. However, these students were not digitally competent as they had challenges in for example adapting to different models of computers and getting information for various study subjects. Bennett et al., (2008:778) observe that research evidence indicates that a proportion of young people are highly adept with technology and rely on it for a range of information gathering and communication activities. However, there also appears to be a significant proportion of young people who do not have the levels of access or technology skills predicted by proponents of the digital native idea.

The proponents of the digital native theory argue that the education of tech-savvy students is a major issue for education (Bennett et al., 2008:780) and today’s students are no longer the people our educational system was designed to teach (Prensky, 2001:1). It is argued that educational systems need to reconsider their methodology and content. Today’s teachers have to learn to communicate in the language and style of their students (Prensky, 2001:4). While the above arguments may have strength in a few cases, they are not backed by exhaustive research. Li and Ranieri (2010:12) observe that Digital competence stands as a global challenge for the educational systems of the new century. A wider analysis of the content of this competence shows that it involves relevant cognitive and metacognitive capacities that the new generations, the so-called ‘digital natives’, do not necessarily possess. Therefore, to develop appropriate policies towards digital competence and to design adequate curriculum to promote digital culture, we need to better understand the characteristics of these new generations and also to provide more empirical evidence on the real status of this competence among today’s teenagers.

Discussion

The digital competence of digital natives has a number of implications for education. Educational technology is intended to improve education over what it would be without technology. Some of the claimed benefits are: easy-to-access course materials, student motivation, wide participation, improved student writing, subjects made easier to learn and differentiated instruction (Wikipedia, 2011:4-5). The increase in the availability of low cost computers, mobile phones and data storage devices makes it easier for students in educational institutions to learn e.g. learning materials available on CD-ROMs and on the Internet make it possible for more learners to access these materials where text books are not adequate. However accessing learning materials on the Internet poses a challenge on the learner’s digitally competence. In order for learners to maximise on the benefits of educational technology, educational institutions need to put in place measures to ensure that students have adequate ICT skills to enable them use whatever skills they may have effectively. This could be done by having computer literacy classes for new students.

A second implication for education is the need for research to ensure that teaching methods are abreast with the development of technology. Institutions should not stick to traditional teaching methods when they can improve their teaching by adopting and adapting digital technology. Use of technology is meant to make teaching easier and provide numerous benefits for learners (Wikipedia, 2011:1). The curricula of teacher education colleges and schools of education needs to spearhead and promote research in the use of technology so as to produce graduate teachers that are digitally competent.

A third implication for education is the need for policy makers and training institutions to ensure that they get adequate and appropriate technology for learning purposes. Institutions should avoid acquiring technology in order to keep up with other institutions without them having a clear direction on how that technology. Educators and Higher education administrators must take into account the diversity of student populations when deciding how to use technology in different learning environments (Thinyane, 2010:413).

Conclusion

It has been noted above from literature and examples from educational institutions that although digital natives possess sophisticated knowledge of and skills with technology and use technology on a daily basis, digital natives are not necessarily digitally competent. Implications for education have been discussed. These were educational institutions having computer literacy lessons, the need for research to ensure that teaching methods are abreast with the development of technology and the need for policy makers and training institutions to ensure that they get adequate and appropriate technology for learning purposes get adequate and appropriate technology for learning purposes.

References

Bucek, O. (2010). Development of the Digital Competence. [Online]. Accessed on 2011/02/25. Available at: http://www.slideshare.net/obucek/development-of-the-digital-competence

Bennett, S., Maton, K. and Kervin, L. (2008). The ‘digital natives’ debate: A critical review of the evidence. British Journal of Educational Technology, 39(5), 775-786.

Li, Y. and Ranieri, M. (2010). Are ‘digital natives’ really digitally competent? – A study on Chinese teenagers. British Journal of Educational Technology. Doi: 10.1111/j.1467-8535.2009.01053.x

Prensky, M. (2001a). Do They Really Think Differently? [Online]. Accessed on: 2010/10/4. Available at: http://www.emeraldinsight.com/journals.htm?articleid=1532747&show=pdf

Prensky, M. (2001b). Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants. [Online]. Accessed on: 2010/10/4. Available at:http://www.emeraldinsight.com/journals.htm?articleid=1532742&show=abstract

Thinyane, H. (2010). Are digital natives a world-wide phenomenon? An investigation into South African first year students’ use and experience with technology. Computers & Education, 55, 406-414.

Wikipedia (2008). Digital Native. [Online]. Accessed on: 2011/02/22. Available at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_native

Wikipedia (2011). Educational Technology. [Online]. Accessed on 2011/02/26. Available at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Educational_technology


Available online from: http://bit.ly/vcipnz

Best Practice on TEVET Graduate Empowerment Toolkit Scheme

This paper examines the Technical Education, Vocational and Entrepreneurship Training (TEVET) Graduate Empowerment Toolkit Scheme in Zambia, which was launched in 2007 by the Government of the Republic of Zambia in partnership with the Indian Government in an effort to curb youth unemployment.

Zambia has been affected by economic recession during which unemployment increased following the failure of companies and the privatization of government services. This economic crisis has compounded the already prevailing high unemployment resulting from the stagnation of the formal sector, as well as population growth which had outstripped the amenities offered by government. Almost 50% of Zambia’s population are young people and 80% of them are not employed (Central Statistics Office, 2009). As they dropped out of school, there were no jobs to absorb these young people. Moreover, even graduates coming out of technical colleges were unable to find employment. This prevailing unemployment context had a negative impact on the country’s prospects for wealth creation, not only at the present time but also in the foreseeable future.

It was in this regard that the government decided that young people attending Ministry of Science, Technology and Vocational Training (MSTVT) training institutions should first be equipped with entrepreneurship skills and secondly that they should benefit from support services enabling them to envisage productive ventures. It is in light of the above that the Technical Education, Vocational and Entrepreneurship Training (TEVET) Graduate Empowerment Toolkit Scheme was implemented in 2008 in technical and vocational education and training (TVET) colleges to curb unemployment by empowering and motivating TEVET graduates to start small businesses.

This best practice report on the TEVET Graduate Empowerment Toolkit Scheme is based on the review and interpretation of available literature on school enterprises and vocational training graduate toolkit schemes, coupled with information gathered through interviews conducted with college management, TEVET graduate scheme co-ordinators and TVET graduates. The general conclusions reached following an examination of the TEVET Graduate Toolkit Scheme are as follows:

  • There is a need to re-orient TVET curricula to ensure that entrepreneurship is integrated into training programmes. This must include knowledge and skills related to the formation of enterprises, business planning and running a successful business.
  • There is a need for training institutions to have business incubators where students can try out business ideas before forming graduate companies. These incubators should have adequate equipment and resources related to entrepreneurship, business development and management.
  • Industrial practice sessions for TVET students should be emphasized and all students should participate in a business or industrial attachment during their studies. This helps students to gain industrial experience that will be useful when they set up their own companies.
(This excerpt is part of a full article in the TVET Best Practice Clearinghouse published by UNESCO-UNEVOC in 2010)

The rest of the article can be downloaded from: http://bit.ly/suQtrh

A case study of practices in integrating sustainable development in TVET:The case of Mobile Mission Maintenance Vocational Training Centre, Zambia

In the technical and vocational education and training (TVET) sector in Zambia, some attempts have been made to apply sustainable development at the institutional level. This paper looks at the practice of integrating entrepreneurship in TVET carried out by the Mobile Mission Maintenance Vocational Training Centre (MMMVTC) in Ndola, Zambia. The purpose of the study was to examine the extent to which MMMVTC had integrated the principles of education for sustainable development (ESD) in its skills development programmes. The specific objectives of the study were:

1. To examine the definition of sustainable development as used by the centre;
2. To examine how entrepreneurship training in TVET has incorporated economic, social and environmental issues;
3. To identify methods that trainers use to deliver sustainable development;
4. To highlight some of the best practices that the MMMVTC employs in entrepreneurship training with respect to economic, social and environmental issues;
5. To identify barriers and challenges faced by the centre in integrating economic, social and environmental issues in entrepreneurship training;
6. To identify the business case for integrating ESD in the entrepreneurship training programmes.

The study used a series of interviews and a questionnaire to collect data. The first phase was a 45-minute interview conducted with the training manager of MMMVTC. The responses of the interview are included as an Appendix. The second phase was a questionnaire that was distributed to three members of staff: one from the administration and two from the teaching staff.

The study found that the staff at the centre defined sustainable development as ‘development of both the social and economic areas that impact positively on citizens and the graduate applying their skills in society to reduce poverty’. Members of staff stated that the relevance of sustainable development was that ‘the training was useful to the graduate and the community’. The methods used to deliver sustainable development in the training programmes are students carrying out projects, forming student companies and an emphasis on practical work. The study found that the most severe barriers were: financial restrictions; the requirements of professional associations; internal accreditation and validation systems; the reality of a future career conflicts with sustainability teaching; lack of staff expertise and the need to acquire new knowledge; lack of staff
awareness; and lack of academic rigour/misunderstanding. The knowledge and skills identified by the respondents that could ensure that graduates lived and worked in a sustainable way included knowing about the relevance of sustainable development as a way to avoid conflicts in their future.

The study recommended that UNEVOC in Bonn, Germany, should collaborate with the Technical Education, Vocational and Entrepreneurship Training Authority (TEVETA) to hold awareness workshops and produce publications on sustainable development for training institutions and those involved in TVET. Technical education, vocational and entrepreneurship training policy and TVET curricula need to address issues of sustainable development. It was also recommended that MMMVTC should employ different approaches in order to integrate ESD in TVET, such as plays, publications like magazines and talks by people from organizations that are implementing sustainable development effectively. To incorporate sustainable development in teaching programmes, MMMVTC also needed to procure materials on sustainable development available through UNEVOC and the Internet. These materials should provide simple and practical approaches on the incorporation of sustainable development in teaching programmes.

It was also recommended that TEVETA should ensure that all curricula have aspects of sustainable development integrated in them. The Ministry of Science, Technology and Vocational Training, as the policy-maker, and UNEVOC need to ensure that sustainable development is popularized. They should also provide a policy framework for the integration of sustainable development in TVET institutions. Further, it was recommended that UNEVOC should identify the knowledge, skills and attitudes that are required for the development of ESD skills. These needed to be integrated in TVET documents, such as the policy documents, strategy papers and curricula.

(This is part of an article in Six Case Studies from Eastern and Southern Africa on Integrating Sustainable Development in Technical and Vocational Education and Training published by UNESCO in 2010, pp 86-101)

The rest of the article is available online from: http://bit.ly/vtJK4g