|Guide Book for Curriculum Development and Adaptation (NITE, 1995, 42 p.)|
|Section D: Challenges and Opportunities|
Possession of a relevant research base and scientific data for curriculum revision and updating cannot be over-emphasised. There are very few examples in the countries of the region where curriculum development units function on the basis of, and with the support, of national databases providing precise information on:
· job markets
· needs analysis
· industry restructuring
· competencies required
· schools offering TVE courses
· societal demands as a result of economic transformation
· teachers qualifications and availability
· feedback from users
· existing curricula-national as well as comparative curricula from other countries.
Most countries of the region do not have comprehensive databases.
This would facilitate exchange of materials between the UNEVOC centres.
Materials, finances and mechanisms for the purpose of having efficient communication linkages are the basic requirements. Expertise for managing the affairs, such as appropriateness of the demand for information, better and economic mode of communication and quick response are essential requirements. Appropriately trained workers and resources are needed for this purpose. There is a need to have provision for collection of materials, but lack of availability of resources is a major problem.
Precise Identification of Job Opportunities
Data is needed for determining job opportunities. Labour market surveys determine trends in economic growth, market demand, level and nature of industrialisation. Foreign investment and government policies are important factors to be considered. The identification of jobs requires complete information. Absence of proper and recent data makes the exercise of job identification difficult. Foreign labour market demands also produce an impact, determining job opportunities.
Industry cooperation, which is an important aspect for the success of vocational education, does not come about in ample measure for a variety of reasons. One such reason is the absence of an organised forum for a dialogue between education and industry in many countries. In the absence of such a forum, the education sector, although it may obtain the necessary information from industry, often does not like to commit itself to compliance. In some instances there may not be enough effort by the education sector to involving industry in a meaningful dialogue. Part of the problem could also arise from the lack of understanding on the part of each sector about the stake that each sector holds in TVE as a venture. Industry preoccupation with its production/service activities may be yet another reason.
It is generally accepted that education is a conservative process and not readily amenable to quick changes. Teachers in general like to continue with old curricula and teaching practices. Managers of change often show inertia towards change. This is accentuated by poor awareness about change processes on the part of the society as a whole which also includes parents and learners.
Cost of changeover
Any change in the educational content or process has its own cost implications which may often be substantial to the extent that the risk of rejection becomes imminent. These cost parameters are training of teachers, development of instructional resource materials and provision of equipment/infrastructural facilities.
The change from old to new would also necessitate changes in background profiles of administrators, teacher educators and teachers amongst various categories of personnel. Often these changes assume a magnitude which cannot easily be handled in a given administrative set-up since they may require more drastic steps than are possible within the administrative framework of a particular country.
Policy Support and Priority
For a proper and relevant vocational education curriculum, it is desirable to have national government support in policy formulation. Governments need to appropriately prioritise vocational education to the level of commitment for sufficient material and money investment.
This support needs to be placed within the national education system as well as within the national life; so that policy commitment helps to develop the vocational curriculum, links it with opportunities, transacts properly in schools, and succeeds in establishing overall linkages with the employment market.
The levels of industrialisation are different in different countries. In some countries, industrialisation also varies from one region to another. Applicability of curriculum may have a problem of mismatch due to low-paced industrialisation, the need for updating the curriculum or non-availability of appropriate industrial facilities in certain regions. These factors have to be well managed whilst framing new curricula or further developing the existing curricula.