|APPEAL - Training Materials for Continuing Education Personnel (ATLP-CE) - Volume 3: Equivalency Programmes (APEID - UNESCO, 1993, 69 p.)|
While infrastructures for continuing education vary from country to country, all Member States in the Region have an educational structure within which equivalency programmes under continuing education can be placed. Invariably, this would be the Ministry/Department of Education (Education and Culture or Education, Culture and Sports) which is the lead agency for education in the country. This is not to say there is no place for Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) - quite to the contrary. NGOs, however, would need to function within the general parameters and infrastructures determined in the main by government.
In fact, in most countries with alternative secondary education programmes, such programmes are the main responsibilities of the Education Ministry or Department. Within the Ministry or Department, there is usually a department/bureau/office in charge of the programmes. Usually, in these countries, the organizational infrastructure for continuing education which includes equivalency programmes, follows the organizational structure of the Education Ministry or Department. However, the implementation of equivalency programmes to be successful should be the responsibilities of both governmental organizations (GOs) and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to guarantee the movement towards education for all and all for education, and the building of a learning society.
Some Member States may wish to adopt or adapt the broad infrastructure for continuing education described in ATLP-CE Volume 1, (see Figure 3.1). It is suggested that a section in charge of equivalency programmes should be situated in the Executive NCCCE at the national level. This section should work in close coordination with existing accreditation/examination/testing boards or centres. There should likewise be a section in charge of equivalency programmes at the provincial/regional level down to the district/local LCCCE levels. This is shown in the figure, (Figure 3.1).
It should be noted, however, that the Council for Continuing Education at national, regional/ provincial, and district/local levels are inter-agency in nature composed of representatives form GOs and NGOs with the Educational Ministry/Department as the lead agency.
Figure: 3.1 An infrastructure for continuing education
NCCCE = National Coordinating Committee for Continuing Educational
PCCCE = Provincial Coordinating Committee for Continuing Education
LCCCE = Local Coordinating Committee for Continuing Education
E.P. section = Equivalency Programmes Section
FUNCTIONS AT DIFFERENT LEVELS
The functions or tasks of the three levels of the overall infrastructure of equivalency programmes in continuing education are described below:
1. National level
The tasks at this level are:
a) Policy making
For proper programme implementation, there should be governing policies and clear guidelines regarding equivalency programmes especially in the areas of certification and accreditation; financing; curriculum; linkages between formal and non-formal education, and training of personnel.
As mentioned earlier, the Section in charge of equivalency programmes at the national level should work in close co-ordination with existing accreditation, examination or testing boards or centres. This is because certification and accreditation are at the core of equivalency programmes. Learners view certification and accreditation of learning programmes attended outside the formal education channel as an enabling means for social mobility and acceptance in the world of work.
Formulation of policies on certification and accreditation may be guided l y the following aims of accreditation and equivalency:
1) maximising the socioeconomic benefits derived by learners from informal sources of knowledge like the home, the community, media, and life itself;
2) according recognition to out-of-school education to bring it at a par with formal education thus removing the social bias for formal education vis-a-vis non-formal;
3) reducing the demand for formal education at least as it is presently constituted;
4) promoting flexible entry to and from various alternative channels of education.
The present system of accreditation and equivalency in some countries may have to be expanded, specifically at the secondary level, to cater to the potentially productive age groups who will be contributors to nation-building.
National policies on certification and accreditation should:
1) Define the standard of competencies appropriate for entry into defined levels and grades of education.
2) Provide guidelines for the recognition of various alternative programmes.
3) Establish appropriate accrediting bodies for equivalency programmes.
4) Establish an organisational infrastructure for equivalency programmes.
Some countries have a clearly stated policy «that education should be a lifelong process and should be implemented within as well as outside the school system».
With this as legal basis, a relatively strong non-formal (out-of school) education equivalency programme has emerged in these countries. A final achievement test is given to those who complete the courses and certificates are awarded. In some countries, this certificate is equal in value to that granted by the regular full-time formal education. This has yet to be realized in other countries.
Clearer guidelines should also be formulated regarding curriculum development; personnel recruitment, selection and training; and the linkage between formal and nonformal education channels as they are presently operating.
National level planning tasks include the following:
1) Identification of the target groups and setting annual enrolments by locality. Target groups are those who completed primary schooling but were unable to continue or who have dropped-out from the secondary level. How many and where are they located? What are their needs?
2) Annual budget for target groups by programme and by locality. Financing has always been inadequate for equivalency programmes, hence, the need to include adequate provision for these in the annual budget. The budget needed would depend on the teaching methods adopted; the length of the programme, and the number of participants involved.
3) Personnel recruitment, assignment, training and support. These are subsumed under management of the programme. Criteria for selection and assignment have to be made, and training and support provided.
c) Monitoring and evaluation.
At national level, monitoring should occur to find out if plans are being implemented as scheduled while the main purpose of evaluation is to determine whether the programme has been successful in achieving its objectives. Formative and summative evaluation should be undertaken. Feedback from monitoring and evaluation would guide policy makers and implementors on the next step to be done, i.e. to improve, continue, or terminate the programme.
2. Provincial level
The regional or provincial level committee for equivalency programme should have the following functions:
a) Interpreting and applying policies on equivalency programmes at provincial or regional level.
b) Identifying categories of clientele and catering to their needs.
c) Promoting, facilitating, accrediting, and coordinating delivery systems, programmes, activities and agencies for equivalency programmes throughout the province or region.
d) Establishing and/or strengthening provincial or regional networks for equivalency programmes.
e) Developing, adapting and distributing good quality teaching-learning materials.
f) Monitoring and evaluating the impact of equivalency programmes at provincial or regional and district and local levels.
g) Conducting research and development in equivalency programmes.
h) Preparing and submitting reports as needed.
Personnel at this level in charge of equivalency programmes need to be trained to be able to do the above mentioned tasks effectively.
3. District/Local level
Tasks at the district and local levels are:
a) Providing and making available equivalency programmes for clientele.
b) Establishing linkages/accreditation with other providers of equivalency programmes in the locality.
c) Coordinating with regional/provincial level equivalency programmes personnel
d) Evaluating local equivalency programmes.
Training is also needed for personnel at this level considering that equivalency programmes are implemented at this level.