|Policy Development and Implementation of Technical and Vocational Education for Economic Development in Asia and the Pacific - Conference Proceedings - UNESCO - UNEVOC Regional Conference (RMIT, 1997, 520 p.)|
Paper prepared for the UNESCO UNEVOC Regional Conference on Policy Development and Implementation of Technical and Vocational Education for Economic Development in Asia and the Pacific to be held at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, Melbourne from 11th to 14th November, 1996.
Dr John Harré
Director, Fiji Institute of Technology
TECHNICAL AND VOCATIONAL EDUCATION AND TRAINING IN FIJI
In Fiji, Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) is undertaken most significantly in three settings.
The Ministry of Education provides for some basic technical training within the normal school curriculum through its industrial arts programme in the secondary schools. In addition to this a number of secondary schools have been allocated Vocational Centres where the objective of the technical training is more specifically targeted at vocational outcomes.
The Fiji Institute of Technology provides for most of the pre-service technical and vocational needs of Fiji, post secondary. However state funded specialist institutions in the field of health, agriculture and teacher education as well as smaller private providers (mainly in the field of commercial studies) also contribute to TVET at this level.
The Fiji National Training Council provides support for industry through the identification of in service training requirements and the provision of short courses to satisfy many of the identified needs. Support is also given to the training of industry based trainers.
In addition there are a number of national and international agencies who provide training opportunities.
This paper is not centrally concerned with the way in which teachers and trainers develop their specific technical/vocational skills. In most cases teachers in the field of TVET begin their teaching career with at least a basic qualification in their technical/vocational field.
However there are circumstances in which further technical training may be provided. In the case of lecturers at the Fiji Institute of Technology it is a requirement that they have technical qualifications at a level in advance of that at which they are teaching. Where appointees do not meet this requirement they may be sponsored for further education. Such education is either supported by the Fijian Affairs Board (in the case of ethnic Fijians) or by donor governments, particularly Australia and New Zealand.
MINISTRY OF EDUCATION
Formal school based technical education is offered as part of the school syllabus at 322 centres at Form 1 to 4 level, at 292 centres at Forms 5 and 6, and at 76 Form 7 centres. The objectives of these programmes are based on educational guidance, vocational guidance and personal guidance.
In 1995 a two year vocational education programme was offered in 49 centres, 18 of which cater for girls and 31, boys. A total of 995 students were in attendance in 1995 with most being in automotive engineering (457), about equal numbers in carpentry & joinery (260) and tailoring & catering (268) and a small group (10) involved in secretarial studies.
In 1995 seventy teachers were employed in teaching these programmes.
The objective of the programmes is to provide training to four ends, namely
· paid employment
· further education
· self employment, and
· life skills relevant to village life.
Although most of the teachers of vocational programmes have at least a certificate level qualification in the field of their technical skill, a number are seen by the ministry as not adequately qualified or trained. In the area of vocational teaching, 53 were recently classified as underqualified or under trained and teacher up-grading has been included as a key element in the recommendations for an improvement in the performance of vocational centres.
Teachers working in these programmes and in the formal technical courses available in the main stream of secondary school curricula are typically qualified with either a Bachelor of Technology degree from the University of the South Pacific or a diploma or trade certificate from the Fiji Institute of Technology.
Teacher training has in the past been provided at the Fiji College of Advanced Education in one of several programmes. Some trainees study for the teachers' diploma, but may complete this qualification in one year of full time study rather than the normal two because of their existing skill base in their specialist field.
In order to address the shortage of trained teachers in the technical/vocational field (both in vocational centres and the main stream industrial arts programme) the Ministry has supported a Short Teacher Training Certificate (STTC) programme which is undertaken during their vacation time by teachers already employed in teaching. Ten weeks of study at the Fiji College of Advanced Education is undertaken over a two year period.
It is intended that future programmes for the up-grading of under-trained technical and vocational teachers, particularly those working in the Vocational Centres, will be undertaken by the Fiji Institute of Technology alongside its established programme for training lecturers for tertiary level programmes. Planning to this end is currently being undertaken with the course to be modular in form and to be put into operation as soon as funding has been allocated.
The first three modules, expected to be offered in 1997 are
· Up Front Teaching
· Student Centred Learning
· Student Assessment
FIJI INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY
The teacher training programme offered at the Fiji Institute of Technology was developed in association with the Auckland Institute of Technology as part of the institutional strengthening project supported by the New Zealand Government. It is, however also available to other tertiary lecturers and industry trainers.
This programme (along with one in tertiary educational management) was originally developed to provide professional qualifications in tertiary teaching and educational management appropriate for teachers and educational administrators in Pacific Island countries. The programmes were designed to build on and recognise the existing skills and experience of course participants, and provide a focus for continuing development of skills and expertise in the education of adults (in fields of technical and vocational education and training).
The programmes were originally developed, offered and monitored by the Auckland Institute of Technology, but in due course have been transformed into a Fiji based operation taught by local staff. A review of standards is periodically undertaken by the Auckland Institute of Technology.
A key component of these programmes is the association of project work with more formal studies according to the premise that teacher education has both a practical skills component and a cognitive aspect.
The International Diploma in Tertiary Teaching offered now by the Fiji Institute of Technology requires the satisfactory completion of 120 credits from the following modules:
· Up Front Teaching (12 credits)
· Student Centred Learning (12 credits)
· Student Assessment (12 credits)
· Student Assessment Project (20 credits)
· Course Development (12 credits)
· Course Development Project (20 credits)
· Course Evaluation (12 credits)
· Course Evaluation Project (20 credits)
The total class and practical work hours required to complete the diploma is 720 hours, including 16 weeks of full time attendance at the Institute's Academic Centre. Since the commencement of the programme seventy-three of the Institute's staff have completed the Diploma and there are currently a further eight-four in process. [This is in relation to a total of approximately two hundred teaching staff.]
Twenty-two teachers from other TVET organisations have completed the programme and a further twenty are presently enrolled. These teachers are drawn from a number of organisations which include the following:
· Fiji School of Medicine
· Fiji School of Nursing
· Fiji Military Forces
· Methodist Handicraft and Farming School
· Telecom Training Centre
· Navuso Agricultural School
· Fiji College of Agriculture
OTHER TRAINING OPPORTUNITIES
A number of other training opportunities are provided through international agencies and donor governments. These include the following
Colombo Plan Staff College: Training opportunities in curriculum development, assessment, course planning and the like. Programmes are run both in Fiji and at the college headquarters in Manila (formerly in Singapore).
Japanese Government: Training opportunities related to technology transfer are provided through JICA. These are normally based in Japan, although one-to-one training may be offered from resident Japanese experts on assignment to the Institute. Japan based programmes range from one month to one year in duration and may include a requirement for Japanese language study.
Other Donor Governments: Various training opportunities are provided by the governments of Taiwan, Malaysia, India, Australia and New Zealand (and probably others).
FIJI NATIONAL TRAINING COUNCIL
Trainers employed by the Fiji National Training Council receive some of their training opportunities through the Council's own Training the Trainers programme, but are also sponsored to a number of training opportunities provided by the Asian Productivity Organisation to which the Council is affiliated.
TRAINING THE TRAINERS
This is the major programme available to industry in Fiji to meet the training needs of industry personnel who undertake training in their respective industries. It is comprised of three modules, the first of two weeks duration and the remaining two of one week each
· Instructional Skill (including task analysis, course design and test design)
· Training Systems (including training policies, strategic planning and manpower planning)
· Training systems in Fiji (including specific information on the FNTC training provisions)
Many of the issues surrounding the training of technical and vocational teachers and trainers in Fiji are those which affect economic development in general and education in particular in developing countries. These issues include the following:
· lack of resources
· lack of trained and experienced personnel (with those available spread too thinly)
· priorities for development strategies not always clearly defined
· relatively low levels of productivity and quality in the workplace.
Coupled with these general issues are some more specifically related to technical training. These include the following:
· confusion between the needs of the formal and informal (including subsistence) sectors
· confusion between technical education (which may be academically or domestically based) and truly vocational studies
· lack of formal job opportunities at the end of training
· lack of equipment
· difficulty of access to new technologies
Three of these issues - the need for truly vocationally oriented programmes, the lack of formal job opportunities for graduates and the relatively low level of productivity and quality in the workplace -constitute a particular challenge to the process of providing education and training for the educators and trainers.
Provision of truly vocationally Oriented Programmes
There appears to be a tendency in school based programmes to equate technical skills with hobbies or with the domestic equivalent of a skill. An example of this would be using a home economics environment to provide basic training in professional cookery.
One solution to this is that being adopted by the Ministry of Education in Fiji whereby the training of the teachers is to be undertaken by the same unit which provides the training for the lecturers in the Institute of Technology. It is hoped that by this means the teachers being trained will be clearly oriented towards vocational needs of their students and that there will also be a clearer perception of the place of industry in determining the skill base required.
Lack of Formal Job Opportunities for Graduates
It is assumed in Fiji that the formal job market will not, in the foreseeable future be able to absorb all the young people exiting form the schools and the various post school training institutions. It follows that if graduates of vocational programmes are going to be able to generate their own occupations they must be equipped with the skills and values that could encourage them to develop entrepreneurial opportunities.
It is essential, therefore, that the teachers of these students, and the curricula they develop, provide the necessary skills and motivation to enable their graduates to succeed in this environment.
Relatively Low Levels of Productivity and Quality in the Workplace
It has been agreed by Government, Unions and Employers in Fiji that if the community is to achieve the level of economic affluence to which members aspire, it will be necessary to improve quality and productivity in the workplace.
It is clear that one avenue through which the necessary attitudinal changes could be achieved will be the various organisations responsible for technical and vocational education and training - and this in turn comes back to those responsible as teachers and trainers.
In Fiji a number of initiatives are currently being taken to stimulate economic development and many of these will (or should) impinge on the TVET sector and the teachers and trainers involved. The following are likely to be the most significant:
· Integrated Human Resource Development: Various initiatives are being coordinated by the Ministry of Labour and Industrial Development with the support of the International Labour Organisation.
· Productivity and Quality Awareness: A charter was agreed between Government, Employers and the Unions last year and various initiatives are planned for 1997 to enhance awareness and stimulate action.
An essential element in the success of Technical and Vocational Education and Training in Fiji will be the extent to which those involved take note of these initiatives and build them into the content and style of their teaching.
Dr John Harré
Director, Fiji Institute of Technology