|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.)|
Dr C. K. Basu
Director, Colombo Plan Staff College for Technician Education, Manila
Colombo Plan Staff College for Technician Education (CPSC), Manila, is a regional organization for improving the quality and relevance of technical and vocational education and training (TVET) in Asia-Pacific. CPSC is entirely devoted to the cause of strengthening training, research and development activities in TVET in its nineteen member countries. Established in 1973, it occupies a unique position in the region as it provides leadership and encourages innovations in TVET through:
a) curriculum development and curriculum renewal;
b) training and upgrading of teachers and teacher trainers for improving quality; and
c) integrating emerging areas of concern into TVET curriculum for sustainability and globalization.
CPSC carries out its programs through partnership and collaboration with member countries and many international agencies for maximizing efficiency and cost-effectiveness.
In the field of teacher-training and training-of-trainers in TVET for the Asia-Pacific countries, CPSC has contributed significantly over the last twenty-three years. CPSC's regional research and training activities enabled us to identify the issues, problems and strategies which are critical for effective teacher-training in TVET. This paper is devoted to exploring the experiences related to emerging directions in training of TVET teachers and pinpointing some of the elements of success with a focus on Asia-Pacific countries.
2. ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL CONTEXT OF ASIA-PACIFIC COUNTRIES
In spite of great geographical, economic and demographic diversities among Asia-Pacific countries, they share many common challenges and pose many common issues which are fundamental to improve the quality and relevance of TVET to gain a competitive edge in the market economy of the 21st century. The Asian Development Outlook 1996/97, prepared by ADB, points out that the developing Asia, during the past decade recorded remarkable buoyant economic performance achieving an overall growth rate of 7.9 percent in 1995. There were, nevertheless, large variations and disparities in economic growth among the countries. What strategic policy measure is necessary for converging the growth rate amongst the countries in the region? The Human Resource Development (HRD) theory, developed over the past decade, provides a useful direction for addressing this question. It recognizes the role of HRD and innovations in education and training for raising productivity as the ultimate engine of socio-economic growth. In order to develop a coherent strategy of training for HRD, the following are some of the critical issues:
· population growth and rapid urbanization;
· increasing demand for secondary education, technical education and female education;
· technological change and labour market shift;
· changing patterns of international trade, liberalization and globalization of the workforce;
· pollution and environmental degradation;
· new technologies of training for TVET education.
2.1 Population Growth and Urbanization
By the end of the century, the world population will number around six billion. Most of them will be in Asia-Pacific. Thirteen Mega Cities with more than ten million population each will grow in Asia in the next twenty-five to thirty years. More than one billion people would be below the poverty line worldwide. The high rate of population growth added with rapid urbanization, high rate of poverty in many countries, and general improvement of communication techniques and higher level of aspirations would require in Asia new strategies of education and training for skill-development and income-generation. Technology education at the secondary and post-secondary levels will play critical roles in this changing process.
2.2 Increasing Demand for Secondary Education, Technical Education, and Female Education
Developing economies in Asia, particularly in East Asia, are continuing to prosper leading to changing life style, education aspirations, living standards and use of modern technologies. As poverty remains one of the critical problems in some of the countries in the region, particularly in South Asia, human resource development and skill-development for improving income-generating capacities will be a key factor in the quest for improving the quality of life in the Asia-Pacific.
Technical-vocational education and training are areas of major interest in Asian countries, especially in those reflecting a singular economic growth like those in South-East Asia and China. Most countries in the region regard TVET as being pivotal to their development as it is intimately linked to job creation, employment provision, income-generation and life skills-training.
The growth in the enrolment in technical/vocational education, as a percentage of secondary education, is a salient feature in the countries of the region. The increase in the number of students is most apparent in countries whose economies are in transition or rapid growth, such as in South-East Asia and China (see chart)
Note: Based on latest available estimates
Note: Statistic's are the most recently available for each country *Tertiary figures not available
Source: World Bank and United Nations Development Program reports.
Source: International Labour Organisation
Source: UNESCO, Statistical Yearbook, 1995.
Source: UNESCO. Statistical Yearbook 1995.
Similarly, the percentage of female students enrolled in TVET has witnessed significant increase in some Asian countries. This trend is likely to continue in other countries of the region, if it is not visible yet.
2.3 Technological Change and Labor Market Shift
Many Asian countries are fast adopting the new and emerging technologies in industry and agriculture. The new technologies, in general, need higher knowledge-base and would require knowledge-intensive application. The role of manual skills are going down. This has profound effect on employment, education and training of technical manpower, and training of teachers of TVET. One analysis (World Bank, Knight and Wasty, 1991) recognizes six main elements of technological transformation:
· the increased rate of technological innovation (especially in micro-electronics, bio-technology, and new materials);
· the cross-cutting nature of technological change (the application effect);
· shortened technology life cycles and flexibility in meeting needs;
· increased automation with a smaller role for unskilled labor;
· increased energy and material savings;
· substitution of traditional materials with new ones.
Technological development is transforming the opportunities for, and also methodologies of HRD. This raises the challenge to develop institutional and non-institutional capacities to develop and adopt strategies for continuing training and upgrading of teachers and teacher trainers in TVET. A new 'technical leadership' will be required of the TVET teachers to suit the needs of the 21st century technology.
2.4 Changing Patterns of International Trade, Liberalization leading to Globalization of the Workforce
International trade and investment have expanded rapidly during the past decade. Trade liberalization and structural reforms have been initiated by most of the countries in the Asia-Pacific region. Most notably, the two most populous countries in the region, India and China, are moving towards the market economy. The GATT agreement, the creation of APEC, WTO, and other organizations will further accelerate the process of globalization of trade and commerce leading to creating a global workforce. The global economic interdependence will certainly intensify further. Asia-Pacific countries with the highest rate of economic growth in the world are particularly well-placed to benefit from this process of liberalization. To remain competitive in the global workforce, high productivity and appropriate skills for that are needed by the Asian workers. Continuing professional education will become imperative with the onset of global trade liberalization.
2.5 Pollution and Environmental Degradation
Pollution and environmental degradation has phenomenally increased in Asian countries along with industrial development and population growth. Agenda 21 of the UNCED made it clear that education is critical for promoting sustainable development. Proposals in Agenda 21 focus on re-orienting education and training at all levels, particularly of the teachers towards sustainable development. This is an urgent global need.
2.6 New Technologies of Training for TVET and Teacher-training
New technologies of training (NTT) can go a long way to facilitate the process of curriculum development and curriculum delivery for the 21st century. Satellite communication, electronic media, computer technology, telecommunication and internet facilities are introducing a fundamental shift in the nature of education and training. In the new context, the teachers would interact very differently with students, more as guiders and mentors and less like instructors or lecturers. These new technologies and their appropriate applications are being progressively introduced in many countries in Asia-Pacific. Countries like Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Philippines, India, Pakistan, etc. are already in the path of applying the NTT in educational institutions. Some of the other developing countries like Bhutan, Nepal, Myanmar, etc. have started building the necessary human and technological resources to deploy NTT in education. However, TVET do not yet make full use of these new technologies of training for upgrading its teachers.
3. EMERGING TRENDS IN TVET TEACHER-TRAINING FOR THE 21ST CENTURY
Skills and competencies necessary to meet the above challenges will not be achieved through the traditional forms of TVET teacher-training curriculum and delivery and its systems. A multi-dimensional approach is necessary to meet the objectives. These will include:
· pre-service and continuing teacher education through formal and open learning systems;
· more broad-based and flexible teacher-training curriculum replacing skill-specific training programs;
· integration of training and education in cooperation with industries and private sectors;
· life-long and flexible learning to enable the teachers to meet the demands of higher and varied demands of the teaching job;
· knowledge and skills of using new technologies of training and education including the computers;
· development of multi-lingual and communication skills;
· increased emphasis on development of work ethics, teamwork, human values and other non-technical competencies like leadership, time management, environmental awareness, etc.
3.1 Institutionalized Training of TVET Teachers
Twenty years ago most of the CPSC member countries did not have specific institutional facilities for training of TVET teachers and teacher trainers. Since the beginning of its inception, CPSC consistently advocated the need for establishing infrastructure for formal, and non-formal pre-service and in-service training of TVET teachers and teacher trainers. Over the last twenty years many such institutions have come up in the region.
In Bangladesh, the Technical Teacher Training Institute (TTTC) is one of the first technical teachers training institutes in the sub-continent. India, in the 70's, established four Technical Teachers Training Institutes (TTTI's) in the four regions of the country. In 1978, the Government of Indonesia decided to establish eleven National Teacher Upgrading Centres (PPPG). Six of them were designed to fulfill the needs of technical and vocational education. The rest of the Centres were for upgrading science/mathematics and other teachers. Similar national level technical teacher-training institutions have also been set up in Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Malaysia. Many countries have developed facilities for TVET staff development through existing universities and technical institutions.
3.2 Distance and Open Learning for Continuing Education of TVET Teachers
As a result of a careful review of the member country needs and priorities, incorporating the findings and recommendations of the Senior Administrators of the CPSC member countries, who meet every two years to provide general direction to CPSC programs, distance education has been adopted as a necessary supplementary mode to meet some of the critical needs of teacher-training in the member countries. The objectives of the CPSC distance learning program are as follows:
· to update and upgrade a large number of serving technician teachers, teacher educators, and key personnel responsible for management and quality improvement of technical-vocational education and skills-development in the member countries in the Asia-Pacific region;
· to have convenient and continuing access to advance training which are of immediate relevance, cost-effective, and reflective of prime concerns of the developing member countries of the region;
· to contribute towards developing a cost-effective regional model for establishing distance education resource centre for technical-vocational education and skills-development;
· to promote innovations, research, and development for improvement of quality and relevance in technical-vocational education in the Asia-Pacific region;
· to support technical cooperation among developing member countries for designing appropriate methods and materials for distance education;
· to establish a network of international and national organizations for distance education for TVET.
Other organizations like the Commonwealth of Learning (COL) are also promoting the concept of distance education for TVET teachers in the region.
3.3 Modularized Open Learning for Continuing Education
Considering individual constraints and job requirements of working teachers, most of the continuing education programs may be given as on-the-job programs. To accommodate variable requirements, programs should be flexible in nature. The flexibility is provided in selecting the contents, time and duration of study, place of study, strategy (method and media) for study, etc. The learner should have the flexibility in choice of course content according to job requirements. This flexibility helps to motivate the teacher to take part in the program.
Since the teacher and teacher trainers often are not located at the same place, the teaching/learning (T/L) package and the modules prepared by specialist experts are such that the learners located at a distance away from the experts can understand the contents of the package through individualized self-study. CPSC has prepared a number of teacher-training modules consisting of self-explanatory concepts/principles and alternative examples of application of these concepts/principles.
Colombo Plan Staff College has conducted a number of flexible modular training programmes for technical teachers of TVET institutions using distance learning print modules prepared by CPSC's experts. It is observed that these programmes have been very well-received by technical teachers. These programs for the technical teachers of TVET system have considerably assisted in developing a number of teaching competencies.
4. NEED FOR INTERNATIONAL AND SOUTH-SOUTH COOPERATION
Considering the rapid change in technology and open competitive global market demands, it is necessary that the TVET teachers also change and re-equip them with broad-based competencies/capabilities. For this, TVET training institutions will have to play a big role by preparing their technical teachers to undertake continuing education programmes through flexible modular distance learning mode. To achieve this goal, flexible modular distance learning (FMDL) may be implemented in all developing countries of the Asia-Pacific region. Unless a large number of international agencies work together, it will be a difficult task for a single agency to cover so many countries and so many institutions. Cooperation of international agencies like COL, ESCAP, ILO, UNESCO, UNEVOC, CPSC, along with national agencies and NGO's, will be essential to develop and create competent and professional teachers and teacher trainers in the member countries of the Asia-Pacific region in an efficient and cost-effective manner. CPSC, having a commitment and concern for the improvement of technical and vocational education in the Asia-Pacific region and with its vast network of TVET institutions in the region, is in a position to coordinate these efforts in the Asia-Pacific with other national and international agencies. For its success, a well-planned partnership program is necessary.
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