|Establishing Partnership in Technical and Vocational Education - Co-operation between Educational Institutions and Enterprises in Technical and Vocational Education - A Seminar for Key Personnel from Africa and Asia - Berlin, Germany, 02-12 May 1995 (UNEVOC, 1995, 168 p.)|
|2 Co-operation between Educational Institutions and Enterprises in Technical and Vocational Education: African Experiences|
by B. A. O. POPOOLA
Biola A. O. POPOOLA, born in 1953, is the Human Resources Development Manager of the Guinness Brewery, Nigeria. Currently he manages a Plant modernisation project of his company and the respective skills and knowledge upgrading implications. He holds a bachelor of science in Biochemistry and an M.B.A.
This paper is cast in the form of an interview with Mr Popoola concerning co-operation between technical and vocational education institutions and enterprises in Nigeria.
1. What is the context within your country of the co-operation that exists between your technical and vocational educational institutions and your enterprises?
A very low level of co-operation nationally.
Vocational Educational Institutions expect students to be given opportunity to acquire relevant experience in the world of work through SIWES (Students Industrial Works Experience Scheme). Enterprises do not readily provide such opportunity. What opportuniy is available is grossly inadequate for the numbers seeking such experience.
Very few employers foster the co-operation. Where such co-operation does exist, it is not limited or dedicated to one Educational Institution.
2. How extensive is your co-operation with your industrial or educational partner?
No educational partner exists for us. However, we provide SIWES opportunity for deserving students in relevant disciplines. We also do interact and co-operate with University or Polytechnic Supervisors in monitoring performance and progress of the SIWES attachees.
3. What are the objectives of the co-operation between your technical and vocational institutions and your enterprises ?
To foster learning through exposure to a practical application and demonstration of theoretical principles and processes.
To realign the attitudes and perceptions of students towards the real world of work outside school.
4. Is there general co-operation, and enthusiasm for this co-operation, between technical and vocational institutions and enterprises?
There is, generally, little enthusiasm between the two.
5. What particular efforts do you make to establish this co-operation?
Effort has usually been made more by the Vocational Institutions.
6. What are the principal problems that you encounter in establishing this co-operation?
The economic justification to the Company for the SIWES programme, in terms of value-added to the business, is questionable and often felt not to be apparent.
7. What are the strengths and weaknesses of the training of trainers in establishing this cooperation?
Training of Trainers needs to be refocussed to establish this co-operation. Workshops and Seminars involving Trainers in the world of work and Educational Institution Trainers, should be held for both parties so that they might appreciate the mutual benefits that are derivable.
8. What are the limitations of equipment you encounter and how do you try to overcome these limitations?
The equipment level in most companies is rather low. Access to equipment by students on attachment is also low or poor.
9. What are the three strengths you have in establishing this
co-operation between technical and vocational institutions and enterprises? What
are the three most serious weaknesses you have in establishing this
a) Strengths in establishing co-operation:
· Potentially a good supply of high quality labour to enterprises.
· Potentially a very useful source of validating what has been taught and learnt in school.
· Could provide cheap labour that is effective.
· Responsibility for training is not welcomed by enterprises. It is considered to be a distraction from their normal business.
· Lack of appreciation of mutual benefits derivable from such co-operation.
· Non relevance of what is being taught to what skills are required by enterprises.
10. What are the roles of the employer, educational tutor, teacher in establishing and maintaining this co-operation?
The employers' role in establishing co-operation includes the following:
· a need to articulate what skills and specialisation are required.
· communicate what numbers can be comfortably accommodated.
· provide challenges and real work experience in the planned programme for students on industrial attachment.
· provide supports services for Vocational Educational Institutions through maintenance service for training equipment, and make their own plants and equipment available to educational institutions.
· make available to the institutions specialist instruction through in-house experts and professionals.
11. What efforts have you made to overcome your problems of co-operation between technical and vocational institutions and enterprises?
No systematic approach has been taken to overcome the problems since the potential for commercial advantage is not fully apparent and recognised.
Most Blue-chip employers have their own In-house Training and Development Departments which operate in line with contemporary business requirements for skills and knowledge.
12. If it were possible what could overcome some of these problems?
More effective "marketing" of the immense potential benefits of such co-operation.
Better knowledge through "selling" of the services and facilities available for education and training in the various Vocational Education Institutions.
Offering specialist support services in special skill areas, such as setting up a machine tool workshop, to enterprises at little or no expense, to excite their interest.
The Government providing realistic and attractive incentives to Enterprises and Educational Institutions to foster co-operation such as tax rebate incentives for Enterprises, special capital allocations to "deserving" educational institutions for acquisition of required machinery and equipment.
The Government promulgating statutes that will compel Enterprises (of a particular minimum status based on size and type of operation) to participate in work experience schemes for students of vocational education. More importantly, the strict enforcement of such statutes is critical!
13. What are the attitudes of the students to such cooperation ?
The current lackadaisical attitude of students may not be unconnected with the rather weak co-operation that exists.
Most students, over time, have observed the rather loose way in which the co-operation is practised. Thus, many take a work experience opportunity as a means of earning some money rather than as a major supplement to their training.
Quite a number of students have a commendably positive attitude towards the co-operation only to be let down by unfulfilled expectations in terms of challenges provided and quality of supervision during work experience attachments.
14. In your judgement what benefits do your students gain from this co-operation?
From the Employers' perspectives, those of the students whom we take on now do benefit immensely by way of skills and knowledge upgrading through practical experience. Also, they benefit from being in an environment of the real world of work which impacts on their attitudes.
15. What co-operation among technical and vocational centres in close proximity could be given that would promote and assist this co-operation between technical and vocational institutions and enterprises?
Such centres in close proximity should have close cooperation for purposes of synergy in terms of equipment and skills and experience sharing. Also, rather than making individual requests to enterprises, there could be a rationalisation of the groups' requests, thus enabling optimal and meaningful, positive responses.
16. What training of teachers and training of trainers is necessary for this co-operation to be established and maintained?
Teachers and trainers require "train the trainer" skills to enhance the delivery of their primary assignment as trainers. This is a separate skill requirement, different from their speciality (technical) area.
More strategically, they require an appreciation of the broader aspects of their role as "producers" of technicians and technical experts to the "customers" -Enterprises, the National economy. Thus, a customer services orientation is required, that is, aligning their training efforts with current and anticipated "market" requirements.
Periods of attachment of trainers (key personnel only) to Industry and Enterprises could be useful to enhance appreciation of the working and business environment and thus improve the ability to design and deliver relevant technical training programmes.
17. What organisational procedures would need to be implemented to make it work?
Setting up a small section in the Ministry of Education or the National Board for Technical Education to draw up what training is required for trainers, to monitor and ensure that such training is received with appropriate facilities, and to be given the authority for taking necessary action.
18. What other institutions could assist in the process, such as the government, unions, universities, chambers of manufacturers etc. ?
The Industrial Training Fund, Employers' Associations, Universities, Management Consultancies - all these can be engaged to provide and facilitate the required training.
19. Is it possible for technical and vocational institutions to establish small business enterprises to increase their understanding of business?
It is possible. The challenge, however, is for such a small business enterprise to survive and produce learning opportunity over time, it must be properly run by managers with requisite skills and not by Technical Training educators.
20. What sources of money could be tapped to assist the establishing and maintaining of this co-operation?
Money could be tapped from:
· Government - directly through budgetary vote, or indirectly through derivation from contribution made by Enterprises to the Industrial Training fund.
· Enterprises - through their Chambers of Commerce. An "enlightened self interest" perspective can be used to elicit their support.