|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.)|
by M. WALLENBORN
Dr Manfred Wallenborn heads the department "Vocational and Technical Education and Training in the Industrial Sector" of the Industrial Occupations Promotion Centre (ZGB) in Mannheim. This centre is part of the German Foundation for International Development (DSE).
(1) General Information
Charged by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Co-operation and Development (BMZ) the "Industrial Occupations Promotion Centre (ZGB)" carries out dialogue and training programmes for experts and executives of Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) from developing countries.
The programmes are carried out in the Federal Republic of Germany and in the partner countries. In its activities ZGB distinguishes between three levels of experts in TVET for which it offers relevant programmes. These are:
· the implementation level: teachers and trainers receive further technical and vocation-specific pedagogic training in the vocational fields of metalworking, automotive and electrical engineering as well plumbing by ZGB.
· the management and planning level: here ZGB offers foreign-language programmes for vocational education planners, school principals, vocational education counsellors, curriculum and personnel developers.
· the policy-makers level: with this target group from ministries, large vocational training institutions, chambers and associations of industry, ZGB holds dialogue meetings to facilitate an exchange of experience on fundamental questions of TVET and, where it becomes apparent, deduces a potential need for upgrading of skills.
ZGB is divided into three Departments, which are named after the essential learning-places of TVET. These are:
· Department 61 "Education in Vocational Schools",
· Department 62 "Vocational Training in the Industrial Sector"
· Department 63 "Vocational Training in the Crafts and Service Sector".
Annually about 1,100 guests participate in the further training programmes of the "Industrial Occupations
Promotion Centre" in the Federal Republic of Germany and in partner countries.
(2) Outline of the Seminar
ZGB and UNEVOC, the project for vocational education of UNESCO, organised a meeting on TVET with policy-makers from Asian and African countries from May 2 to 12, 1995. ZGB invited the 13 Asian participants to Mannheim for the first week of the seminar, UNEVOC carried out the first week of the seminar in Berlin for the nine African participants. The programme structure for the second week of the seminar, during which the Asian and African participants held joint meetings in Berlin, was mapped out jointly by ZGB and UNEVOC.
The following report concentrates on the Asian group invited by ZGB. The documentation makes essential statements on:
· the objectives and the contents of the seminar
· the events scheduled and the results as well as
· the perspectives of further co-operation between ZGB and the participating partner countries after the seminar.
The countries participating were: China, India and Indonesia (two experts each), Malaysia and the Philippines (one expert each), Sri Lanka and Thailand (two experts each) as well as Vietnam (one expert). For ZGB the purpose of the seminar was to pursue the following objectives:
· to familiarise participants during the first week, by way of examples, with the structures and the mode of operation of co-operative systems of initial vocational training in the Federal Republic of Germany, so that
· possible adaptations and improvements of their own TVET systems would become more transparent to the participants, and
· as a result of a problem analysis of the TVET systems of the partner countries participating, the facets of a potential need for further education during the second week could be spelled out more precisely, which could in turn be translated into appropriate programmes by ZGB.
In connection with the documentation submitted further statements are made in particular on the third objective and its resultant fields of action.
The objectives of the seminar were pursued during the first week for the Asian participants by the following contents: during the first four days the Dual System with its individual elements was presented. After an introduction, the second and third day were devoted to a visit to the two learning places of the Dual System - a large company and a vocational school. During the afternoons the experiences gained during the visits in the morning were passed in review and further clarified. While discussing the company-related aspects the presence of the Manager heading the Department of "Personnel Training" of the firm visited in the morning proved to be beneficial. In the opinion of those responsible for the programme his inputs are important in this context, since they contain implicit aspects of TVET policy which might be of interest for the participants in handling systematic options for their TVET systems.
The relevant five theses as presented by Dipl. - Ing. J. Iwanowitsch, Head of Training of the Freudenberg Co., will be presented more in detail under Section 4.2 (page 113).
Against this background, the second week of the seminar was to elaborate an outline of possible solutions for the problems of vocational education and training in the partner countries. Thus, after two days of joint discussions between the African and Asian participants, region-specific working groups were set up; their objectives were:
· as a first step to sketch in more detail the core problems of TVET systems in the participating partner countries, so that thereafter
· the essential areas for country-adapted solutions could be identified which could be supported by training programmes of ZGB.
(3) Core Problems in the TVET Systems of Asian Countries
After intensive discussions in the working groups five main problems took concrete shape. These five essential problems can be further differentiated into individual dimensions. The participants of the Asian group specified
· financing problems of vocational education and training,
· management and implementation problems of educational measures,
· labour market and employment problems,
· lack of co-operation among possible providers of education, and
· the absence of an adequate infrastructure.
For all problem areas farther multi-layered differentiations can be made which are of different importance in the participating countries.
Particularly under the central topic of the seminar - cooperation between public and private providers of training - the participants complained that in most countries the institutions of TVET within the formal field of education - more often than not - must be supported entirely by the state, because the private sector is not willing to make funds available.
Consequently, the state is mostly left with the sole responsibility for TVET. It is obvious that sophisticated educational offers in fields of technical occupations tie up a lot of public funds (Bolina 1994). On account of their objectives of educational and social policy, developing countries endeavour to create - wherever possible- nation-wide education systems. Since funds are scarce, however, this is done at the expense of TVET Centres with a sufficiently high quality level.
This problem is also felt in the private sector. For a variety of reasons companies lack the financial funds for vocational training. In small firms this can often be attributed to the dearth of capital of the individual companies which restricts their financial leeway. Medium-sized and large companies, which tend to have the necessary financial means, have often not yet grasped the eminent importance which vocational training has for productivity-boosting and quality-enhancing measures.
The same also applies to a possible participation of companies in co-operative forms of training. In Vietnam, for example, only 30% of the costs are borne by the public sector, with the balance being defrayed by private industry, which, as is known, also has to shoulder the bulk of the expenses for the German Dual System. Yet obviously, only very few Vietnamese firms are in a position or willing to assume the costs for such qualification schemes.
3.2 Management and Implementation Problems
A serious problem seemed to be the fact that many training centres are failing to respond to the real needs in their training. Training programmes are offered for occupations for which there is often no demand in the labour market. To compound matters, there is a gender-specific component: many measures are offered which are predominantly taken up by male youngsters while there are no or too few offers for women and girls in their principal areas of activity.
Such a mismatch and such structural shifts are, among other things, attributable to a lack of information on the labour market and the employment system. There is neither any information on the opportunities and perspectives in specific segments of the labour market nor are systematic data, e.g. on the gainful employment of women and their qualification needs, available.
A key role in this core problem is also played by the teaching staff in schools as well as in companies. Their pay is too low and often they have to look for a second occupation which in turn has a detrimental effect on their teaching activities. Moreover, quite often no adequately qualified teachers and instructors are available. Good experts who could assume such tasks in firms and schools tend to migrate into the areas of production where pay prospects are better.
Apart from management problems complaints were voiced about the frequent lack of a policy for TVET. To be precise, it is not accorded the priority in the partner countries which it should receive for the economic and social development of the country. This is also reflected in the renewed explicit mention by the participants of the preference for white-collar jobs in their home countries. A more efficient policy should not only propagate a boosting of the prestige of TVET, but the wage and salary prospects should also become attractive for those who have successfully concluded such training.
3.3 Labour Market and Employment Problems
In the participating partner countries, too, the paradoxical situation arises that on the one hand many job-seekers look in vain for employment, while at the same time in specific segments qualified skilled workers are in demand which cannot be found in the labour market. The explanation lies in the fact that often training was offered in the wrong occupations or that in those occupations which are in demand on the labour market, the training does not meet the requirements of the firms, and that, therefore, graduates who have been trained remote from shop floor practice are not accepted by industry.
As a general trend it is true that there is an increasing demand for labour in industry and the crafts sector. Independent of the fact whether sufficiently qualified skilled workers really can be demanded and recruited through the labour market, another problem continues to exist: the demand for labour does not increase in step with the demographic development and thus is not in line with a very young population offering its productive capacities. In the foreseeable future the number of jobs which are on offer in the modem sectors of industry and the crafts will not be able to solve the employment problem which is a natural corollary of all countries with a very young population seeking employment.
3.4 Lack of Cooperation among Providers of Education
Co-operation in the past between public and private providers of vocational training was described as totally insufficient by the participants. Yet it is not always the same causes that lie at the root of the problem in the various partner countries. However, there is a series of largely typical causes.
In the first place bureaucratic procedures and jurisdictional disputes between public and private authorities were mentioned. In the ultimate analysis this is conditioned by the completely insufficient legislative stimuli to promote co-operative forms of training by the corresponding governments. Conditions such as these gave rise to the demand voiced by the African group of participants that the image and the status of TVET in developing countries must be raised - also and particularly for vocational education and training carried out in co-operation.
The causes of lacking co-operation between private firms and state-operated schools continue from the policy level right to the implementation level: there are no effectively working institutions which could promote, monitor and guide this co-operation.
3.5 Insufficient Infrastructure
The forms of training, but above all the available supplementary equipment and the machinery used for training were described as obsolete. One contributing factor was that there is no adequate maintenance of the machinery and facilities available for training purposes.
Apart from that there is no long-term planning in place for various systems of further training nor for the replacement purchases of the machines and equipment necessary for vocational training.
In the same order as the five most important problem areas in vocational training, the participants developed solutions or possible options in the working groups to solve the problems identified.
(4) Solutions for the Improvement of Vocational Training
4.1 Insufficient Funding
Production schools would be suited to partly solve the budgetary difficulties of the institutions: the sales proceeds of the products manufactured could serve to mitigate the financial bottlenecks of the partner institutions. This possibility was even mentioned before the alternative of taking up loans for an improvement of TVET. An argument that can be advanced against production schools is that the market often has an overbearing influence on the range of vocational training: if only a few easily marketable products are produced no broad-based vocational qualifications can be acquired.
Nevertheless public expenditure for training schemes should be increased by the governments in question, a solution which is admittedly not a viable alternative for many developing nations.
The participants also considered tax incentives and other financial relief to be granted to companies engaged in training: thus the expenses spent by firms on training should either be made tax-deductible or - as in the case of Malaysia where the state has recognised the important function of vocational training for the development of the country - the public sector should shoulder 80% of the costs which companies defray to qualify people.
For particularly disadvantaged target groups scholarships, loans and grants are also deemed to be a viable option.
4.2 Management and Implementation Problems of Training
In this area it is urgent in the opinion of the participants to improve the skills and the knowledge of the teaching staff both in companies and in vocational schools - a task for which ZGB with its continuing education programmes is particularly challenged. Adequate professional organisations - still to be founded - of, let us say, the teaching staff would have to exact a greater commitment from the national authorities in charge of training to cater to such needs.
In general a stronger awareness must be created both for the development of human resources and a more efficient management of TVET so that scarce resources can be better utilised.
Increased promotion of vocational qualification measures needs as a prerequisite better information campaigns at institutions of primary education. It is there, in the opinion of the participants, that in the context of a "stronger industrial orientation" of societies in the partner countries much can be done to raise the prestige of TVET. Furthermore, systematic information on concrete training schemes could be disseminated enabling the young pupils to gain some initial vocational orientation.
4.3 Labour Market and Employment Problems
In order to improve the labour market opportunities of future graduates of vocational training, participants believed that above all an early integration of the industrial sector and its associations into the training measures is necessary. This was specified by the participants as one of the most important forms of cooperation between the state and private industry. This also helps to restructure the contents of existing training schemes: i.e., to have the qualifications profile demanded by companies integrated into the training programmes offered.
In the opinion of participants national and international donors are more willing to support such training schemes, i.e. if they are in line with the shop floor requirements and hence open up the opportunity to those who have undergone training to successfully integrate into the employment system.
In order to solve the labour market and, above all, the employment problems it is also necessary to carry out a greater number of training programmes. If these are carried out in co-operation with private industry then training facilities within the companies frequently have to be revamped.
4.4 Lack of Cooperation
For an improvement of co-operation between public and private providers of TVET it is often necessary to inform and motivate companies more strongly. Besides campaigns aimed at enhancing the prestige of TVET also concrete incentives can be used. Proposals for financial incentives were already made in a previous sub-section.
In addition more chambers of industry should either be founded or strengthened. These could take over responsibility in TVET. As a result more training schemes could be carried out in which the state and industry co-operate with the chambers acting as an additional partner.
Improved co-operation and the inclusion of, e.g., the chambers in the training schemes also calls for the elimination of bureaucratic obstacles. In many instances responsibility for matters of TVET is solely vested with the state authorities which leaves no legal scope for systematic training programmes in the private sector. The dual system of initial vocational training in Germany - according to the judgement of the participants - has assigned the terms of reference in an exemplary way.
If public institutions are expected to be a reliable partner in co-operative qualification schemes they have to rely in many countries on donations from the industrial sector. The machines and equipment as well as teaching aids which are needed for effective training programmes can, in the opinion of the participants, not only be provided by the public sector. Admittedly the available machines and equipment - and hence the entire infrastructure of educational facilities - must receive more careful maintenance. Yet this does not solve the problem that industry as a whole should be exacted to make a greater contribution. Of course, also other
In connection with the existing infrastructure the training capacities should be better planned also in the medium and long term so that existing facilities can be used at an optimum.
(5) Perspectives of Further Co-operation
The participants elaborated multidimensional problem descriptions of their TVET-systems and, in part, of the underlying causes. The five core problems were in turn juxtaposed with five areas/fields of action of potential solutions. The envisaged improvements and the attendant efforts and activities range from national strategies to targeted aid from bilateral or multilateral donors.
This also includes that part of these problems can certainly be tackled with better trained experts of vocational education. It is here that ZGB can bring its activities into full play. The participants mentioned explicitly this need for the upgrading of skills of teaching staff in companies and vocational schools. As already initially mentioned, ZGB cannot confine itself with its programmes to the implementation level of TVET. The problems and weak spots in the TVET-systems of the partner countries are mostly that complex - as was evidenced by the results of the working groups -that a solution can only be attempted with programmes of further training that try to overcome these problems with a holistic approach.
Bolina, P., 1994, Financing Vocational Education and Training in Developing Countries, in: Burk, H., (Ed.), Problems of Financing Vocational Education and Training in Developing Countries, Training and Discussion Papers, ZGB, Mannheim