|The Transition from Technical and Vocational Schools to Work: Problems, Current Efforts and Innovative Approaches and Measures for Improving the Transition - Trends and Issues in Technical and Vocational Education 2 (UNESCO, 1983, 100 p.)|
This final report of the Unesco Symposium on Problems of Transition from Technical and Vocational Schools to Work relates the discussions of the symposium itself and summarizes the essential information from the country reports provided by participating Member States.
The contents of this report are drawn primarily from the country reports, with supplementary information from the symposium's initial summary (Appendix 3) and certain working papers provided to participants.
The Unesco Revised Recommendation on Technical and Vocational Education (Appendix 1) provided important guidance to the formation of the report in terms of basic principles and elements which are intended to assist Member States as they seek to resolve problems surrounding the topic of technical and vocational education.
Seventeen countries participated in the symposium, representing a cross section of developing nations, industrialized nations and those in the centre of the scale. In size, they ranged from the island nation of Barbados to the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. Political, social and government make-up was highly diverse, as can be seen from the following listing of participating countries: Algeria, Australia, Barbados, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Ethiopia, France, German Democratic Republic, Federal Republic of Germany, India, Iraq, Nigeria, Senegal, Sudan, Sweden, Thailand, Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, United States of America.
The country reports were designed to inform participants of developments in technical and vocational education in the respective country, with a view to facilitating the exchange of information and discussion at the symposium on the subject of transition from technical and vocational schools to work. Guidelines provided by the Unesco Secretariat for the development of the country report requested the following of the country reports:
1. Overall structure of the country's education system and the place of technical and vocational education, including teacher training, within that country. Papers were also to reveal overall policy-making and planning for technical and vocational education; research and curriculum development and methods for the collection and dissemination of information; coordination mechanisms between in- and out-of-school programmes, including linkages with manpower planning and employment in general; and the structure of the vocational and educational guidance programme, whether established within or outside the system of education.
2. Organizational measures taken by the reporting country to facilitate the transition from technical and vocational schools to work, including manpower surveys; co-ordinating mechanisms with industry; work-study arrangements; physical placement of schools in relation to employment demand; and follow-up systems after graduation or the completion of schooling.
3. Methods and their content as utilized in relation to vocational guidance, as well as steps taken to increase the relevancy of curriculum and teaching to employment; and discussion of research undertaken to increase the employment opportunities for graduates of vocational and technical schools.
4. Teaching staff, including identification of whether separate guidance teachers are employed and if so, how they are trained; use of teachers from business and industry on a part-time basis; and the extent of the involvement of teachers in co-ordination and co-operation between schools and employers during the transition period.
5. Conclusions regarding the major achievement of the country on the problems of transition from technical and vocational schools to work, with indication of drawbacks and difficulties encountered and the actions planned to offset them.
In general, the country reports followed the suggested format. Thus, it was possible to review all available reports in a reasonably consistent manner for the purposes of preparing this report. Where there are significant variances from the suggested format, no attempt is made to speculate as to what the report might have stated. Each report is respected for its individual integrity and is accepted as factual. Where data or information are insufficient to secure findings from a given country report, none are provided in this report. For more specific study, the country reports are available through Unesco, Paris, or from the ERIC Clearinghouse for Vocational, Career and Adult Education at the Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, United States of America. The latter are available in microfiche form.
The purpose of this report is to synthesize and summarize essential information from the country reports, the initial summary of symposium discussions, and other documents related to the symposium under three major subheadings, each representing a chapter of the report, as follows: (a) nature and scope of the problem; (b) current efforts and innovative approaches; (c) measures for improving the transition.
In the case of the first two of the above topical subheadings, information is displayed in country-by-country synthesis. Chapter 2, 'Nature and Scope of the Problem', provides, in addition to listing the ten most commonly found problems, a brief country-by-country synthesis of the most important problems faced in dealing with the transition from technical and vocational schools to work. Chapter 3, likewise, provides country-by-country synthesis. In this case, the summaries are more extensive and treat four subtopics in some depth for each reporting country. Chapter 4, 'Measures for Improving the Transition', is a more general treatment, with occasional country references or citations. Seven subtopics are reviewed which represent areas of promise for improving the transition. Finally, a brief chapter of conclusions is offered.
The subject of this report - and of the symposium, the country reports, and other related documents - is among the most critical of those facing educators, researchers, planners, administrators, officials of industry and business, and government officials today: the transition from technical and vocational schools to work. While there is considerable variety among nations as to specific problems and their causes and possible solutions, it can be stated with certainty that the problem of transition from school to work is a pervasive global concern with far-reaching economic and social consequences. Demographics, social values, economics and geography all contribute to the complexity of the issue. These factors vary considerably among nations. Yet there are several common areas of concern and interest, some having the appearance of being completely mutual among otherwise different and diverse nations. It is in these areas of mutuality that there may be promise for multilateral solutions. It is worth while here to strengthen this point by repeating five of the most significant results of the symposium discussions.
As reported in the initial summary of symposium discussions (Appendix 3), there was general consensus on the following:
The general education and training process of a nation has great influence on the importance and role of the technical-vocational education process and system. To be truly effective, technical-vocational education must be conceived of and practised as an integral part of the overall education system of a country.
Lack of qualified teaching and guidance staff and a concomitant problem of inadequate in-service training programmes or facilities for technical teachers exacerbates other structural and organizational problems related to the school to work transition.
The attraction of students to vocational and technical education programmes of schools is clearly a world-wide and transition-related problem. Lack of early exploration of the work site by young students and weak guidance and counselling programmes are important contributing factors.
Special populations of current and potential workers, including women and young girls, migrant workers, the physically and mentally handicapped and those with language limitations represent a visible international problem related both to generic technical-vocational education as well as to transition from schooling to work.
New attention is necessary with respect to the importance of the basic learning skills - reading, writing and communication, and factoring with numbers - as fundamental learning blocks upon which good vocational-technical education should be based. This is often referred to as the 'vocationalization' of general education.
These five statements represent only a few of the issues, sub-problems and related concerns which affect, either directly or indirectly, how educators, governments, parents, students, employers, industry and business and communities - or entire nations - will deal with the problem of transition from school to work over the next ten years or more. It is to be hoped that this report, and the symposium and country reports which it aims to summarize, will offer a few answers - and, perhaps more important, some new and valuable ideas - which will contribute to the progressive resolution of this pervasive, international problem.