|School Enterprises: Combining Vocational Learning with Production (UNEVOC, 1998, 64 p.)|
|3. Conclusions and Guidelines|
A basic principle of school enterprise is the careful balancing of educational outcomes and the economic output. The case studies represent examples of the balance that has been reached, giving adequate attention to market, enterprise, profit and income-generating capacity while, at the same time, acknowledging the primacy of imparting related specialised technical and general competencies (knowledge, skills, attitudes and values) directly linked to employment.
School enterprises can be roughly classified in terms of those that
1. give priority to economic goals;
2. give priority to educational goals; and
3. those that attempt to reach a balance between economic and educational considerations.
Placing priority on economic goals
The economic and financial situation of many school enterprises may require that priority be given to production goals. The recruitment of instructors from enterprises and the resulting socialisation problems concerning patterns of thinking and behaviour can also bring about a situation in which school enterprises are dominated by economic considerations. The pressure exerted by the partner enterprises to achieve specific market goals with the help of the school enterprise may be another factor that creates a situation in which economic considerations may dominate. In some of the Chinese examples there is a growing tendency to employ professional workers in addition to students in order to meet the quality demands of the market.
Placing priority on educational goals
On the other hand, the learning climate in a school enterprise, the prevalence of curricula and examinations, and the socialisation of teaching staff (recruited from higher education institutions) can bring about a situation in which learning dominates while production is neglected. There are, however, only a few examples which indicate this trend.
Balance between economic and educational considerations
Case studies have shown that most school enterprises have evolved diverse approaches to reaching a balance between economic, financial and educational goals. For example, in Indian case studies, some school enterprises have adopted the notion of the semi-commercial enterprise. According to this notion, the training of students is given priority in the management of school enterprises. In normal circumstances, the school enterprises would gain some profit, which is good in itself. Yet the pursuit of profit is not taken as the major purpose of such enterprises as it would interfere with the fundamental goal of training students.
In the Indonesian example, the outcome is separation of training and market production. In this variation, the balance between economic and educational consideration can be reached when the schools production unit produces the quantity that can be sold in the market, whereas the teaching workshop produces the quantity (for market and internal needs of the school) that is required for teaching and practising. Production for the market is used as a vehicle to reach the complete learning goals, i.e., a learning situation is created that exists in the context of genuine production for the market - one that is conducive to learning complex behavioural patterns, gathering relevant experience and dealing with it in an abstract, reflexive manner.
The challenge of the Botswana Brigades is also to find ways to optimise production while providing training opportunities. Since some repetitive production processes lose their training value very quickly, some Brigades have hired permanent production workers to handle routine jobs. Trainees participate only in tasks where the training benefit is high.