|School Enterprises: Combining Vocational Learning with Production (UNEVOC, 1998, 64 p.)|
|1. Key Issues and Hypotheses|
In the following, a conceptual framework is proposed that will enable us to map out a wide variety of experiences in different systems and institutions on the basis of certain indicators. The notion of school enterprises will be seen as part of a broader educational methodology of providing educational experiences which links the teaching-learning process with the world of work, so that students not only gain relevant skills, knowledge and attitudes and values, but also the necessary hands-on experience to apply these competencies in introducing goods and services.
The conceptual framework for analysing school enterprises includes two fields or contexts working and learning. Education and training form part of the broader domain of learning, whereas productive enterprise forms part of the world of work. Each domain has its own characteristics and typical sets of activities. The major focus in combining the two domains lies in using productive enterprises as instruments to reinforce and enhance systematic and reflective learning, and for the sake of improving the relevance of education for later employment and self-employment as well as for sustainable socio-economic development of local communities and regions.
Although it is commonplace to refer to education in terms of activities aimed at acquiring general knowledge, attitudes and values, and the term training to the acquisition of occupational or job-related skills, the division needs to be seen as a purely analytical one as the two are interrelated dimensions within the domain of learning. Recent studies have shown that education and training or technically specialised job related skills and general skills cannot be isolated from one another as both are necessary for successful work performance.13
13 Singh. M, 1996
The notion productive enterprise goes beyond productive activities in a narrow sense, i.e. which stipulate as the only condition that the volume of the goods and services produced by the students is to be substantial. Where the specific term productive enterprise is used, it is meant to cover those work activities, such as production process, organising, planning, designing, marketing etc., aimed at generating goods or services that have economic, social and pedagogical value. Only those productive activities in the context of educational establishments fall in the category of school enterprises where there is a shared conviction about their pedagogical value and their economic necessity. The income generating aspect of educational establishments is to be seen as enhancing the learning potential of learners and as a focus of reflective learning.
The notion of school enterprise is illustrative of a location in which an educational or training institution is, at one and the same time, an undertaking related to the world of work. The training institute or school may be a public institution or one run by a non-governmental agency. Some of the non-formal institutions may be quite highly formalised. The concept school enterprise entails the combination of learning and production at several stages, such as the education and training stage, the production stage and the enterprise stage.
The notion of school enterprises is an approach to learning involving an organised and direct interaction between the development of knowledge, skills, and attitudes and values (competencies) on the one hand, and the production enterprise on the other. The subject is involved in both processes and there is some degree of planned and intentional interaction between them. The above view of school enterprises however does not imply that a planned introduction of an element of productive work automatically leads to the involvement of trainees in vocational learning and training.