|School Enterprises: Combining Vocational Learning with Production (UNEVOC, 1998, 64 p.)|
|2. Case Studies|
This section presents case studies of school enterprises from China, India, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Germany, Botswana, Kenya, Ghana, Algeria, Cuba and Costa Rica. Following this, section three draws conclusions from the case studies and offers guidelines for planners and designers of programmes of technical and vocational education.
The separation of education from the world of work and labour which characterised the history of China has been blurred in the last four decades. The introduction of labour and work study into schools as part of the curriculum was an attempt to end the privileged role held by the educated in Chinese society. The part-labour, part-study schools in China initiated during the Communist period was the earliest driving force behind the movement combining learning with production. However, pragmatic economic concerns following requirements of personal survival, educational expansion and providing the modern workforce needed to modernise the country soon became equally important.14 During the past 40 years the work-study programmes in Chinese schools have been making a transition to a variety of school enterprises which now serve primarily the vocational needs of the students, while at the same time providing much needed financing for Chinese schools. The burgeoning economic opportunities in China, coupled with increased school autonomy to develop new programmes, provide schools with the opportunities to greatly expand the work-study element. By the mid-1980s, the term school enterprises was being used by some in place of work-study as the economic activities of the school were expanded, and as the enterprises became more dependent on full-time employees in addition to further training of student labour. Today, they consist of factories, farms, construction companies, and a wide range of service businesses.
14 Zachariah, M. and Hoffman, A., 1984
Jinsong Vocational Senior Middle School in Beijing
The Jinsong Vocational Senior Middle School15 in Beijing has a school-run restaurant. The students are junior-middle-school graduates. During the three years, the pupils are trained in the theory and practice of Chinese cooking in addition to the general courses of the senior middle school. There is a cooking laboratory to start their practical training under the guidance of teachers. The cooked food is eaten by the students and teachers at a discount rate. There is a school-run restaurant for profit. The third-year students are expected to cook in the restaurant. There are no professional cooks. The cooking is done solely by the students under the supervision of the teachers. This constitutes a higher level training upon completion of which they usually find a job. Since there is a constant change in chefs, the quality of food is not stable. Nevertheless, the restaurant is well patronised. Half the profit is retained by the school and the other half is used for professional courses and laboratory practice. Since the government budget for the school is small and not likely to increase, the school fills the gaps in budget and expenditure.
15 Senior middle schools are of a duration of two to four years, after completion of junior middle school. Students are between the ages of 15 and 18.
Secondary Vocational School of Nangong County, Hebei Province
The school has set up a mushroom-species breeding base and a mushroom cultivation base. These bases not only provide mushroom species to the local farmers but also teach them mushroom cultivating techniques in short term courses. In addition, a school-run factory producing canned mushrooms was built through loans. The raw mushrooms are purchased from the farmers and, after being processed in the factory, are sold in the market. Thus a chain of production is set up from farmers homes to school, factory and market. The farmers attain a higher profit than those who have not joined this chain of production. The students are graduates of the junior middle school. During their three-year study at the vocational school, half the time is devoted to learning the general courses required in an ordinary senior middle school.
Xianyang Machine Tool Technical School
This is a secondary technical school, whose aim is the training of skilled workers and technicians. While providing practical training, such a factory has regular professional workers and fixed kinds of products. The factory is run by the school, and it ensures that the productive activities in the factory match the curriculum. The factory-just as other regular factories - can receive investments and loans. In order to support such a school enterprise, the government has a special preferential tax cut of 50%, on the condition that 60% of the profit is used for expanding and improving teaching facilities. 1,500 students are enrolled in this technical school. Students are graduates of lower middle schools and study for four years. The school has laboratories to complement theoretical teaching. The factory produces universal and tool-grinding machines. There is a teaching staff numbering 574. The school possesses 500 major machines. The annual output is 200 grinding machines. The profit in 1988 was 464,000 yuan.
As regards the curriculum, there are 20 weeks of practical training during four years. Basic skills such as that of a litter are taught in separate learning workshops. Practice in operations takes place under the supervision of experienced instructors. During their training, students can finish part of the production, but the finishing work is done by employed professional workers in order to reach the precision and quality specified on the blueprint.
The Baofengsi Secondary Forestry School
The Baofengsi Secondary Forestry School in the mountainous areas of Zhuolu county, Hebei province, aims to improve the yield of almonds by imparting skills in scientific management. The trainees have a middle school education. The school has a school-run orchard. The school transmits scientific theory plus practice in grafting, pruning, biological and chemical knowledge in order to prevent and eradicate plant diseases and insect pests. Since most students have farms at home they can apply the techniques from school to their homes. Students bring to school the problems they face in their own orchards at home. For those who have no orchards at home, the school provides loans to set up one. The combination of study and management brings quick economic benefits. The amount of almonds produced is greater than that produced by the local farmers. Students come not only from local areas but also from far-away villages. For these students, sandwich courses are prepared, allowing the students to study at school for a period of one month and then go back home. The school has provided technical service to 17 villages in the area.
Guangzhou School No. 38
The school was established in 1957 as a junior secondary school. In 1970, the senior secondary component was added. In 1982, it was converted from its general secondary status to a mono-vocational garment school. It has 1000 students enrolled, taught by 115 faculty and staff. The junior level classes maintain their general school academic curriculum, while the senior secondary level provides nine academic subjects in addition to vocational training. The vocational training includes required courses in management, design, and manufacturing in the garment industry; and graduation requirements include a demonstration of design and planning skills and a public display of the students work. School 38 does well in national garment competitions and the fashion team regularly holds fashion shows in Guangzhou.
The school enterprises are directly related to the vocational focus of the school. The schools enterprise is a factory which provides the students with directly applicable experiences and a chance to work in the clothing business. Its original purpose was combining theory and practice. In 1994, it expanded its product line to include a variety of current fashions and a number of jeans products. In addition to students, the enterprise employs 36 workers.
While the focus of the enterprise serves the educational interest of the school well, the enterprise is not always profitable as it suffers from a shortage of marketable products as well as competition from foreign businesses which produce garments more efficiently. There is also a need for investment capital to update old equipment.
Guangzhou School No. 6
This school was founded in 1937 and is one of the four key schools in Guangzhou. It has 1900 students, 300 of whom are residential. Audio-visual and science facilities as well as computers form an important part of the teaching aids. The school prides itself in the success of its graduates, most of whom go on to tertiary institutions.
The current curriculum requires the students to take vocational skills subjects each year. These include typing, mechanical knowledge, industrial arts, basic computers, Chinese word-processing and mechanical drawing. Work-study has not been thoroughly incorporated into the curriculum. There are plans being made to incorporate students into the factories, both for appreciation of labour and for job skills. However, there is some ambivalence about these plans, because time spent in work orientation means less time for the academic study necessary for university admission.
The school-established factories complement the subjects taught. There was a heavy student involvement in the early years. However, in the early 1980s, the reduction of student hours in the factories began, and full-time workers were employed. In 1994, the factories consisted of two separate printing facilities and a chemical facility. The printing facilities printed the official envelopes and papers for the post office and tickets for the public transportation system. The chemical facility worked in conjunction with an electrical research facility in Guangzhou where products are developed and exported to the Republic of Korea. The chemical facility was moved several miles away from the school because of the use of toxic chemicals and the concern for environmental standards.
In 1994, these factories employed about 60 technicians, engineers and skilled workers, and six managers. The profits from the factories totalled 1,000,000 yuan and provided 50% of the schools operating funds, equal to the amount provided by the government to run the school. The money was used for staff benefits and salaries, for facility repairs and upgrades, for educational equipment, and for reinvestment in the enterprise.
School Enterprises in Vocational Secondary Schools
The establishment of school enterprises at the vocational secondary level (classes IX and X) in India needs to be seen as an attempt to evolve from prevocational options of broad vocational relevance to job-specific training introducing goods and services for the market.
The Education Commission (1964-1966) recommended vocationalisation of secondary education (upper and lower). The National Policy on Education (1986 and 1992) gave renewed emphasis to the introduction of vocational education programme in classes IX and X. The significant purpose of vocational education programme (VEP) in classes IX and X is to provide students with professional skills which are required in the economy. 70% of the time available is devoted to vocational theory and skill training. Apart from the practical subjects in laboratories and training workshops at the institution, it is planned that strong school-industry linkages develop so that students of vocational courses get an exposure to real work situations in the industry. Highly skilled professionals are invited to schools to teach practical subjects to vocational students. There is provision for on-the-job training in the evenings during the summer vacations at the end of class XI.
Under the existing vocational education programme (VEP), infrastructure facilities have been provided for training in vocational skills. These same facilities are going to be used for the school enterprise after ensuring that they are relevant to the operation of school enterprises. With these minimum facilities, the school enterprise is expected to generate its own resources in future. Raw materials are provided through the centrally sponsored scheme. Students learn the skills in the training workshop-cum-productive enterprise, and gain experience in the marketing of products and services.
In the design and organisation of the programme, many parties are given responsibilities. These include the PSS Central Institute of Vocational Education, responsible for providing guidelines on the establishment of school enterprises and overall design and co-ordination; the State Ministries of Education, responsible for implementation and academic support; the District Vocational Education Committee (DVEC) including officials from government departments dealing with health, electricity, rural development, backward classes, finance, employment and human resources; and finally, employers organisations and community organisations involved in providing essential services. The DVEC takes appropriate steps to promote school-industry linkage, assesses the strength and weaknesses, and suggests remedial measures.
The DVEC has been assigned the task of playing a leading role in devising industry-school partnerships for rural development. As massive investment in activities is going to take place in the areas of rural housing, watershed management, fisheries, agriculture wasteland development, floriculture, food processing, domestic appliances and communication, the school enterprises are expected to exploit these opportunities in two ways:
1. by bringing in new vocations into the system of vocational training and matching these to the needs in rural areas;
2. by acting as one of the bidders for taking up various appropriate jobs from these investment opportunities.
These are expected to be accomplished by appropriate linkages and networking with various governmental and non-governmental agencies such as IRDP (Integrated Rural Development Programmes), TRYSEM (Training Rural Youth for Self-Employment) and KVIC (Khadi and Village Industries Commission).
The PSS Central Institute of Vocational Education is an apex institute which provides technical support to states and schools introducing vocational courses. It has developed 80 competency based vocational curricula in agriculture, business and commerce, engineering and technology, health and paramedicin, home science, and humanities at the higher secondary school stage. Currently, over 150 vocational courses are being offered under the centrally sponsored scheme in different states in India.
In operationalising the concept of school enterprises, the following parameters have been taken into consideration: production activities and services are selected within the broad area of VEP on the basis of assessment of community and market needs; management of production activities include the procurement of raw materials, processing and marketing; regulating the mode of sharing the gains and losses of the activities. This is undertaken to act both as an incentive to attract and motivate teachers and students, and to ensure that a self-sustaining process within the school system is set in motion.
With regard to the implementation of the school-run enterprise programme, a critical area of attention is the autonomy in decision making and the role of different agencies at state level as facilitators rather than supervisors or checkers.
The school enterprises manage/operate through the School Vocational Education Committee consisting of the principal/vice-principal as the chairperson, the teachers concerned, and 2 to 3 members of the community including representatives of the PTA (Parent Teachers Association), industry and government agencies. In addition, the person responsible for accounting and storekeeping in the school and one student representative for each vocation may be co-opted onto this committee.
The School Vocational Education Committee is responsible for approving jobs, training teachers, ensuring the availability of raw materials, giving all needed support, publicising the activities and creating new markets, evaluating the completed projects and monitoring the running of school enterprises, ensuring the quality of production and services, ensuring proper running and maintenance, developing the mechanism of proper economic disposal of unsold rejected items, comparing performance indices to enhance productivity. Finally, this committee will report on the activities to the higher authorities and create, in general, a healthy climate for the survival of the enterprises. It has also been proposed that co-operation and co-ordination should be developed with different vocational institutions in the neighbourhood which run school enterprises with regard to the exchange of experience, fixing of rates for services and establishing codes/ ethics to be observed.
Students and teachers operating a school enterprise make up the working group. Monitoring is a joint function of the working group and the School Vocational Education Committee.
Under the centrally sponsored scheme on vocationalisation of secondary education, every school running VEP receives a financial assistance of 200,000 rupees per course of which 100,000 rupees is used for the construction of work sheds, and the other 100,000 for provision of equipment/workshop and laboratory facilities.
For purchasing raw materials and making the required working capital available, especially in the initial years, several channels are to be tapped. The ultimate objective is self-sufficiency at the earliest, and surplus generation for future growth and development. Working capital resources include, in order of priority, advances from customers, raw materials from customers, shares/equity from teachers and students, loans from the parent teachers association or school funds, loans from commercial and co-operative banks, seed money from state governments, project-based state government funding schemes, and any other resources based on business norms.
In its guidelines for school enterprises, the Central Institute of Vocational Education has recommended that production for the market should have pedagogical benefits: being an additional source of understanding of appropriate concepts such as profit and loss. The detailed costing and pricing of the job is part of an educational exercise. Costing in engineering enterprises includes: record labour rates for the chosen activity, prepare estimation of cost of various products possible with the given skill, compare with market rates, match job orders to the available time and human resources, prepare job cards, collect advance from the client to cover material cost, keep records of time, machine and labour, work out estimated delivery, prepare final cost and bills, review and document. Costing services (individual or within the premise) include: solicit or obtain request for service, choose students for the above, discuss and complete requirements with clients, visit the site and finalise the service required, prepare and estimate, finalise the date of service, get an advance covering materials in cost and kind, provide the service, receive payments, review and document. Costing in agriculture production includes: working out the cost of production of possible crops, selection of crops, maintenance of records of inputs and costs, estimation of profit or loss, economic review of the above sales and harvest operations, and recording standard of performance.
In the cost analysis of products/service, 10% of all direct costs such as labour, material, energy (power rating) as well as depreciation and maintenance (fixed by the teacher) is to be included.16 The use of school infrastructure facilities may be made available to students for commercial activity at a nominal rental fee.
16 See Verma, A. P., 1996
Surplus from sales is the amount left over after subtracting the expenditure on raw materials and utilities. The surplus is distributed as follows: 25% school fund, 15% maintenance, 15% as separate account for development of the school enterprise, 45% for students, 10% for teachers, 2% for attendants, 1% each for the accountant, vice-principal and principal respectively.
Technical experts are drawn from industry, professional institutions including laboratories and universities, and from among manufactures in local small-scale enterprises. Technical aids include manuals, journals, and lectures by technical experts. State or regional testing laboratories are responsible for quality control. The basic idea of technical support is to encourage the students to innovate and experiment with creative ideas. The staff are given re-orientation courses in different institutions where they can get hands-on experience and exposure to marketing/commercial and professional functions.
Service Production Centre, Vigyan Ashram at Pabal, Pune
The Service Production Centre in Pabal, Pune, is an education-cum-production unit attached to a vocational secondary school. The primary objectives of incorporating enterprise into the secondary vocational school are improving the relevance of education, making the school a viable economic unit and promoting entrepreneurship by creating confidence among its students that they can run a profitable enterprise. Vocational education includes teaching how to operate in the open market and make the production unit viable. However, as the educational institution is primarily a learning place, the aim is to promote a work culture and business environment rather than judging the school in terms of the volume of profits alone. The idea is that the vocational training institution should work like an industry. Only in this way is it possible to create a real life situation. The underlying assumption is that modern skills cannot be well developed in schools until the prevailing ethos of the latter is that which is required for vocational preparation.
In the initial stages, there are obvious constraints of operating an educational institution as a commercial unit; for example, the overheads of education such as salaries of teachers cannot be borne by school production. Therefore the school has adopted the concept of a semi-commercial enterprise. This concept has been proposed in order to separate the educational functions from the productive functions and to give its students a greater opportunity to experiment and innovate. Only when the school enterprise becomes an economically viable unit will the management of the school be included in commercial operation.
The staff remain alert and up to date, bring new opportunities to light and encourage entrepreneurship. All enterprises in the region have been started by ex-students. Many of the staff members have left to start their own enterprises because their stay has given them the confidence. Staff members setting up their own enterprises is not seen by the management and students as a loss to the institution. Instead, it is regarded as setting a good example for others to start their own enterprises. Instructors receive their training at the Service and Production Centre, Pune.
A wide variety of products and services are provided by the Vigyan Ashram. These include dairy and agricultural products (poultry, eggs, broilers) and breeding goats. Technical services include electronics, production of ERM instruments, workshop fabrication, water resource management, rural laboratory, mechanical bullock, publications, and rural business centre.
For over 9 years, the vocational training school has run broiler farms where students invest their own money and, after completion of the course, get a share of the profits in proportion to their investments. Many of them start their own poultry farms.
Entrepreneurial success is most marked in the field of fabrication workshop. Other branches have not been as successful. Nonetheless, more students start poultry farms than fabrication workshops. Ex-students show very little interest in agriculture as it is difficult to successfully operate as a commercial enterprise. The production of fodder crops has however been consistently making good profits. A dairy can also be run as a semi-commercial enterprise with a steady turnover. But, like agriculture, it is not glamorous and does not attract students. The artificial insemination services for goats is another regular but low volume semi-commercial enterprise.
Novel services include vertical electrical sounding. This method has been one of the most popular and unique agricultural services, of strategic value to the rural area. Each test costs 1000 rupees. Two of the staff members have set up their own enterprises in the neighbourhood. The rural laboratory, giving medical diagnostic service, has been operating on a no profit no loss basis for about 6-7 years and has a net surplus of about 300 rupees per month. The sum is not large but the service is appreciated by the farmers. It is not good for income generation. It has a regular stream of girls coming for training. The geodesic dome is being run as a commercial enterprise by a single student. In the construction section, there is a consistent demand for boys to build geodesic domes. This is, however, not being taken up by the school, but passed on to ex-students who have become contractors. It difficult to organise this enterprise because the service requires staying outdoors for extended periods. But it has tremendous potential.
In the vocational secondary schools located in the vicinity of the Vigyan Ashram, the services are predominantly workshop services. The incorporation of services such as electrical, water prospecting and agriculture depends on the interest shown by the instructors. Sometimes they have to be motivated through incentives to conduct courses in rearing poultry.
The value of services provided vary from school to school depending on the interest taken by the instructors. The non-grant expenditure comes from locally generated funds, i.e. those paid for by the community. The learning-cum-production workshops of the Vigyan Ashram as well as those in the neighbouring vocational secondary schools have been able to reach a level where roughly 1/4 to 1/2 of the total expenditure comes from locally generated funds.
The production-cum-training centre is a feasible programme for the rural area including the smaller villages of less than 10,000 population. Firstly, it complements the existing vocational education and, secondly, it facilitates the economic development of the region.
According to the head principal, the school enterprises success depends on inculcating an appropriate work culture among the youngsters. Further, he mentioned that the 10 to 5 work day will have to be replaced by longer working hours. The staff should have an incentive system by which they get a core salary and the balance is linked to their productivity. The training of new staff should be an ongoing process, because it is to be expected, that if the centre is successful, many of the staff would leave to start their own enterprises and new staff will have to be trained. There should be a selection process for attracting candidates with an entrepreneurial spirit. Agriculture and animal husbandry are well suited for production with a view to supplementing the income of the institution or reducing the dependence on government support. In this connection, however, suitable top-level management will be necessary to avoid corruption. Though engineering subjects are suited for the service industry, they do not necessarily contribute much to resource generation. Nevertheless, they need to be promoted in order to meet the demand for engineering products and to help in creating new employment opportunities. As a policy measure, such service-production centres are expected to play the role of path-finders rather than compete with small engineering industries in the rural areas.
Production Centre in Shantikunj Ashram, Haridwar
Shantikunj was established in 1969 by Pandit Sri Ram Sharma Acharya, who was an active associate freedom fighter of Mahatma Gandhi. Shantikunj follows the Gandhian philosophy and carries out the prime objective of disciplined modest living, and extends spiritual, moral and financial help to weaker sections of society.
The production centre was basically set up to make the Ashram self-reliant. It comprises of a number of small enterprises in the following trades. Candle making, nara-feeta (thread and silk string), bees wax and honey production, bakery, agarbati (incense sticks), chalk making, bookbinding, rubberstamps, photo lamination, ballpen refill, tailoring, religious thread (janeu), printing press liquid, photography, oil extraction, handloom fabric, papad making (linsen bread).
Small-scale enterprises were set up in Shantikunj in 1986. These enterprises operate on a very modest, low-cost scale and employ services of voluntary workers. The cost of the products include 4 to 6% of the cost of raw materials, electricity and water expenses. The bakery unit is housed in two rooms. The first room has a traditional oven (bhatti). Locally available wood is used as fuel for the oven. The second room is used for pre-cooking preparations.
The breads and biscuits are sold to the inmates and visitors to Shantikunj with a profit of 4 to 6%. The breads and biscuits are sold unpacked in order to reduce production costs.
Since the consumers are mostly people who visit the Ashram (Shantikunj), which in a sense provides a service to these visitors, it does not compete with the local enterprises. The production centre is self-sustaining and generates funds for its continual running.
Production centres of the kind at Shantikunj have been established in vocational secondary schools as a step forward towards a more effective implementation of the Vocational Education Programme. The primary aim of such production centres is to provide skill training to students and some incidental production and profits. Small orders for any product are procured from the schools staff. Execution of these orders enables the students to get sufficient practical training, refine their practical skills, and improve the quality of goods during practical training or practical classes.
Don Bosco Technical Institute, New Delhi
The Don Bosco Technical Institute, New Delhi, was established as an alternative to the existing engineering colleges and polytechnics. The idea was to set up a machine workshop to be later followed by motor mechanics and electrical engineering. The trades turner and fitter were approved in 1977. By 1983 the trades draughtsman (mechanical) and machinist (grinder) were added. Today there are 200 trainees in the machinist section.
The institute was initially established to train local Christians for modern industry. But, as training at this level was not really considered respectable, the institute was not working to its optimal capacity. Those with calibre preferred to go to college or seek admission at higher levels. Those who came had not completed their Class X, which meant that they had to be drilled in basic competencies of English and mathematics. The other difficulty was to get into working relationships with some of the local industries.
Initially, the training in mechanical engineering was for 4 years, with a one-year preparatory course in basic English and mathematics for those who had passed only the 8th grade. Experiencing the difficulties that this brought to teaching, it was soon decided to raise the entry requirement to Class X, and those who did not pass this stage would have to sit for an admission exam.
The structure of training has been restructured. Nowadays, students do the basic and intermediate mechanical engineering within two years and the final year is devoted to advanced courses in different branches like CNC. CNC programming has been introduced to enable better job opportunities and keep pace with technological advancement. Diplomas in tool and die-making, tool designing and mechanical engineering (technician) are awarded to successful candidates.
As part of the programme of the Directorate of Vocational and Technical Training to encourage computer training programmes in private centres, a computer department has been set up which includes a hardware and software training centre. While most computer centres in Delhi cater only to the upper class, Don Bosco is a place where the less privileged have a chance to learn.
The Belgian non-governmental funding agency COMIDE provided the necessary funding for the printing section. The training lasts two years. In the first year, the students are given a general orientation and basic knowledge about the various aspects of printing, namely: composing layout, camera, film assembly, plate-making, printing and binding. Upon completing their basic training in printing, trainees receive specialised training in selected sections that match their capabilities, inclinations and talents. Printing education and industry has a bright future. There are about 70,000 to 80,000 printing presses in the country, excluding the newspaper industry and public sector printing presses. The printing industry requires trained and technically qualified personnel. Training therefore becomes an imperative input that needs the foundation of quality. The ability for hard work and meeting deadlines are the most important work attitudes that are inculcated during training in the field of printing.
An important part of the printing school are courses in desktop publishing and digital pre-press. Some of these trainees also undergo a one-year training in film assembly and plate-making. Both these courses are aimed at providing the students with a sound theoretical and practical training.
Although, in general, it is not easy to expose students to actual jobs in the field of mechanical engineering, the institute has been quite successful. This is the only way to meet the demand for graduates by the local industries. Working on actual jobs is an on-going process which needs hard work and dedication.
As the machine section is the base of all other branches of engineering, the mechanical section has been upgraded regularly.
The Don Bosco Technical Institute finances up to 40% - occasionally more - of its operating costs through external contract work carried out in their training workshops. There is an attempt to increase or maintain this self-financing share in the technical institute by employing full-time workers. At the same time, strong emphasis is given to a comprehensive theoretical and practical vocational training in conjunction with social education. The technical institute is not seen as mere workshop training; great importance is attached to the inclusion of vocational theory, general education and social education.
Don Bosco Self-Employment Research Institute, Howrah
Young technicians passing out of the Don Bosco high schools and technical institutes often find it difficult to find jobs in the already saturated employment market. A further problem is that the sophisticated training given in the technical institutes reaches only a limited category of youth - the intelligent ones. The real situation in India is that there are hosts of youth who are school drop-outs or lack text book handling of skills, although not entirely unfurnished with practical intelligence. Don Bosco has been able to cater only to a very limited number of these local boys and young men who find that they cannot cope with the formal system of education.
It was therefore felt that a new training programme should be devised: less sophisticated, short-term and employment-oriented. Beneficiaries would be school drop-outs, poor orphans, physically handicapped, scheduled tribes or castes, and those below the poverty line. Unlike the training in a complicated machine tool workshop, this was going to be a systematic training in the development of a skill to operate the essential machines to do one particular job accurately and profitably.
With the financial assistance of Misereor of Germany and Indo-German Social Service Society of Delhi a start was made. The Don Bosco administration succeeded in getting two large buildings on rent very close to the Don Bosco Technical School. The Indian Overseas Bank provided regular financing at the differential rate of interest of 4% to the tiny entrepreneurs. The Don Bosco Self-Employment Training Institute, Howrah, was officially opened in 1977.
This institute lies in the Liuah industrial region in the state of West Bengal and is in the heart of factories for manufacturing engineering goods. The locality has a population consisting of Bengalis, Biharis and other groups who have come together in search of work in the many mills and factories around. With the increased problem of population growth and labour unrest resulting from the closure of most of the factories in and around the area, unemployment and other social problems have taken root. The youth are the most affected. The unemployment rate is expected to continue to worsen. 80% of the children drop-out of schools before they reach class X. The major reason for drop-out is poverty. In a survey published by the Indian Statistical Institute in 1979, on primary school drop-outs of 24 Parganas, Hooghly and Howrah districts in West Bengal, it was found that, from among the school drop-outs, 72 to 80% of boys and 56 to 68% of girls are forced to leave school for economic reasons, such as supplementing the family income or looking after their younger brothers and sisters.
Training has been made accessible to school drop-outs and socially disadvantaged youth. As the establishment of enterprises forms an essential part of this training, it provides the underprivileged school drop-outs an excellent opportunity to earn, and therefore serves as a solution to the unemployment problem. The scheme also benefits the physically handicapped and provides an opportunity for girls and women unable to make a headway in formal education. It helps them to augment their income and sustain a family. Furthermore it promotes positive values to work and helps in facing the challenges of a competitive world of work.
15 to 20 trainees are given non-formal training courses of a duration running from three months to one year. All who complete the non-formal training programme successfully are awarded a certificate.
During the training in the non-formal section, the instructors and staff members assess the aptitude of potential candidates to perform a particular job or line of jobs with proficiency. The Don Bosco Technical Institute with its market research, experiments, prototype development, and regular ancillary development always has a few dozen prospective orders in line with the liaison agents to be started at any given time. The aptitude study of a candidate is always in line with these pending orders or market requirements. Selected candidates are fitted into one or another of the pending jobs. Upon completion of the six-month non-formal courses, those students are selected who fulfil the requisites of a self-employment project. However, the technical staff do not only base the aptitude of the candidates on the existing job orders, but on the basis of new jobs, skills, orders, and know-how resulting from research activities and publication.
Once the trainee has opted to join the Self-Employment Training Institute, he/she is introduced to the local bank with a request and recommendation for bank financing to start a tiny enterprise on his/her own within the institutes infrastructure and rules. A project report is prepared to present to the bank for a necessary loan sanction. Bank accounts are operated jointly by the beneficiary and the director or principal. The new entrepreneurs of this type are under the constant vigilance and monitoring of the staff. They are also introduced to the marketing network. From then on, each of these trainees works and produces a marketable item with an order from the liaison agents.
Selected machines are purchased against the bank loan. These machines are installed at the institute and each trainee starts his/her own respective production under the close supervision of the technical staff. A boy of this category masters his machine in two weeks and reaches an efficiency of up to 50-60% with regard to production and accuracy.
At this point, each project holder is shifted along with his own machine to the production section where he is allotted a space and other amenities. From this moment on, this young entrepreneur becomes a productive person and starts his/her own production and sells his/her product. The monthly earnings are shared between the bank (40%) to repay the loan, and the Don Bosco Institute (25%) for the infrastructure assistance. The balance of 35% is taken home as own income. Thus the entrepreneur becomes a breadwinner even while a trainee in the institute.
The enterprises are ancillaries to industries. It is an opportunity for the industry to show concern for the needy. Most of the companies that Don Bosco approaches come forward and assist the institute by providing it with regular work orders and imparting their know-how and development techniques. Some industries even send a team of their development engineers to work with the students to get production moving and to overcome the teaching problems that come in the way of training. The cost of production is cut down because the production units act as ancillaries to the industries. Ancillary development therefore constitutes an important objective of the school enterprises.
Attempts to develop new and sophisticated components for various industries have been successful mainly because the project holders have the backing of the main workshop of the Don Bosco Technical Institute with its large variety of modern and sophisticated machines. The products coming out of the Self-Employment Institute are thus of a high standard and precision.
Miseoror of Germany has provided most of the modern machines which are today the backbone of the Technical School and of the Don Bosco Self-Employment Training Institute.
It is found that a boy of average calibre with average working conditions can repay his total loan in 36 monthly instalments. After the repayment of the loan, 40% of the income is taken home; the rest is paid to the institute. This gives an added impetus to the newer project holders. After repayment of the loans, the staff becomes preoccupied with the final settlements of the students in their own premises or in rented spaces. This is made possible through the trainees own savings, with the help of benefactors or banks and government programmes for the disadvantaged. The idea is to utilise the programmes of self-employment that are due to them from the government. There is talk of establishing a corpus fund for helping young entrepreneurs especially in the initial stages.
The institute has been renamed Research Institute because the nature of the activities involved in it are those of research: i.e. finding out ways and means to help the school drop-outs and handicapped youth. They are the most disadvantaged, excluded and marginal, and are considered a threat and a burden to the nation. The Don Bosco Research Institute motivates them to learn, trains them to work and earn, and induces them to produce marketable products. It makes them tiny entrepreneurs. Each of the staff members researches the students capabilities to learn to produce, to sell, to earn, to survive, with a wide option of 15 trades and 30 more in due course.
The secret of success in any manufacturing or servicing enterprise depends mostly on the identification of proper liaison agents with marketing skills and correct motivation and training, and who can do business without exploiting the less privileged. Salesmanship is promoted as a profession. The art of manufacturing and selling are seen as separate activities and qualities that are not to be found in one and the same person, still less in poor school drop-outs. Hence a liaison agent is an essential component of a production system. With the help and co-operation of Don Boscos liaison agents, the research institute has been able to market components and materials of high quality produced by the entrepreneurs.
The school enterprises manufacture auto parts for big car companies such as the Hindustan Motors. The other products include fabricated materials such as gates, grills, windows, rolling shutters, and wheelbarrows. Plastic and nylon moulded materials, both for industrial production and the household utility market, are on the increase. A special computer course, conducted in collaboration with the National Institute for Hearing Handicapped, trains youth for employment in offices and local banks, etc. where a reserved job quota is made available to the trained handicapped. Wool-knitting training is offered to girl school drop-outs in the age group from 16 to 25. Housewives, mothers and widows from poor families are also trained under experts. This has promoted the growth of a wool-garment home industry in the village. Each trainee in the village is equipped with a machine financed by the local bank. Family members cooperate with one another in this income-generating and bread-winning activity. Young schoolgirl drop-outs are engaged in the production of uniforms for schools and factories in and around Calcutta. Jute fibre products are also catching up as they offer an environment-friendly packaging material. With the help of the Jute Manufacturers Development Council, the Ministry of Textiles and the UNDP, the institute and ex-trainees are producing shopping bags, beach bags, doormats and jute fabric garments for international markets
Marketing outlets include casual off-hand sales, regular tie-ups with professional marketing houses in the country who have agreed to sell the products of the institute through their marketing networks, mutual rapport with welfare organisations in and around Calcutta, such as the Calcutta Police Family Welfare Centre, Karuna Women Welfare S.K.I.P. (Skills for Progress), the Association of Private Vocational Training Schools, Rotary and Lions Clubs, etc. as well as public fairs and carnivals where the trainees gain practical skills with regard to bargaining and selling and, finally, door-to-door and footpath sales through licensed hawkers.
As regards outward impact, ex-trainees in air-conditioning and refrigeration are in such great demand that firms have already offered them employment. Young ladies trained in this branch are on the threshold of setting up their own self-employment units. The institute also maintains a sales counter from where visitors and local people can purchase products. Finally, the institute encourages products tailor-made to suit specific requirements.
The institute has reached a stage where graduated boys and girls have started going out and setting up their own tiny enterprises. A few of them have their own place to house the machine. But the greater majority has no place to accommodate their enterprise or shop. A proposal has been formulated to set up a Mini-Industries Estate for these less fortunate ones. In 1986, a small shed was hired and small rooms built wherein these registered small-scale enterprise units were housed.
The Don Bosco Self-Employment Research Institute is a source of help to the youth of the neighbouring community who desperately need a foothold in their struggle for employment and survival. The institute is seven years old. 75% of the trainees are Bangladesh refugees (now permanent settlers) who are eager learners of work culture principles.
With the second phase of this institute starting shortly, it is hoped to provide training facilities in 25 income-generating trades to the needy youth. For those who have passed the 10th class, but have no means to go ahead, the institute offers a new course of studies known as Certificate of Vocational Education (CVE) which is a formal course under the Government Programme. It includes courses in building construction technician, air-conditioning and refrigeration, and office secretary. In this way, bridges are being built between non-formal education and formal education.
Industrial Training Institute, Bangalore
In 1988, the World Bank agreed to assist the Indian government in upgrading and modernising vocational training institutes. The World Bank assisted project included diversification of vocational training into high-technology and self-employment training and support. The principal motivation was the high unemployment level among industrial training institute certificate craftsmen, apprentices and technicians, and the realisation that these graduates must be diverted to self-employment. The self-employment component of the project was designed with the following criteria:
· It would be for those who have successfully completed training courses.
· It would emphasise practical production work during the training phase.
· It would be implemented by the existing vocational training institutes (VTI).
· It would cover demand based trades such as scooter and motor mechanics, spray painting and tyre retreading.
· It would consist of intensive part-time training for three to six months only, with 12 trainees per programme, under the guidance of part-time instructors from industry.
· It would include a module of entrepreneurship training.
The project was launched in 1988 for 95 vocational training institutes. Though the target was set at 4,170 trainees, in the subsequent five years only 228 trainees were admitted in 18 vocational training institutes. The remaining 77 VTIs did not participate.
One of the participating VTIs, Industrial Training Institute (ITI) Bangalore was evaluated to ascertain the reasons for this disappointing performance.17 Training capacities were not fully utilised because of the lack of candidates who could pass the prescribed eligibility criteria (completed ITI and obtained a certificate). The Vocational Training Institute did not have the adequate flexibility and autonomy in decision-making in order to restructure its courses and to be responsive to the local needs. Entrepreneurship training and small-business courses were not introduced as an integral part of the standard curriculum of vocational training institutes. No follow-up assistance was provided. No stipends were given. The ITI could not get anyone from industry and delivered self-employment training using its own resources.
17 Awasthi, Dinesh N., 1996
In the light of these failures, the author of the study points out the need to review the curriculum which consists of 26 components to be imparted in just 25 hours. Vocational training institutes will have to devote significant resources to follow-up, including strong networking with government agencies, banks and other organisations in the enterprise support system. They will have to explore alternative sources of funding, such as through the setting up of business centres with vocational training institutes, as the government may find it difficult to provide sufficient levels of support for self-employment promotion within VTIs.18
Technical College of Wood Technology, Semarang
In 1956, the Jesuit Order set up a carpentry/joinery centre at a mission station in Central Java. By 1970 that enterprise had evolved into the Technical College of Wood Technology (PIKA). Since 1963, it has been managed by the Swiss master carpenter, Paul Wiederkehr, although, at present, the school is run mainly by Indonesian experts.
The school offers a four-year training in learning workshops for about 120 apprentices, and a two-year training to 30 foreman trainees. Specialised teacher training is offered to five to seven teachers in three to twelve-month courses. Upgrading courses are offered in modern technologies for employees of local industries, e.g., in surface treatment, upholstering, machining and wood drying/ seasoning. The school enterprise has 65 workers and salaried employees in which the 4th-year apprentices take their practical experience.
The school specialises exclusively in the vocational field of wood technology. The PIKA curriculum is comprised of general and vocational subjects. The four-year course of vocational training is comprised of basic vocational training in the training workshop, specialised vocational training in the training workshop and school enterprise, and practical training in the production enterprise, and, finally, continuing vocational training for apprentices, which is voluntary and subject to competitive selection.
Basic training begins with a systematic three-month introductory course in the methods of wood processing. Two projects are conducted at the end of the course. Specialised training is project oriented; i.e., the trainees make marketable articles that correspond to their learning objectives and their relevant training levels. Forty percent of the products are standard items and 60 percent are job orders. Performance tests measure achievements against learning goals. In the second and third years of training, importance is attached to enhancing the trainees capacity for self-study, especially with regard to constructional ideas, design inputs and the composition of work groups, thus increasing independence in the execution of work. In the fourth year, the apprentices are integrated into the school enterprise in order to become familiar with the realities of the working world while applying their newly acquired skills toward helping to earn the schools income. Upon successful completion of all four years, the students receive a diploma.
Learning is not directly related to production at the basic level. However, this does not mean that the school follows a rigid training-course programme. For example, the basic trainees make tools for their own use. The specialised level involves project work with the requisite theoretical preparations and follow up. Theoretical instruction takes place at several levels. In addition to drafting and technological subjects, which are organised out of the practical part, theory appears to be the focus during workshop practice. The students learn on products, which are produced for the domestic market. The school enterprise, with 65 specialists, produces high-quality furniture and interior furnishings. The profits serve to finance the school. In the school enterprise, the students undergo practical training.
Both basic and specialised training initially concentrate on the transmission of vocational skills at the individual level; gradually they introduce various forms of teamwork in accordance with the job order situation. There are permanent teams for standard work and teams of varying composition for interior finishing work.
The average age of the new trainee is 17. The minimum level of education is typically lower secondary school, i.e., six years of primary school and three years of secondary school. Each applicant is required to take an aptitude test comprising of a written examination (language and mathematics), interview and drawing test. The training and production institute is comprised of 71% Catholics, 17% Protestants, 10% Muslims and 3% Buddhists. Trainees are highly motivated, resulting from careful selection, high-quality training, and career development prospects. A key factor of trainee motivation is the teachers technical competence and commitment to the students and their problems. About 95% of the schools full-time teachers are recruited from the PIKA alumni; their training therefore reflects the schools standards and includes courses in didactics and methodology. As far as possible, each teacher is sent for upgrading at two-year intervals.
The school has a number of student, parent, teacher and union-like worker associations, which meet at regular intervals and discuss training matters and social affairs. The social element is especially important, since about one quarter of the trainees come from socially disadvantaged families.
PIKA has developed two focal points of production: the interior finishing of residential, office and administration buildings, and the construction of high-quality residential furniture. 65% are customer orders and 45% are market orders. The equipment in the training workshop consist of traditional Indonesian carpenters benches. These are used in the basic training phase to help the apprentices identify with their local experience. The school enterprise is geared to serial production. The essential work (machining and joining) is done by graduates from the institute. Semi-skilled workers are employed mainly for follow-up operations such as fine grinding, as well as for storekeeping, packaging and dispatching/transportation. The planning groups control the planning of products and work processes, while the training workshops and production units are responsible for the actual production. A special production-control group ensures that the products are of good marketable quality. Personal computers have been installed for use in the staffs planning work. In these planning groups, participatory methods are used. Design teams comprising of one teacher and two representatives from production and training are responsible for the purposes of innovating new products such as seats for physically handicapped children and for improving the work organisation.
PIKA maintains close ties with industry and the national market. This facilitates the acquisition of orders and a fairly accurate assessment of what the consumer wants and the market has to offer. The schools close ties to trades and industry are its main avenues of sales development. Advertising and public relation are important elements of sales promotion. As an active member of the Indonesian Carpenters Association, PIKA maintains close ties with indigenous companies.
PIKA also offers consultancy services and training courses. Many companies consult the school for advice on planning the expansion and modernisation of their production facilities, particularly with regard to new machines. PIKA has been co-operating for a decade now with a Wikrama Putra orphanage in Ngalien, offering courses in woodworking, textile processing and typing. It also provides a home for doubly handicapped children. All wooden repair work required at the Java Save the Children (SOS) childrens village is performed free of charge by PIKA. Whenever a new school is being established, PIKA offers practical assistance.
PIKA runs courses in mechanised wood processing on behalf of the Ministry of Industry, and was commissioned by the Ministry of Education to draw up curricula for the relevant departments of Indonesias lower secondary technical schools. PIKA has published 16 textbooks for use in the subjects of wood technology, drafting, and furniture design, some of which are now in their third or fourth editions. PIKA is also dedicated to the advancement of small and medium-size handicraft enterprises via the technical and commercial upgrading of the sectors future employees. The duration and breadth of training and guidance in theory-based working methods are specifically geared to those technical cadres.
As regards the employment benefits from the school enterprise, PIKA graduates seldom have problems finding jobs. In fact, many companies try to recruit future PIKA graduates even before they finish school. Teachers are often enticed by private firms through higher emoluments than those afforded by the school enterprise. About 95% of all PIKA graduates find employment in trades and industry, 15% become self-employed entrepreneurs, 15% teachers and instructors, 15% become sales representatives for wood-processing machines, paint-spraying apparatus and building materials. The drop-out rate is low (2%) over the entire four years of training.
One major problem is that the spread of such schools appears to be hampered by the small number of graduates and the long duration of training. The other problem is the foreign, mainly western, character of the designs and interior decorations. Also few girls tend to remain in the employment market after their training. The major teaching problem is that the students are not used to learning in a self-directed and active manner.
The school is independent of government funding. The teachers, the institution and the working costs of the enterprise are financed through production of goods and services. The school receives Dutch and Swiss personnel aid. In future, the only foreign aid will be confined to the continuing education of the teachers with regard to didactics and teaching methods specific to wood processing and design. The schools initial endowment was provided by the Mission of the Jesuit Order. Swiss development aid brought in additional funds in 1971-1973 for construction work and outfitting. Misereor and the Zurich based Franz Xavier Foundation supported further expansion of the school, the former with the help of substantial subsidies from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Co-operation and Development.
In Papua New Guinea, most institutional vocational training is offered by nearly 100 vocational centres within the national education system. In the mid-1980s they had some 6500 trainees that made up 0.7% of the population aged 12-25.19 In the system, vocational centre training is an alternative to post-primary liberal arts education at lower secondary levels which reaches 5.3% of the 12-25 age group. It aims to provide two years of production-oriented training in trade, craft, domestic and business skills, with or without basic education. Its students are mainly primary graduates who are either drop-outs from secondary school, or else were not selected for the secondary school.
19 Preston, R., 1993
The administration of vocational education is the responsibility of the provincial governments, while the National Department of Education controls teacher training and registration, inspections, overall policy, planning and capital investments. Finance for salaries, and some capital investment, is administered by the provinces from the minimum unconditional grant awarded to each province from the central government. Vocational centres are also expected to generate income to cover operating and recurrent expenditures. In contrast to other sectors of the education system, the vocational education curriculum development is the main responsibility of the provinces and the vocational centres.
The majority of vocational centres in Papua New Guinea represent a simple training structure; i.e., offer only few occupational specialisations: woodwork, agricultural products, metalwork and mechanics, food processing, craft work, and business management. Locally specific training is especially pronounced in the production of cash-crops. This includes instruction in cacao production and processing.
All the training is oriented directly or indirectly to market production. The extent to which practical training is combined with the transmission of business skills, as well as the didactics of training, varies from centre to centre. Practical experience associated with business management (bookkeeping, accounting, buying, selling) is possible primarily in centres that have stores. The level of training in vocational centres is basic, and dependent on what can be achieved using hand tools and materials available from local markets. Food production is oriented to the production of meals and to meeting centre needs. Craft work includes mainly garment making.
Marketing is carried out either directly from centres or from local markets, depending on the nature of the goods being manufactured. Earnings from the sale of products and services depend entirely on the experience and motivation of teaching and supporting staff; in particular, of centre managers.
The curriculum requirements are diverse within centres. Teaching times and sequences of learning are usually not predetermined as most instructors are carrying out commissioned work. As technology levels are low and there are limited funds for equipment maintenance, teachers have to make the best of their working conditions.
Instructors are trained at an in-service training college. Women with a 10th grade qualification are trained for two years in practical skills, continuing basic education, and instruction in teaching methods. The men, experienced as master tradesmen (grade 10, two years of technical education, three-year apprenticeships, and post-apprenticeship experience) are trained for one year in teaching skills with some exposure to trade skills other than their specialisations. They are paid high-cost, full-time equivalent salaries for this training. Basic educational skills are not taught to them. Some of these men have taken up this training as the only option after performing unsatisfactorily in previous careers.
Inspectors have responsibility for monitoring vocational centre training across the country. They are responsible for trade skill and cash-crop production training. The women inspectors are usually in charge of food processing and craft work.
There is a popular demand for the pre-employment training offered in the vocational training centres. This has to do with the satisfactory returns against investment and the opportunity cost of such training. There is also evidence of a positive impact of training, in that trainees do make use of the skills they learn. Most trainees with trade-skill training, carpentry and mechanics find employment in local firms or family businesses. Trainees from the agricultural courses are known to establish small businesses in their own communities, many of which are, however, short-lived on account of the lack of community support, the lack of graduate maturity and experience as well as the lack of external seed money. Women are less likely to attain employment than men. The majority of women are in villages or living at home and are involved in domestic work, typing, or work in hotels. Some have taken on leadership roles in the community organisations. Through the training of women in craft work and food production, women have been able to produce a surplus from subsistence work. The skills are also used for undertaking the repair of school buildings.
The MAN Salzgitter model20, as it has come to be referred to, has a long history. In 1974, a didactic model for imparting basic vocational competencies was developed in MAN Salzgitter (a Germany company) in co-operation with the Federal Institute for Vocational Training, Germany.21 It was an attempt to find a clear didactic alternative to the existing course model of vocational education in the transmission of basic competencies. It included principles of total learning and self-directed training. It proposed project instruction as a didactic model for imparting basic vocational competencies. Vocational competencies included specialised technical competencies as well as generalized competencies, such as social, communicative and didactic competencies. The generalized competencies are presently being discussed under the category key qualifications. At the time of their inception, however, the terms were used to describe generalised competencies such as the ability for creative thinking, problem-solving and group-oriented action as integral components of vocational qualifications for secondary pupils.
20 MAN, Maschinenfabrik Augsburg Ng is a German company for the construction of machines
21 Wiemann. G., 1974
Through the translation of these generalised competencies into learning goals, it was possible to promote a strong base for the trainees further learning when seen from the longitudinal career perspective of youngsters as well as from the point of view of providing a greater scope of entry into a broader cross-section of occupations. People had greater possibilities of adapting in the context of the changing world of work by applying their generalised competencies.
The MAN Salzgitter model has ushered in a new debate relating to the appropriate social profile of a new specialised worker who participates in a cluster of autonomous work tasks with respect to self-directed and team-directed solutions to vocational, social, and communicative problems. This approach to basic vocational competencies, since 1987, has resulted in a new ordering of occupational fields and occupational groupings which are not only viewed in terms of specialised technical skills. The new social profile is a constitutive characteristic of the specialised worker and has contributed to overcoming the narrow description of the factory worker as practised under Taylorism.
The MAN Salzgitter model has used this basic conceptual understanding of vocational competencies in finding an alternative to the traditional course method, dominant in classical vocational training, in which learning sequences are additive and predetermined, and in which learning places a high value on repetition. In contrast, project learning was proposed, in which learning places value on open and participatory problem-solving, application, market value and sense of work.
In the context of the history of the theory of vocational education, there has been no dearth of attempts to go beyond the classificatory learning model to the integrative learning model such as project-oriented instruction and planning exercises. Complex forms of integrated learning organisations are however faced with several inherent weaknesses. The course of learning is difficult to plan and implement, the project results often do not meet the expectations of all participants and, above all, it is not possible to conduct a strict evaluation of an individuals performance. The social conflicts between the group members and the teaching personnel can often be considerable. The fact that these systems provide very little regulation is an important reason why such learning systems have not been realised. Teachers find them complicated, time-consuming and difficult to evaluate and, finally, the employment world does not know what to expect from graduates. Furthermore, private employers can make little sense of participation and autonomy, especially when they have been used to expecting adaptation and obedience from graduates of vocational institutions. The new method of learning and behaviour must, therefore, first of all find acceptance among teachers and private employers alike.
The MAN Salzgitter model proposes further that, with regard to the process of operationalisation of the integrated organisation of learning, due attention should be given to the learning content and the trainees, and to the specific competencies of teachers and instructors. For example, while it is better to classify the complex reality when new contents are being considered, it is advisable to work with the principle of integrating complex knowledge when dealing with trainees that are at an advanced stage of learning. Where courses deal with teaching the basic processes and the basic technical competencies, it may be easier to agree on organising learning around the classificatory method of learning. For example, courses relating to the functioning of a lathe may be organised around turning, moulding, sharpening, scraping and drilling. Courses dealing with core skills such as instruction in technology and technical mathematics may also be organised around additive, linear and classificatory principles.
Both these methods of learning may be termed closed and open respectively. In classificatory forms of learning, the learning goals and paths as well as the learning results are closed or predetermined. In integrated systems, only the learning goals are predetermined; the learning paths which lead to the solution of problems as well as the learning results are open.
Lathe Machines for Indonesia
In connection with a research project, a small group of German scientists from MAN Salzgitters Vocational Training Institute visited the Technical College of Wood Technology (PIKA), Semarang. The educational and economic success of this school enterprise has been due to its autonomous orientation with regard to recruitment of teachers, selection of curriculum and of products. An attempt is being made to promote traditional Indonesian wooden crafts and designs in this school enterprise. The basic training stage includes working with indigenous tools and work benches. Introduction to modern production methods begins only at a later training stage. The trainees are encouraged to revive the products and crafts of daily use which were traditionally made in home production. This initiative is rewarded through higher credits. These efforts aim at countering the effects of the colonial epoch, during which cheap imports from Republic of Taiwan and Korea destroyed a good part of home production in traditional crafts.
The lathe machines from MAN Salzgitter meant for the Technical Institute of Wood Technology aim to revive traditional designs in wood work.
After developing a prototype of the machine, a series often machines were delivered by the project group from MAN Salzgitter to the Technical College of Wood Technology. The project group was responsible for settling all technical, economic and sales aspects with its clientele, the Technical College of Wood Technology, and discussing matters relating to the installing of the machines, the tropical conditions, the delivery and the custom clearance. The project group travelled all the way to Java in order to introduce the machines and to advice on the instructions for their use. The travel costs were borne by the project group itself which is independent from state funds and entirely dependent on itself for its own existence.
The openness of a learning organisation means participation of the learning group in the evaluation of the learning results. In other words, the beneficiaries of training participate in the decisions regarding the outcome of the project, both with regard to their own needs, as well as with regard to the needs of the institute or for a social purpose. In the project Lathe Machine, the project group MAN delivered/transferred the project results to the Technical College of Wood Technology in Indonesia.
The dominant idea behind vocational education under the MAN Salzgitter model was the concept of self-directed learning. This model was, however, expanded in order to incorporate new competency requirements of production enterprises in the context of the changing world of work. The concept of self-directed learning was extended to include the concepts of team work, process-directed learning in production, and quality control in the work place.
The extension of the didactic concept aimed to resolve the principal conflict between finding solutions to specialised problems which arise as a result of the changing world of work in the production enterprises and the concrete learning structures in training workshops, vocational training institutes and schools. The conflict is most explicit with regard to the designing of linear learning concept (courses and subjects) and their relationship to the authentic structures of production. Through the new didactic approach (such as project instruction), this conflict is however only partly resolved. Therefore, a further extension of the MAN Salzgitter model was proposed: this included simulation or approximation of real work processes in vocational training.
In the project Lathe Machines for Indonesia the learning concept is taken one step further: taken out of its simulated context and incorporated into a real clientele-oriented market situation. An attempt has therefore been made to combine production for the market with vocational learning, even though the two situations are inherently contradictory. This new didactic model combines innovation, construction, production and vocational learning through the concept of school enterprise.
With regard to the project Lathe Machines for Indonesia, the first step in the learning process includes the creative construction of a lathe machine; the second step entails the monitoring of serial production. Both these steps are accompanied by an orientation to the prospective clientele and is translated into its market value. All stages are conducted through monitoring by the individual and group.
The above mentioned didactic elements are incorporated in the MAN approach to combining education with production. These include the development of a prototype (innovation), the production and improvement of the prototype (construction), the serial production of 10 machines (production) and, finally, the orientation to an international market.
The international orientation includes three elements. Firstly, the members of the project group from MAN Salzgitter come from four different countries (Kazakhstan, Herzegovina, Greece and Germany). Secondly, the aim is to establish a permanent exchange between the project group from MAN and the clientele in Indonesia with regard to setting and co-ordinating goals, and the improvement and delivery of hardware and software. Thirdly, the testing of technical and didactic material was done in Brandenburg (Germany), Bromberg (Poland) and Moscow (Russian Federation).
Vocational training at the MAN Salzgitter school enterprise is conducted in three stages:
1. Basic vocational training (in metal trades and techniques) in the vocational training school in Fredenberg. Learning methods include course work method and subsequently integrated projects;
2. Specialised vocational training in the training centre at MAN Salzgitter. The didactic concept used at this training stage is project training, i.e., in-house project and out-house project for the market (example: Lathe Machines for Indonesia);
3. Specialised vocational training in a productive enterprise. The didactic concept includes practical training in the workplace (private enterprise) accompanied by reflection in the training centre at MAN Salzgitter.
The training stages therefore combine course-oriented vocational instruction and project-oriented instruction with on-the-job training in a private enterprise. The acquisition of technical, social and planning competencies is the focus of basic and specialised learning goals. At the advanced level (the third level) importance is given to those learning goals which emphasise practical action and application of competencies for employment and social mobility.
The project Lathe Machines for Indonesia is situated in-between the simulative and authentic learning systems. Through the project Lathe Machines for Indonesia, the training workshop is at the watershed of transition from training workshop to a school-run enterprise. It is an autonomous profit-making unit. The production of lathe machines for the international market is a first step towards autonomous market production as a decisive component of MAN training. This has to do with solid economic reasons. But the central driving force has been a didactic one, i.e., the attempt to draw closer to authentic learning structures which have direct relevance to real work processes without giving up claims to classical didactic systems of vocational education and training.
The MAN Salzgitter model provides an interesting contrast to the technician school that forms part of the official development co-operation of the Federal Republic of Germany. These technician schools (Gewerbeschulen or Berufsfachschulen) were supposed to be superior to the existing industrial training institutes and polytechnics in developing countries due to their close links to the requirements of the enterprise and the emphasis on practical training which is part of the famous dual system of vocational education in Germany.22
22 The dual system of technical and vocational education is a archetypal form of co-operation between public vocational training institutions and productive enterprises. The German dual system also combines learning with ongoing participation in a separate productive enterprise. The instructors are responsible for the production process and for the training but are not involved in the economic activities.
However, by the middle of the 70s it became clear, that the transplantation of model technical schools in developing countries did not have the intended multiplier effect. On the contrary, many conceptual weakness came to the fore: for example, those concerning costs, bureaucratisation, disconnected from the working reality in an enterprise, and insufficient preparation and motivation of the students to find solutions to the complex requirements of the world of occupations and work.
The Botswana Brigades
The Botswana Brigades are autonomous, community-based and government aided school-run enterprises. They engage in three main activities:
· vocational training,
· income-generating production,
· community development and extension work.
The average number of trainees in a Brigade is 106. Currently there are 33 Brigades operating throughout Botswana.
Training is provided in 16 different trades, such as building, carpentry, textiles, office skills, general maintenance, computer studies and business studies.
The first Brigade was formed in Serowe in 1965 through the efforts of Patrick van Rensburg, then Principal of Swaneng Hill School. Young primary school-leavers who did not get a place in secondary schools formed the core of the trainees. The school enterprises of the Brigades were an attempt to deal with the primary school-leaver problem by giving training in a trade that would be of immediate benefit to the trainees as well as to the local community.
The training is a mixture of practical, theoretical and on-the-job training. Combining education with production is more than a pedagogical technique; it is also a way to help offset the costs of training. Proceeds from the production efforts go towards the development and expansion of the Brigades. In addition, students and their instructors participate in the construction of their own training facilities such as classrooms, kitchens, workshops and hostels. In the true sense of the word, they learn to engage in productive and economic activities.
The success of the first Builders Brigade in Serowe, where the Brigades movement started, has not so much to do with government initiative and effort, but with individual local communities. The idea spread because it worked, and the community leaders saw the benefit to their communities. Income from the trainees production was their main source of revenue to cover the cost of training. In 1975, the government began to subsidise training. Currently, it provides the existing and new Brigades with a financial subsidy in support of their approved training programmes, calculated on per capita basis.
While the government has increased its financial contribution and technical assistance, the Brigades themselves remain locally controlled and autonomous institutions. They are registered under the trust laws of Botswana known as Brigades Development Trusts. A Board of Trustees, made up of representatives from the community, staff and trainees, nominees of the Minister for Education, and ex-officio members such as the local District Officer, oversees the operation of the school enterprises.
Training duration is either two or three years in length depending on the level of basic education of the participants. The curriculum is under constant evaluation given the increasing need for better trained craft workers and artisans at all levels. There is an increasing demand for a greater diversification of training programmes as well as for a higher level of training. The introduction by the government of a nine-year basic education programme for all - ten years from 1996 - has shifted the focus of the Brigades from Class VII leavers to junior secondary leavers.
Since the Brigades students now enter training with a longer basic education, its standards can be elevated and curricula can be revised to take advantage of the more advanced trainees. As regards the organisational model, the executive secretary is in charge of all management functions and reports to the board of trustees. A training co-ordinator is in charge of all training activities and unit managers are in charge of all production activities. Close communication between these officials is essential for optimal pedagogical benefits from production-cum-training. Business managers in charge of finance and accounting also offer financial advice and marketing assistance to the unit managers.
Production and commercial services account for almost 76% of the total income of 11.3 million US$. The remaining 2.7 million consist of the government training subsidy, production income from training activities, school fees and donor contributions.
Apart from the pure transfer of skills through production, the trainees learn basic life skills such as positive attitudes towards work.
The Brigades graduates have a much better chance than their counterparts from other institutions. They are trained to work, are more committed, and are not afraid to get their hands dirty.
Economic conditions have changed considerably since their inception. When they began they were generally the only providers, especially in rural areas, of goods, services, employment and training. Today, Botswana has a more and more diversified commercial base. Small- and medium-scale enterprises are making themselves felt even in rural areas. In many places, the Brigades are no longer the sole providers of goods and services. They have to compete with private business and must be concerned with costs as well as marketing. Without advanced business skills among Brigade managers, Brigades may fall behind their competitors with the consequence that the central concept of training with production will suffer.
In addition to this, the private business community has already expressed concern about the Brigades as competitors in local markets. They argue that this is unfair competition since the Brigades are state-subsidised institutions.
The continued operation of these community-based institutions has to do with the recognition by the government that the Brigades form an integral part of the vocational training system in Botswana. The private sector has not yet developed the necessary training capacity for an appreciable number of school-leavers. As the cost in resources is just too high, it is not possible for the government to fill this gap through full-time school-based training using formal vocational models.
Small Business Centres in Vocational Training Institutes in Kenya and Ghana
The Kenyan government, with the assistance of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the International Labour Organization (ILO) has made efforts to introduce entrepreneurship awareness to many vocational training institute students. The major objective is to direct graduates towards self-employment as a viable alternative to formal employment. Small Business Centres (SBC) have been set up in several vocational training institutes to promote small-enterprise development. At present, UNDP/ ILO is sponsoring ten selected Small Business Centres. It has been recognised that due to the short period of training, the lack of practical skills among instructors, and the artificial setting of the training, the skills acquired by the Small Business Centres trainees will be limited. Hence, some form of internship through traditional apprenticeship might help improve the level of entrepreneurship training.23
23 Ferej, A., 1996, pp. 104-105
The Ghana National Association of Garages organises and manages the apprenticeship programme until the apprentices qualify to go for further training at Kumasi Technical Institute (KTI). The apprenticeship lasts four years. The KTI programme for apprentices is twelve weeks and that for master mechanics is six weeks. A programme on management and entrepreneurial skills is managed by Management Development and Productivity Institute (MDPI).24
24 Abban, C. K. and Quarshie, J. P., 1996
The Small Business Centres in Kenya and Ghana have made possible the co-operation between vocational training institutes and traditional apprenticeships. The vocational training institutes can co-opt the low cost work environment of the informal sector to enhance their students training and preparation for self-employment and, through thoughtful and flexible programming, the vocational training institutes offer useful courses to upgrade the training and productive skills of the apprentice masters. Both vocational training institutes and traditional apprenticeships have been made to converge in order to impart productive skills for the local economy.
The Offices for Practical Works in Vocational Training
These centres25 are created specifically for aiding production activities in vocational training centres. They act as an intermediary between enterprises which demand products and the vocational training centres which provide them. They aim at identifying requirements from enterprises, particularly when the demand for products required is too large to be met by only one vocational centre; discussing and fixing prices and deadlines; distributing the total demand among the various centres, taking into account their production capacity; and providing them with raw materials.
25 Offices des Travaux dApplication de la Formation Professionnelle (OTRAFORM)
The most positive aspect of this experiment is that it takes advantage of an economy of scale in gathering demand from many different sources and production from many small suppliers. In addition, by ordering a great amount of raw materials, they can obtain better prices and reduce production costs. The main problem is that production and trading concerns very often tend to prevail over pedagogical interests. This leads to trainees having to work on repetitive and monotonous productions in which the pedagogical dimension is not usually very important.26
26 Cabral de Andrade, Antonio, 1990. pp. 253-267
Vocational training and education for employment in the modern sector is the main task of the government vocational training institutions in Latin America. Their training centres have primarily offered formal vocational training courses in the classical industrial skills, lasting up to three years, and addressing primarily urban youngsters aged between 14 and 20. The enrolment requirement is secondary school education. In view of the high percentage of secondary school graduates among young people, this does not appear to be a very restrictive formal barrier. However, a particular problem of government vocational training centres is that the training very often fails to meet the skill requirements in both the modern and the informal sector. A growing number of graduates end up often as unemployed or underemployed in the informal sector because they cannot find employment in modern industrial enterprises. At the same time, the graduates are out of touch with the working conditions and technical possibilities in small and micro-enterprises and the graduates are not trained to use simple technologies or to cope with the negative institutional factors existing in the informal sector.
In view of this situation, some vocational training institutions in the mid-1970s extended their focus by offering non-formal training courses to improve employment opportunities also for persons from the informal sector.27 However, despite the different objectives and target group orientation, training curricula remains mostly oriented to the classical vocational profiles.
The National Pioneer Centre Havana, Cuba
The National Pioneer Centre at Havana operates as a major vocational counselling centre. It is organised on the basis of 17 broad fields of activities and 234 specialisations. For each speciality there is a production unit operating under conditions very close to those prevailing in actual enterprises: a small hotel, a restaurant, a radio and television studio, a data processing centre, a sugar production plant, units manufacturing products based on sugar cane, a farm etc. Each student spends six months on each specialisation, which means that in the course of the total four-year period of attendance at the National Centre, he can make contact with and work on eight specialisations. Each production unit receives materials and technical assistance from the ministry or service concerned. The National Pioneer Centre has contributed to a more conscious choice of the line of studies to be pursued in the educational system and, later, of the kind of occupation or profession taken up by students, thus minimising the losses due to cases of drop-outs or changes of career, etc. It has also promoted easier adjustment to later work.
27 Arnold, R., 1989, pp. 50-68
Mono-technical schools is an interesting pattern within the regular secondary system. They usually cater to a well-defined market slice and keep very intimate relationships with the firms for whom they produce skilled labour and technicians. There are examples where hotel and catering schools and beauty parlour schools are operated by vocational training institutions. Such enterprises exist in most of the Latin American countries, such as Brazil, Uruguay and Columbia, and are called Pedagogical Teaching Enterprises.28 The trainees undertake a period of internship in these enterprises, which offer their services to the general public. The proceeds from these services are paid to the vocational training institutions to which the enterprise in question is attached. As a general rule, the operating costs of these enterprises are very high and the earnings from the sale of services are an insufficient compensation.
28 Cabral de Andrade, A,. 1990
The Training-cum-Production Workshops Talleres Pos, Costa Rica
The public Training-cum-Production Workshops in peripheral urban areas and small rural towns in Costa Rica is sponsored by the National Institute of Apprenticeship - INA.29 The notion of public workshops was a reaction to the dissatisfaction with existing training methods in technical and vocational education institutions which were oriented to the modern sector of the economy.
In 1981, the National Institute of Apprenticeship (INA) set up multi-purpose workshops. Some 20 workshops provided training to 20,000 persons annually. The trainees - men and women, of all ages (from the age of 12 onward, also without any school education) - are taught how to make articles they need for their own use for selling in the market. On completion of the training period, the trainees are encouraged to form cooperatives, partnerships or mini-businesses for developing productive activities. The trainees have the possibility to participate in a technical training which is purpose-oriented with regard to their realistic occupation opportunities in wage or self-employment as well as in the subsistence sector. The training is adapted to the learning opportunities and potentials of the trainees. The main advantage of this experiment is its flexibility on the one hand, and a high motivation for learning on the other. Trainees have to make a time-wise (flexible) commitment to attend a minimum number of hours per month.
The skill training offered and the type of equipment provided are decided for each public workshop with respect to the local qualification needs and labour demand, as identified beforehand by the INA. The objective of the technical training is to qualify the participants in order that they are better able to meet their basic needs and thus perhaps reduce their familys need for cash income. A further objective is to promote the setting up of small co-operative businesses, promote self-employment and the improvement of commercial home production, the latter especially aimed for women. A final objective is to promote industrial vocation-oriented training courses qualifying persons for a wage-earning employment in the modern or in the informal sector.
The training by local INA trainers takes place at two basic levels: basic training for unskilled workers, as well as further training for producers. Basic training is conducted either as individual advice upon request or in group work. As regards further training, small producers are allowed, after a simple test, to use the tools and equipment of the workshop for a small fee.
Instructors are available to encourage users to perfect their skills and improve their technology. The producers are expected to buy their own materials and sell the finished products.
The Talleres Pos often operate less as training centres, but indeed more as public workshops, where people with sufficient technical skills but no suitable tools use the equipment available at the workshops free-of-charge. In this function, these workshops are extremely useful, especially in areas with few artisanal workshops. The main problems are linked with people who attend the workshop only to produce, without needing to be trained. They utilise, on a permanent basis, part of the workshops capacity, preventing other potential trainees from having access to training. This experiment has been less successful in its attempt at creating co-operatives, partnerships and mini-business.
Yet, given a more stringent selection of beneficiaries so as to reach workers from the informal sector, the public workshops seem to be an interesting way of providing training and technical assistance for small producers.