Juba, September 26th 2018
After the first and very successful day of the conference we were not expecting that things could go better. How wrong we were proved!
The theme for the second day was “TVET; driver of business and economy”. TVET stands for Technical and Vocational Education and Training. The presentations of the second day are available here.
Keynote speaker of the day was Mr. George Ali, Director for Development Partners at the Ministry of General Education. Subject was “The influence of vocational education on the economy of the country.” And that was what he did. With numbers, examples and proof from all over the world he showed that the richest and most developed countries have more than 30% of the employees with a TVET background. These people are said to form the backbone of the society, and that is not so hard to imagine. What will happen when there are no technicians, no nurses, no secretary, no farmers, no bakers, no truck drivers etc. etc. Things will fall apart and the country will collapse. Mr. George Ali took us on a virtual tour on what the ministry of general education is doing. He informed us about all the work that has been done to introduce a complete TVET program, soon to be launched.
Like the first day the keynote speaker cleared the way for the other speakers of the day.
They toke up the challenges that we gave them, serious matters like “How to finance education?”
Mr. Kenyi Kilombe, project manager for EU delegation in South Sudan, guided us along various sources of financing education and the control mechanism that could be used. Obviously the governments are the largest source of financing education and they get the money from revenues, licenses, and like South Sudan, sales of minerals, oils etc. There are other sources like participant funds (employers, employees), NGO’s, development funds, philanthropists and the students/participants (from their pocket or through their employer). The private sector typically contributes through their associations and trade unions. They can also contribute more direct with tools, machinery and human resources (for teaching and curriculum development. He also emphasized that not only the source is important to look at but also the destination. There is never to much money but always to little so money must be wisely spend.
Mrs. Carita Cruz from Finn Church Aid toke the subject “Golden Triangle, roles and responsibilities”. South Sudan is lucky with NGO’s like Finn Church aid, because they do not only have a practical and result driven approach; Finland is also the most successful country in the world in TVET. She told us many people ask her how they do it, but that she could not give a clear single answer. It is a combination of factors from which she believes that the high level trained teachers are crucial. The government of Finland launched campaigns to remove the stigma of TVET being for losers and drop-outs. Indeed, due to TVET the different qualities of anybody can be improved and made contributing to society. Having a job and being able to take care of the family and contributing to society makes a big difference in life. Happiness and health increases and crime decreases. She told us about the close cooperation between the stakeholders: Ministry of Education, Educational providers and the employers. Educational providers and employers are both from private and public sector. They ensure that -Mrs Carita emphasized that several times- there is a match between the employment market needs and what the TVET delivers. They also ensure that the training methods and content are relevant and up to date. That means that all parties trust each other and have the same goal: make that TVET effective and efficient.Finn Church aid enrolls a large project to boost TVET and calls representatives of the private sector to contact them.
Brother Bruno Amori from the South Sudan Catholic University shared his thoughts over “Complementary ways to educate and train people”. Brother Bruno helped us to understand the differences between education and training. Which was very helpful, since these words are often used interchangeable. He emphasized on the importance of practical education so that students can get the right skills to apply there knowledge once they find a job. After South Sudan became an independent country, many public and private secondary schools have been established as well as public and private universities. All for the purpose of developing the human capital needed by the new country. At the same time, South Sudan need development of education and science to reduce poverty and unemployment and to improve democratic development and social market economy.
Bruno also explained different ways to educate and train people and focused on the importance of internship where the private sector and schools are complementary. During the presentation it became very clear that TVET was not part of the educational ‘picture’ in South Sudan. To get enough manpower in a short period of time, there is an urgent need to find out how fast we can train people given to the limited resources in South Sudan. Difficult to find the solutions? Not for the small discussion groups.
Finally Mr. Matthew Simon, teacher at South Sudan Catholic University talked about “How to get the private sector into schools and visa versa”. Coordination failure was the key word of his presentation. Coordination failure can simply be explained as a situation in which one institution does not what is relevant to the growth of the other. And there we go! According to Matthew, schools should understand the knowledge and the skills needed by the private sector and train students towards that. This is not as difficult as it sounds. It has a lot to do with: opening up your schools and increasing your network. Matthew emphasized on initiatives taken up by the schools themselves; invite experts from companies as a guest facilitator during practicals, organize an academic tour to companies and organizations where students can have their internship, become aware of what skills are needed in different companies and organizations. The presentation was a plea to get schools inspired to get connected to the private sector. And the private sector? After such a plea? They should open their doors and start to cooperate.
Two rounds of discussions about the above mentioned topics took place. The discussions were in an open and positive atmosphere. The facilitator ordered that the result of each discussion should be one concrete idea that we, participants of the conference and specially the private sector, can do to help. The result was very encouraging. Indeed we can do something and we should not wait for anyone for what we can do ourselves.
This could be a successful end of the conference, but our facilitator Marina Versluis was not satisfied with such a product. What she and the Academy for Professional Development were aiming for was change!!!
Change will happened when people commit themselves with a goal to be achieved.
She challenged the participants to commit themselves to do and promote and work to make that concrete idea reality. She asked the participants to sign on that commitment which was written out on the wall of the conference hall.
Now, to talk about is one thing, but to commit is another, isn’t it?
As facilitators we hoped that we would get a few people organized to get things done.
However 80% of the participants committed themselves to improve/realize one or more of the ideas that we developed. How fantastic is that! The Academy for Professional Development commit themselves to the follow up of these ideas. Follow us and you will get to know about it soon.