Changing the TVET curriculum and up-skilling staff to support employability in a world of sustainable and inclusive development

This session was chaired by David Fullerton, Chair of the Office of Applied Research and Innovation (QARI), CNA-Q. Presentations were delivered by John Fien, Professor of Practice, School of Architecture and Urban Design, RMIT University, Australia and Robin Walters, Associate Dean of Industrial Trades, CNA-Q, Qatar.

Two Sides of a Coin: Curriculum Development and Professional Development
John Fien (RMIT University, Australia)

An overview of the philosophical position of centralization of the curriculum versus decentralization is presented. Centralization is a top-down approach which involves uniformity of curriculum and therefore holds a low risk of dissent. A philosophical position of decentralization argues that getting teachers and instructors involved in planning what they provide for students is preferable to giving them predetermined objectives, fixed curricula, common learning materials and inflexible assessment tasks. There are two major issues this poses. How do the colleges then meet standards laid by qualification frameworks? Can there be compromise and balance to ensure standards are met while at the same time ensuring education and training is locally relevant?
 A case is presented as to why decentralization improves the quality of learning outcomes. This is because learning becomes a process not a product. This means you can take into account many local conditions and issues including the diversity of learners, teacher preparation; social, economic and environmental context. A 21st century view of competencies is much more complex. It is not simply being able to perform the tasks that you were taught to do, but you must have the ability to explain the tasks. This links back to the threefold ‘Applied Competence’ framework (LeRoux,2001). A conclusion is drawn about the implications for quality curriculum decentralization and the need for quality teacher professional development.

Questions Facing TVET to Support Employability in a World of Sustainable and Inclusive Development
Robin Walters (CNA-Q, Qatar)

The presenter is working from the assumption that TVET is critically important to support employability. However, TVET is slow to respond and adjust to technological advancements and digital interruptions. There are pockets of best practice in existence – Germany, Canada, Australia, Hong Kong, Qatar; but how do we move beyond these pockets to a global standard?

There is a definite stigma attached to the trades. A Newfoundland example: if you were smart and you wanted to amount to anything, you go to university. If you weren't cut out for university, then you went to a technical school, or – if you were female – you went to a nursing school. If neither of these options were available to you, you could take a trade.


In reference to Educational pathways, the author related that the Technician Certificate Programme (TCP) students ask two questions: "How do I get to study at a university from the TCP?", and "What are my career pathways, how quickly will I advance from a technician to a supervisor or manager?" We need to facilitate the articulation to other programs and to industry partners. When we send students into the workplace for training, we must be cognizant of the fact that they may be working with people who were trained many years ago and whose skills and attitudes may be out of date. We need to upgrade old school classrooms to simulated working environments, labs, workplaces with real equipment.