Key Global Evidence: Education Delivery
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Education delivery targets specific areas in which provision of education needs to improve. It also illustrates some of the ways in which business is reacting to a perceived shortfall in the relevance of academic study to the needs of the marketplace.
The Quality Of Teachers
If we want to improve the quality and effectiveness of professional education, it is important teachers are fully trained first.
There are lots of examples of great teachers who are delivering quality content in dynamic and engaging ways. But we are not currently able to meet the higher demand for good teachers that accompanies rapid economic growth and the broadening of access to education.
Many countries are aware of the need to invest in teaching. Brazil, for example, is pursuing a significant programme of up-skilling. But more needs to be done. Teaching methods need to be reformed to accommodate more practical forms of teaching and learning. Classroom activities need to be focused on experiential activities. There also need to be more opportunities for interaction between learners and employers. This could take many forms but must be at the heart of professional education development.
No Collective Responsibility For Education Delivery
An exchange during the South African round-table meeting provided a revealing insight into one critical issue. One voice stated that it was not the job of schools to prepare people for work, with another responding to say that it was not the job of businesses to give people an education. The answer, it seems, lies somewhere in the middle.
Business and industry have to play a role if education is to meet the needs of the world's economies. The reality is that the vast majority of businesses - from corporations to SMEs - are already having a significant impact on the education of their own staff and to some extent their future workforce. The nature of this involvement is complex and varied. In many instances, business participation is optional. In Brazil, business participation in education is written into legislation. Elsewhere, companies are taking significant responsibility for educating their workforce because they believe their education system is letting them down.
Businesses are effectively replacing classroom teaching in many cases with their own high-quality, business-led training. Learners often receive far greater access to real-world experience. It is also much easier for a business to design and fine-tune content to ensure relevance.
This business initiative largely works in isolation from publicly funded education, however. Professional education typically starts when a candidate joins an organisation. In-house training is seen as part of a company's competitive edge, which means there is also a lack of cooperation within industry sectors. While in-house education and training can increase the skills pool, the lack of cooperation means that it has limited impact on the education system as a whole.
The necessary impact will only be felt once we develop economic and practical models for sharing the responsibility for professional education.
Quality Assurance Standards Are Lacking
In an increasingly fragmented marketplace, there is a greater need for recognised quality standards. Quality assurance is vital in promoting good practice and rewarding those who offer genuinely effective education programmes. It is also important for learners so they can be assured that the learning they undergo is of proven quality.
Ineffective In-work Education Programmes
Research shows that when individuals start work with skills gaps, these gaps tend to remain for some time. This suggests that many in-work education programmes are failing to deliver effective skills development. In some cases, the reason for persistent skills gaps is that many employers provide little or no education. Some employers see it as the role of the individual to up-skill themselves.
Part of the problem lies in the fact that there are few diagnostic techniques to identify an individual's skill needs. There is also evidence to suggest that many in-work education programmes are not linked to effective or validated assessment models.