Vous êtes sur la page 1sur 90


1)”Ethnographic research has emerged as an

important method to study international comparative
education scenario”.Discuss.
"When used as a method,
ethnography typically refers to fieldwork (alternatively,
participant-observation) conducted by a single investigator
who 'lives with and lives like' those who are studied, usually
for a year or more." --John Van Maanen, 1996.
"Ethnography literally means 'a portrait of a people.' An
ethnography is a written description of a particular culture -
the customs, beliefs, and behavior - based on information
collected through fieldwork." --Marvin Harris and Orna
Johnson, 2000.
"Ethnography is the art and science of describing a group or
culture. The description may be of a small tribal group in an
exotic land or a classroom in middle-class suburbia." --David
M. Fetterman, 1998.

Ethnography is a social science research method. It relies

heavily on up-close, personal experience and possible
participation, not just observation, by researchers trained in
the art of ethnography. These ethnographers often work in
multidisciplinary teams. The ethnographic focal point may
include intensive language and culture learning, intensive
study of a single field or domain, and a blend of historical,
observational, and interview methods. Typical ethnographic
research employs three kinds of data collection: interviews,
observation, and documents. This in turn produces three
kinds of data: quotations, descriptions, and excerpts of
documents, resulting in one product: narrative description.
This narrative often includes charts, diagrams and additional
artifacts that help to tell "the story" (Hammersley, 1990).
Ethnographic methods can give shape to new constructs or
paradigms, and new variables, for further empirical testing in
the field or through traditional, quantitative social science
Ethnography has it roots planted in the fields of
anthropology and sociology. Present-day practitioners
conduct ethnographies in organizations and communities of
all kinds. Ethnographers study schooling, public health, rural
and urban development, consumers and consumer goods,
any human arena. While particularly suited to exploratory
research, ethnography draws on a wide range of both
qualitative and quantitative methodologies, moving from
"learning" to "testing" (Agar, 1996) while research problems,
perspectives, and theories emerge and shift.
Ethnographic methods are a means of tapping local points of
view, households and community "funds of knowledge" (Moll
& Greenberg, 1990), a means of identifying significant
categories of human experience up close and personal.
Ethnography enhances and widens top down views and
enriches the inquiry process, taps both bottom-up insights
and perspectives of powerful policy-makers "at the top," and
generates new analytic insights by engaging in interactive,
team exploration of often subtle arenas of human difference
and similarity. Through such findings ethnographers may
inform others of their findings with an attempt to derive, for
example, policy decisions or instructional innovations from
such an analysis.

2)Discuss the various impacts of privatization and

liberalization on school education in India.

I n many ways, India provides an

excellent testing ground for hypotheses about privatization and
its impact, except that so far privatization has not been
attempted on a scale that researchers would like to see. The
country has a large, well- diversified public sector. Unlike many of
the transition economies, it also has a long tradition of private
enterprise, including big companies in the private sector,
although there are certain sectors in which private sector
participation is quite new, these sectors having been reserved
until recently for the public sector.
Privatization in India generally goes by the name of
‘disinvestment’ or ‘divestment’ of equity. This is because
privatization has thus far not meant transfer of control or even of
controlling interest from government to anybody else. The
government has sold stakes ranging from one per cent to 40% in
40 PSUs, but in no company has its stake fallen below the magic
figure of 51% which is seen as conferring controlling interest.

The privatization program is itself relatively new to the country. It

is part of an ambitious process of economic reforms covering
industry, trade, the financial sector and agriculture and also
involving a program of macro-economic stabilization focused on
the federal budget, which commenced in 1991.

Privatization is seen as a necessary concomitant of deregulation

of industry, necessary in order to enable firms in the public sector
to compete and survive in the new environment.

The major element in industrial deregulation has been the

Industrial Policy Statement of June 1991 which, among other
things, drastically reduced the number of sectors of industry
reserved for the public sector from 17 to eight. This list has since
been truncated to four: defence, atomic energy, specified
minerals and railway transport. Moreover, all the areas earlier
reserved for the public sector have also been exempted from the
system of industrial licensing under which the private sector was
required to obtain a license from the government in order to start
a business. This has naturally exposed the hitherto cossetted
public sector to competition on a scale to which it has not been
accustomed. Disinvestment, while raising revenues for the
government, has been perceived as necessary in order to subject
PSUs to market discipline and to ensure that they raise their
standards of performance.

Disinvestment of equity in 40 PSUs has raised about Rs12 billion

($ 2.8 bn) so far. Only profit-making enterprises have been
offered for sale. In the first round of disinvestment, the
government offered “bundles” of shares of various PSUs (each
bundle carrying a notional reserve price) to local institutions.
Later, the bidding process was opened to foreign institutional
investors and the public at large. The overwhelming chunk of
funds raised through disinvestment (Rs9.9 bn) has been through
the auction route. The method of disinvestment was widened in
1996-97 when disinvestment was effected through both the GDR
(Global depository receipts) route and public issue in the domestic

There have been several criticisms of the disinvestment process.

One is that valuations processes were unsound and that the
government gave away its stakes too cheaply; two, disinvestment
has been merely a revenue-raising affair for the government, with
little thought being given to the requirements of the firms
concerned; thirdly, it is contended that the government’s
reluctance to disinvest more than 51% and relinquish control over
PSUs has meant that the government has been unable to attract
suitably priced bids, as bidders do not believe the firms’
performance would improve significantly with small government
stakes being offloaded.

After the initial round of disinvestment in 1991-92, the process

was guided by recommendations made by a Committee on
Disinvestment set up in 1993. Later, realizing the sensitivity in
political terms of the whole process, the government constituted
in 1996 an independent body, the Disinvestment Commission
(note the reluctance to use the dreaded P-word), to draw up a
comprehensive programme of disinvestment over a 5-10 year
period for public sector undertakings (PSUs) referred to the
Commission by a Core Group of government secretaries. The
Commission was asked to advise on such matters as the extent of
disinvestment, the mode of disinvestment, selection of financial
advisors to facilitate the process etc.

The Disinvestment Commission has formulated a broad approach

to disinvestment and also made specific recommendations in
respect of 19 out of 50 PSUs referred to it by the Core Group. The
Commission has broadly distinguished between a “core” group
and “non-core “ group of industries. In the “core” group are
industries such as telecommunications, power, petroleum etc that
are capital-intensive and where the market structure could be an
oligopoply. The “core” group also includes basic industries in
which PSUs have a considerable market presence and in which
private sector presence is still limited. For the “core” group, the
Commission advocates selling government equity upto 49%, that
is, the government would retain 51% of equity. In the “non-core”
group, the Commission advocates sale of upto 74% of
government equity. As for the 19 PSUs for which the Commission
has made specific recommendations, these include strategic sale
of a large chunk of equity to a private party (domestic or foreign),
offer of shares to the public, outright sale and deferment of

Although the value of disinvestment in the last two or three years

has tended to flag and realizations have fallen short of targets
proposed in the annual budgets, there are signs that political
parties are willing to give a major push to privatization in the
coming years, which would include reduction in the government’s
stake in some PSUs to below 51%. One sign is the recent offer of
26% of equity in Indian

Petrochemicals Ltd (IPCL) through an advertisement placed in the

Economist; another is the equally bold move to sell of 76% equity
in the loss- making Modern Foods India Limited to a private party;
a third is the government’s recent announcement that it is willing
to sell 51% of its stake in Indian Airlines. These are all moves
announced by the current ruling coalition, whose most important
constitutent had been implacable opposed to reforms while in the

However, even as privatization gathers steam, there has been no

attempt so far to assess the impact on PSUs of different degrees
of disinvestment and to arrive at a judgement on the relative
merits of full and partial privatization.There are also unanswered
questions about how control over managers would be exercised in
instances where no dominant private owner emerges.

The question of governance has considerable relevance in the

Indian context. The Indian corporate sector falls into three broad
categories: state firms, MNCs and family-managed Indian
businesses. Government-owned financial institutions and banks
hold equity in companies, but they have thus far played a passive
role in companies except in extreme instances of mis-
management. Questions have been raised in the context of
privatization about the accountability of professional managers at
state firms, once the government’s stake falls below 51 per cent,
given that large, private institutional player that are crucial to
governance in the industrial economies are absent in the Indian

This question has not been widely addressed in the literature,

presumably because in the developed countries a certain
acceptable level of governance can be presumed. One of the
interesting findings of Frydman et al (1997), cited earlier, is that
the privatization effect is best manifested when there is one
dominant owner after privatization, whether it is a foreign owner,
a privatization fund, an individual owner or the state itself . Where
ownership is diffuse, as when ownership is distributed among
workers, the privatization impact is much weaker. This aspect
needs to be addressed in planning for future privatization.

We expect that our research will address this crucial aspect based
on the experience so far in the Indian context and also in other
contexts. All in all, the findings of our proposed study would be
timely and could conceivably make a valuable contribution to the
formulation of policy on future privatization.

3)What are the basic distinctions between India and

Japanese education system.Which features of Japanese
education system can be adopted and developed by Indian
Education System to enchance the quality of education.

The schooling years in the Japanese

education system are segmented along the lines of 6-3-3-4: 6
years of primary or elementary school; 3 years of middle or junior
high school; 3 years of high school; and 4 years of university.
However, the government has just announced (October 2005,
Daily Yomiuri) that it is intending to make changes in the
Education Law to allow schools to merge the 6-3 division between
elementary and middle schools. The key purpose for this change
is to allow elementary and middle schools to pool or share their
resources, with special regard to making available specialist
teachers of-middle-schools-to-elementary-schools.

Many private schools, however, offer a six year programme

incorporating both junior high school and high school. Specialised
schools may offer a five year programme comprising high school
and two years of junior college. There are two options for tertiary
education: junior college (two years) and university (four years).

A school year has three terms: summer, winter and spring, which
are each followed by a vacation period. The school year begins in
April and ends in March of-the-following-year.
An elementary school (from 6 years) and junior high school (3
years) education, i.e. nine years of schooling are considered
compulsory (see pages on legality of homeschooling).
This system, implemented by the School Education Law enacted
in March 1947 after WWII, owes its origin to the American model
6-3-3 plus 4 years of university. Many other features of the
Japanese educational system, are however, based on European-
models. Compulsory education covers elementary school and
junior high school. A break from the past, modern public schools
in Japan today are mostly co-ed(more than 99% of elementary


Japan has 23,633 elementary schools, 11,134 junior high schools,

5,450 senior high schools, 995 schools for the handicapped, 702
universities, 525 junior colleges, and 14,174 kindergartens (May
2003 figures). School attendance rate for the nine years of
compulsory education is 99.98%.

About 20.7 million students (May 2003 figures) were enrolled in

educational institutions in Japan from the kindergarten to
university levels.
Japanese children enter primary school from age 6. The average
class size in suburban schools is between 35-40 students, though
the national average had dropped to 28.4 pupils per class in
1995. 70% of teachers teach all subjects as specialist teachers
are rare in elementary schools. 23.6% of elementary school
students attend juku (mostly cozy family-run juku).

Suburban schools tend to be large with student populations

ranging from around 700 to over 1,000 pupils, while remote rural
schools (19% of schools) can be single-class-schools.

From age 12, children proceed to middle schools. At this point,

about 5.7% of students attend private schools. The main reasons
why parents choose such schools are high priority on academic
achievement or because they wish to take their children out of
the high school selection rat-race since such schools allow their
students direct entry into their affiliated high schools (and often
into the affiliated-universities).

2005 results of a survey-questionnaire sent to schools of 6th

grade parents in 2 Tokyo wards showed:

 Parents who select a private junior high school for their child
tend to be parents with time and economic influence (home-
makers or self-employed with one child) base their decisions
and place top priority on academic achievement. The most
common reason for sending their children to a private junior
high school was that they wanted their children to achieve a
higher level of academic achievement.
 Parents who select public junior high schools make their
choice on the basis of location, incidence of bullying, and
personal guidance. Among parents who selected a public
school outside the school district, 45% reported that a
particularly important criterion was little incidence of
bullying and truancy, indicating that bullying was a crucial
consideration. The most important criteria for these parents
in selection were distance to school, environment and
whether good friends also attended the school.

 A large percentage of parents (65.1%) tend to select the

school based on hearsay.

90.8% of the parents send their children to a juku or cram school,

and those whose children attended cram school four or more days
a week accounted for 65.2%.

98% of 15 year-old middle-school graduates go on to high schools

or private specialist institutions. A high-school diploma is a
considered the minimum for the most basic jobs in Japanese
societies. The rate of students who advance on to senior high
schools was 97.0% in 2002.

One-fourth of students attend private high schools, a small

number of which are elite academic high schools. Over 97% of
high-school students attend day high schools, about three-fourths
are enrolled in academic courses. Other students are enrolled in
the one or other of the 93 correspondence high schools or the 342
high schools that support correspondence courses.

There are 710 universities (not counting junior colleges). Almost

three-fourths of university students are enrolled at private
universities. The rate of students who went on to universities and
junior colleges was 44.8 %.

Special education institutions exist: 70 schools for the deaf

(rougakko); 107 for the blind (mougakko); 790 for those with
disabilities (yougogakko). This number is considered to be
High schools may be classed into one of the following types:

 Elite academic high schools collect the creme de la creme of

the student population and send the majority of its
graduates to top national universities.

 Non-elite academic high schools ostensibly prepare students

for less prestigious universities or junior colleges, but in
reality send a large number of their students to private
specialist schools (senshuugakko), which teach subjects
such as book-keeping, languages and computer
programming. These schools constitute mainstream high

 Vocational High Schools that offer courses in commerce,

technical subjects, agriculture, homescience, nursing and
fishery. Approximately 60% of their graduates enter full-time

 Correspondence High Schools offers a flexible form of

schooling for 1.6% of high school students usually those who
missed out on high schooling for various reasons.

 Evening High School which used to offer classes to poor but

ambitious students who worked while trying to remedy their
educational deficiencies. But in recent times, such schools
tend to be attended by little-motivated members of the
lowest two percentiles in terms of academic achievement.

 political hot potato that is the history textbook controversy.

Educational Reform & Other Current Issues

More than 90% of all students graduate from high school and 40%
from university or junior college. 100 % of all students complete
elementary school and Japan is repeatedly said to have achieved
100% literacy and to have the highest literacy rate in the world
since the Edo period.

The Japanese educational system has been highly regarded by

many countries and has been studied closely for the secrets to
the success of its system, especially in the years before the
economic bubble burst. However, following the bursting of the
bubble and the ensuing decade of recession, a number of issues
have come under scrutiny both at home and abroad.


Japan has already begun to experience a population decline, with

the result that many universities are already having difficulty
maintaining their student populations, although entry into top
ranks of the universities remains hugely competitive. The
emerging and foreseeable trend is that many universities will
have to try to attract large numbers of foreigners or diversify or
face closure. It is also now said that a university education in
Japan is within easier reach of students today, but that the quality
of that higher education is now in question despite the many
educational reforms that have been set in motion.

In his book Challenges to Higher Education: University in

Crisis Professor Ikuo Amano noted that the critical public is far
from being satisfied with these series of reforms. The reason is
that the selection process of old for entry to the so-called 'first-
tier universities' remains fundamentally unchanged. That is, there
has been nothing done to ameliorate the entrance war for entry
into these most notoriously difficult to enter institutions that are
at the nucleus of an examination based on numerous subjects.
Furthermore, in a society that places more importance on
'credentialization' or labelization or branding (gakkooreki) of the
name of the school from which one graduates, than on simply
possessing a university education, no matter how much the
selection process of the university applicants is reformed,
students will continue to strive to enter a small number of 'top-
tier' or 'brand-name' universities (gakureki) and the severe
examination war will not disappear. In this sense, the university
entrance reform is a permanent issue for Japanese universities.

Each academic year begins in April and comprises of two

semesters. Basic general degrees are four-year degrees, a feature
adapted from the American system. Undergraduate students
receive instruction via the lecture and seminar group method. The
general degree may be followed by two-year Master's degrees
(generally a combination of lectures and guided research) and
then a three year Doctorate (largely based on research) where
these are offered.

Graduate education in Japan is underdeveloped compared to

European countries and the United States with only slightly more
than 7 percent of Japanese undergraduates going on to graduate
school as compared to 13 percent of American undergraduates.
Postgraduate educational offerings are weak and the number of
universities offering postgraduate programmes or a wide variety
of programmes, is small, compared to that in other industrialized
western countries.

Japan has about three million students enrolled in 1,200

universities and junior colleges and consequently the second
largest higher educational system in the developed world. Japan
also has one of the largest systems of private higher education in
the world. The 710 odd universities in Japan can be separated into
3 categories: highly competitive, mildly competitive and non-
competitive (the schools that are first-tier being the infamously
difficult to enter ones). Public universities are generally more
prestigious than their private ones with only 25 percent of all
university-bound students being admitted to public universities.

More than 65 percent of high school graduates continue their

studies; of these, over 70 percent are enrolled in private colleges
and universities. Only about 10 percent of private institutions
receive their financial resources from public funding, with most
public funds on higher education being spent on the national and
local public universities. Despite the impressive statistics,
Japanese universities are considered to be the weakest link in the
country's educational system.

While many western writers have, time and time again, attributed
the economic success of Japan to the well-educated and highly
literate population of Japan, recent writings and studies tend to be
far more critical, lamenting the deplorable state and quality of
higher education in Japan today. Despite the famed exam rigors
and competitiveness, declining standards in education and the
high school student's lack of interest in studying have lately been
under spotlight. Some attribute this disinterestedness to the fact
that academic effort no longer assured automatic rewards with
the disintegration in the formerly stable and guaranteed lifetime
employment system.

Japanese students are also widely known to traditionally consider

their university days to be a social playground, a reward for the
hard work and having made it there, and, as many critics have
recently pointed, professors demand relatively little from their
students. Brian McVeigh in his book Japanese Higher Education
as Myth indicts the local university system as a de facto system
of employment agencies or at best a waiting room before
students hit the assembly line working world.

Despite the institutional change and sweeping national reforms

underway in response to these criticisms, the key problems
remain unresolved: the pyramidal-structure of the university
system and entrance exam wars; the centrally-controlled
curriculum and lack of individuality and creativity of students as
well as the lack of competitiveness in educational suppliers.



This model, built around the studies of

thinking conducted by Bruner, Goodnow, and Austin (1967). It is
designed to help students learn concepts for organizing
information and to help them become more effective at learning
concepts. It includes an efficient method for presenting organized
information from a wide range of areas of study to students of
every stage of development.

During the last twenty years this model, formulated by David
Ausubel (1963), has become one of the most researched in the
information-processing family. It is designed to provide students
with a cognitive structure for comprehending material presented
through lectures, readings, and other media. It has been
employed with almost every conceivable content and with
students of every age. It can be easily combined with other
models-for example, when presentations are mixed with inductive


This model is closely linked to the Inductive Model. The Concept

Attainment Model also suggests that learners construct their own
comprehension of the lesson. This model is designed to help
students reinforce their understanding of concepts and practice
hypothesis testing. However, if Inductive Model solely rely on the
positive examples that represent the concept, this model utilizes
both the examples and non- examples to illustrate the concepts.
Since hypothesis testing is particularly common to describe
scientific method; therefore, it is useful in the sciences. This
model is designed to lead students to a concept by asking them
to compare and contrast


A concept has four elements:

Understanding a concept means knowing all of its elements.

Thename is the term given to a category. Fruit, dog, government,

ghetto are all names given to a class of experiences, objects,
configurations, or processes. Although the items commonly
grouped together in a single category may differ from one
another in certain respects (dogs, for example, vary greatly), the
common features cause them to be referred to by the same
general term. Often we teach ideas that students already know
intuitively without knowing the name itself. For instance, young
children often put pictures of fruit together for the reason that
they are "all things you can eat." They are using one
characteristic to describe the concept instead of the name or
label. If students know a concept, however, they can easily learn
the name for it, and their verbal expressions will be more

The second element,ex amples, refers to instances of the

concept. Part of knowing a concept is recognizing positive
instances of it and also distinguishing closely related but negative
examples. The positive exemplars have something in common in
the work they do in the sentence. The negative exemplars do
different work.

The third and fourth elements of a concept areattributes and

attribute value. Essential attributes are the common features or
characteristics that cause us to place examples in the same
category. Exemplars contain nonessential attributes as well.
Although in the supermarket we often see a sign with the price
per pound beside each type of fruit, we know that this sign does
not play a role in distinguishing fruit from other foods or objects.
We can refer to cost as a nonessential attribute of

fruit as it appears in the market. Most concepts have attributes

that are often associated with them, but are not essential to them
(women's tennis socks, for example, frequently have tassels).
Again, part of knowing a concept is distinguishing its essential
attributes from its nonessential ones.


Phase one involves presenting data to the learner. Each unit of
data is a separate example or non example of the concept. The
units are presented in pairs. The data may be events, people,
objects, stories, pictures, or any other discriminable units. The
learners are informed that there is one idea that all the positive
examples have in common; their task is to develop a hypothesis
about the nature of the concept. The instances are presented in a
prearranged order and are labeled "yes" or "no." Learners are
asked to compare and justify the attributes of the different
examples. (The teacher or students may want to maintain a
record of the attributes.) Finally, they are asked to name their
concepts and state the rules or definitions of the concepts
according to their essential attributes. (Their hypotheses are not
confirmed until the next phase; students may not know the
names of some concepts but the names can be provided hen the
concepts are confirmed.)

In phase two, the students test their attainment of the concept,

first by correctly identifying additional unlabeled examples of the
concept and then by generating their own examples. After this
the teacher (and students) confirm or disconfirm their original
hypotheses, revising their choice of concepts or attributes as
In phase three, students begin to analyze the strategies by
which they attain concepts. As we have indicated, some learners
initially try broad constructs and gradually narrow the field; others
begin with more discrete constructs. The learners can describe
their patterns: whether they focused on attributes or concepts,
whether they did so one at a time or several at once, and what
happened when their hypotheses were not confirmed,will depend
on the learners' desire to integrate it with prior knowledge, on
their critical faculties, and on the teacher's presentation and
organization of the material.


The teacher's solicited or unsolicited responses to the learners'

reactions will be guided by the purpose of clarifying the meaning
of the new learning material differentiating it from and reconciling
it with existing knowledge making it personally relevant to the
students, and helping to promote a critical approach to
knowledge. Ideally, students will initiate their own questions in
response to their own drives for meaning.


Well-organized material is the critical support requirement of this

model. The effectiveness of the advance organizer depends on an
integral and appropriate relationship between the conceptual
organizer and the content. This model provides guidelines for
building (or reorganizing) instructional materials.
SummaryChart: Advance Organizer Model
Phase One:
Presentation of Advance Organizer
Clarify aims of the lesson.
Present organizer:
Identify defining attributes.


Prompt awareness of learner's relevant knowledge and

Phase Two:
Presentation of Learning Task or Material

Make logical order of learning material explicit.

Phase Three:
Strengthening Cognitive Organization

Use principles of integrative reconciliation.

Promote active reception learning.
Elicit critical approach to subject matter.


In role playing, students explore human-relations problems by

enacting problem situations and then discussing the enactments.
Together, students can explore feelings, attitudes, values, and
problem-solving strategies. Several individuals have
experimented with role playing, and their treatments of the
strategy are remarkably similar. This version was formulated by
Fannie and George Shaftel (1967).

Role playing as a model of teaching has roots in both the personal

and social
dimensions of education. It attempts to help individual’s find
personal meaning
within their social worlds and to resolve personal dilemmas with
the work together in analyzing social situations, especially
interpersonal problems, and in developing decent and democratic
ways of coping with these situations. Role playing is placed in the
social family of models because the social group plays such an
indispensable part in human development and because of the
unique opportunity that role playing offers for resolving
interpersonal and social dilemmas.

On its simplest level, role playing is dealing with problems

through action; a problem is delineated, acted out, and discussed.
Some students are role players; others observe. A person puts
himself or herself in the position of another person and then tries
to interact with others who are also playing roles. As empathy,
sympathy, anger, and affection are all generated during the
interaction, role playing, if done well, becomes a part of life. This
emotional content, as well as the words and the actions, become
part of the later analysis. When the acting out is finished, even
the observers are involved enough to want to know why each
person reached his or her decision, what the sources of resistance
were, and whether there were other ways this situation could
have been approached. The essence of role playing is the
involvement of participants and observers in a real problem
situation and the desire for resolution and understanding that this
involvement engenders.
The role playing process provides a live sample of human
behavior that serves as a vehicle for students to:
(1) Explore their feelings;
(2) Gain insights into their attitudes, values, and perceptions;
(3) Develop their problem-solving skills and attitudes; and
(4) Explore subject matter in varied ways.

The Shaftel’s version of role playing emphasizes the intellectual

content as much as the emotional content; analysis and
discussion of the enactment are as important as the role playing
itself. We, as educators, are concerned that students recognize
and understand their feelings and see how their feelings influence
their behavior.




With the emergence of each major communication technology,

Canada has played a prominent role in its development. The
nation’s geographical vastness has caused it to attach particular
importance to the educational development of its communities,
and, unlike other countries of a comparable size, Canada has
been blessed with the funds to explore the uses of information
technology for this purpose. In the late 1990s, however, Canada’s
advantages are no longer as distinctive in this respect as they
once were. Educational organizations in the developing world are
rapidly becoming as well endowed with technology as Canada and
are looking with cautious optimism on the educational
opportunities of the Internet and multimedia. They are also
looking to Canadians to share the benefits of their experience to
help them to harness the new media effectively. This chapter will
consider the ways Canada can work profitably with international
partners to realize educational technology’s potential. It will
examine the problems of maintaining the techniques and skills
demanded by the educational media and the disappointments
with which the history of educational technology is littered. It is
hopedthat by the time the chapter is read, the Internet and other computer-based
multimedia will not have gone the way of the dodo as so many other educational
technologies have done — wasted through unimaginative use and squandered
through mismanagement.

Teaching the global village

One of Canada’s first advantages in the modern age of

information technology was its good fortune to have as favourite
sons two of the most notable communications theorists of this
century: Harold Innis and Marshall McLuhan. Both thinkers drew
attention to, inter alia, the global importance of media in
communications. From the 1920s to the 1950s, Innis placed an
interesting emphasis on the powers of transportation media to
unite and transform culture (Innis 1950), and, in the 1960s,
McLuhan led the world to think about the impact of the print and
electronic media as no other contemporary thinker had done
previously (McLuhan 1962, 1964; McLuhan et al. 1967). He
suggested that the media would put an effective girdle around
the globe, transforming it into a “global village,” and he identified
the contribution of the media themselves to the messages they
convey. In fact, Innis had been even more specific on this
question than McLuhan, in stressing that the impact of a
technology arises from the techniques associated with it. Both of
these influential Canadians made it self-evidently clear that media
techniques would, if misused, fail as often as they succeed in
delivering their intended messages.
If there is one type of technologist who should be particularly
aware of the possibility of messages being misunderstood, it is
the one who applies media in education. To the detriment of
many educational technologists, however, they have failed to
take the teachings of McLuhan and Innis to heart, blinkered as
they tend to be by the exciting, even if unproven, possibilities of
each new medium. They may actually have been encouraged in
this optimistic attitude by McLuhan’s prophesy of the global
village. However, as any other son of a small-town Alberta
community, McLuhan surely must have realized that this village
would not be all harmony and caring; indeed, the global
community soon discovered that the culture created by the
broadcast media was as much one of warfare and pain as of

Thirty years later, despite McLuhan’s prediction, the media have

proven no more successful in creating a dominant educational
perspective for the globe than they have been in creating any
other form

of universal enlightenment. But in the 1990s, this may be

changing. A new medium has emerged with such cost-
effectiveness and universality that it promises a greater level of
international understanding than any previous medium. The
Internet has taken over from television as the most powerful
information technology.

One of McLuhan’s observations about television indirectly

explains the Internet’s current potential. McLuhan observed that
television was, at that time, the one medium powerful enough to
carry all the others. Broadcast television, McLuhan pointed out, is
capable of carrying all types of aural and visual information. It
conveys sound, colour, light, shade, movement, the human voice,
and the images of all other media. When McLuhan noted this, no
other medium could claim the same ability. In the mid-1990s,
however, the Internet began to assert itself as a new medium
capable of carrying all the others, television included. In the next
10 years, television and the Internet will doubtless merge into
one, and the hybrid will be a new supermedium for the next
generation. The debates about its appropriate use, however, will
be the same as those that people have waged regarding the use
of any communication medium for centuries.

Before television was the printing press, a source of controversial

material from its inception. Before that, the “word” was carried by
traveling actors and minstrels, whose messages were considered
every bit as pernicious as any TV program or pop song today. In
the 1890s, cigarette-card collecting was held to be a similar
danger to society, filling the minds of its male youth with no good
thoughts for hours on end. Interest in every medium and pastime
yet invented — snooker, pool, television, video games, and now
the Internet — has been regarded as a sign of a misspent youth
at one time or another. Yet, no medium is better or worse than
the content it conveys and the uses to which it is put. To those
who happily watched TV wrestling or sorted cigarette cards with
their fathers on a weekend afternoon, the gratifications yielded by
these media were unbeatable.

In the 1970s, the “uses and gratifications” of media became a

major criterion in the scholarly assessment of their social value
(Blumler and Katz 1974). At the same time, in the educational
corner of media communications, evidence was amassed about
the subtle impact of various media production techniques.
Canada took an international lead in the design of effective
techniques and processes for television’s use, not merely at the
broadcast level, but also in the service of Canada’s many isolated
communities. Canadian film and video specialists took their
cameras to record material in remote communities across the
country, north and south, for use in educationaland social
programs. Two of the most influential of these early programs
were the “Challenge for Change” program, created by the
National Film Board of Canada, and the “Fogo Process” of
Memorial University in Newfoundland (Gwyn 1972). The
techniques they developed generated a new international
awareness of the potential of media in community development.
Canada’s example in this respect has since been followed on
every continent and has demonstrated that the techniques of the
traveling player–educator are as effective in the late 20th century
as they were in medieval days and as powerful when assisted by
a video camera as when accompanied by a strummed lute.
Numerous pioneering Canadian technologies have assisted in this
process. In the 1980s and 1990s, for example, the Teledon and
Alex systems both promised to bring useful audiovisual
information, on demand, into homes and workplaces across the
land. Unfortunately, each of these systems failed in the
marketplace for want of adequate updated content. Other
Canadian innovations, including some of the early pay-TV
enterprises of the 1980s, failed because they were either too
expensive or too esoteric, or not esoteric enough. In short,
Canada has had no shortage of innovative flair in the media and
communications field and plenty of disappointments, and it has
demonstrated a distinctive theoretical and practical expertise in
the use of every information technology yet devised.

The collective wisdom about the reasons for Canada’s

adventurous spirit in the communications industry points to the
following factors:

• The nation’s vast political landmass, second largest in the

• The absolute need to surmount the communications and
cultural problems that the vast landmass has created; and
• The pioneering flair that brought many nations together as

The unusual range of the nation’s educational-media experience,

from urban to rural, has taught that effective education is as
much a matter of communication process as of product, which is
an understanding more commonly found in nations that cannot
afford teaching tools as expensive as television or the computer
but have become ingenious in using far simpler devices. In more
affluent nations, teachers are apt to move on from one promising
medium to

the next, after their first failures to use it properly, a tendency

that leads them to overlook the possible reasons for

• Their own failure to adopt the appropriate applications;

• Their own failure to create adequate resources to supply the
medium with effective content; and
• Their own failure to account for the classroom processes
needed to enable students to efficiently interpret this

For example, at a recent media conference (held, incidentally, on

the Internet), some Americans and Canadians decided that
educational television is a medium manqué and that the tool of
choice is now the Internet (World Bank 1996). But if educators
have failed to make efficient use of the rich television medium
over the years, can they have any greater hopes of harnessing
the Internet? If they heed the lessons of their previous successes
and failures, they may succeed, however, as even a cynic would
have to admit that the Internet has some new advantages.

The Internet as a supermedium

The Internet is the first medium to allow unimpeded, interactive

access to information from anywhere in the world that has a
supply of electricity. A computer with Internet software can be run
from the cigarette-lighter socket of a jeep in the fields of Africa as
easily as on the streets of New York (Baggaley 1997). It can
communicate by increasingly inexpensive satellite means from
either of these locales to the other. The Internet can bring live
music and comment from the radio stations of the world to one’s
desktop; with a little extra effort, it can carry the images of
television and can be carried on it. It allows the world’s students
and teachers to share information previously inaccessible to
them; and distance-education programs and institutions are
developing around this concept on every continent. On this basis,
the “developed” and “developing” worlds are drawing nearer to
one another with remarkable speed, and Canadian scholars who
take sabbatical leave in parts of the developing world are shocked
to find that the facilities there are often superior to those of their
own universities back home. This lament is heard increasingly as
Canada’s educational institutions continue to suffer through their
1990s’ era of relative economic hardship. They hope to emerge
fromthis low point with new structures and priorities in place and
new methods to attract a wider student revenue base.
For this purpose, Canadian educational institutions are extolling,
almost in unison, the benefits of online and distance-based course
delivery and the Internet’s unique ability to carry it. However,
even the largest of universities do not possess the ability to
implement an online strategy overnight. The pedagogical
approaches of traditional institutions do not readily lend
themselves to media delivery, and the institutions themselves
often lack a cohesive view of the steps they need to take in
developing or converting their courses for this purpose. For
example, one Canadian university recently stated that it needed
to increase student numbers to augment revenues and fulfill its
obligation to offer degree certifications to students in remote
parts of the province. To achieve this, faculty members
throughout the university recognized the importance of
developing distance-education courses for delivery by television
and the Internet. A need for university cuts, however, led
simultaneously to the closure or restructuring of programs
throughout the university, including the one department with the
human resources needed to create the required mass of distance-
based course materials. The lack of shared institutional
perspective among the university’s administration and faculty led
to the abandonment of its distance-education plan, although it
was identical to schemes bringing new revenues into universities
and colleges across the continent.

If the educational institutions succeed in creating a technological

infrastructure for their course delivery, they still face the hurdle of
generating a continuous supply of effective teaching materials.
The current demise of educational television as a popular
institutional medium is largely due to the unforeseen complexity
of its production process and the inordinate amounts of time and
resources needed to produce an adequate supply of programing.
The challenge of placing educational programs on the Internet will
be no less taxing. A teacher who has been accustomed to
entering a classroom and lecturing extempore can be shocked to
find that delivery at a distance requires all course materials to be
prepared in advance, not just the classroom handouts, but also a
text containing the spoken words and illustrations, for each
lecture. If the only adequate medium for teaching a particular
topic is television, the teacher may also be challenged to produce
a fully featured videotape for every class; and even with the
assistance of an expert institutional media service, producing this
can tax the time and patience of the greatest media enthusiast.

In addition, the materials have to be kept up to date, and

copyright clearance needs to be secured for the use of every
passage, picture, or diagram created by other authors. At present,
copyright clearance of course materials for electronic delivery is
by no means automatic (see the next section), and teachers may
be unable to use many of their favourite slides and quotations
when they move their materials online. In general, effective
distance education involves far more work for the teachers than
might be expected. Even institutions with a specific distance-
education mandate are feeling the pressures that online delivery
creates. For example, a 1998 survey at Florida Gulf Coast
University revealed that a majority of faculty are distinctly
opposed to its use in their teaching. “The problem,” the faculty
members said, “is that teaching via the Internet — using e-mail,
chat rooms and other electronic means — is a demanding
proposition for professors . . . because of the large majority of
student–teacher contacts” (McKinnon 1998, p. F1). Indeed, the
addition of technological bases for teaching seems to have given
rise to an assumption that teachers can now return to the time-
honoured one-on-one model. However, to the teachers of Florida
State and elsewhere, this is clearly no less time consuming and
unrealistic via distance media than via conventional means.

Ironically, teachers who have not experienced the logistic burden

that educational automation involves are apt to voice the
opposite fear, that information technologies will make them
redundant. Robertson stated that by 2000, students would be
learning with the help of “virtual communities,” smart agents, and
mentor networks and that without schools to staff, teachers would
no longer be necessary (Robertson 1998). The vocal opposition
that this prospect is likely to generate will be sufficient to sink
many distance-education efforts, whatever the merits of the
opposing arguments.
It is to be hoped that moderation will prevail and that solid
evaluation studies will lead to a sensible harnessing of the new
media. By 2000, Internet technology will be capable of providing
untold new advantages: transmitting, for example, a high-quality,
live audiovisual image of the teachers themselves, thereby
allowing them to combine personal and impersonal forms of
distance-based teaching as appropriate. At this point, the wheel
of invention will have come full circle, and if we are not careful,
the new media will be used as unimaginatively as educational
television was used in the 1970s. The 1990s’ conception of the
Internet will be discarded, as was an earlier conception of
television, as being too full of poor programing and advertising to
be educationally respectable. Last-ditch attempts will be

made to share Internet programing among higher education

institutions, but this move will be resisted as faculty members
point out that other institutions’ materials are inappropriate for
their students. The main users of the Internet for information
delivery will be the corporate sector, which will continue to
develop extremely efficient training materials distributed via CD-
ROM and other multimedia delivered on the Internet and the
World Wide Web.

It is in the commercial sector where the Internet’s most prized

ability will be maximized: its ability to enable all sides of a
communication link to interact. The lack of effective interactivity
was television’s major limitation. Phone-in programs and talk-
shows were the best it could achieve by way of audience
participation, however much its producers and presenters longed
for it. The Internet, however, will make each medium it carries
fully interactive. Managers on the road and in the air will
videoconference with hundreds of staff members at their desks;
families and friends will unite around the world for fireside chats
on each others’ television sets; and teachers will begin to use
educational technologies in a new way, not as a means to
produce old-style productions, but as a forum for interactive
communication. If the function of media is seen as being to
generate communication processes, rather than products, the
Internet may become a completely cost-effective, interactive
medium, capable of linking teachers and students as effectively
at a distance as in the classroom. Otherwise, the old mistakes will
be repeated, and the virtues of the Internet will be forgotten in
the excitement of a new wave of information media. If the history
of educational technology holds true, the Internet will be far from
the supermedium it promises to be.

The international move to distance education

However, Canada can play a major role in anticipating the pitfalls

of media-based education and helping to optimize its
international benefits. Canadians can advise on the use of new
media, such as the Internet, just as they did previously in
identifying techniques for the use of video and film in remote
communities of Newfoundland, Saskatchewan, and the Canadian
north. Knight (1995) indicated that Canadian universities are
increasingly aware of, and interested in, opportunities for
international collaboration, and they rate international
development projects highly (fifth out of 18) among their priorities
for international collaboration. As other nations establish the
technological infrastructures for development projects, Canada

can help to make them work and, in the process, learn about the
innovative educational applications of low-technology media
developed by less affluent nations before acquiring the means for
high-technology education. In educational collaborations involving
the Internet — which all nations are discovering more or less
simultaneously — the gap between “developed” and “developing”
will speedily close, and the international benefits will be

Of particular value in this respect is the fact that Canada is home

to world-leading institutions that have delivered their courses by
communications technologies since the early 1970s. Quebec’s
Telé-Université and the Athabasca University of Alberta are small
organizations by comparison with the “mega” distance-education
universities of other countries (Daniel 1997), but they have been
in operation for longer than most of their larger cousins and are
no less adept at survival. They can each give ample advice on
how they designed and sustain their infrastructures for producing
high-quality teaching materials, and they can also apply their
experience of bringing effective media education to remote and
underprivileged communities as they show newer institutions how
to avoid the cardinal sin of educational technology: its tendency
to polarize society into “haves” and “have-nots.” This particular
danger of technology-based education is well recognized by
educators at distance-education institutions, especially those with
an open-learning mandate.




Convergence refers both to the consolidation of

information into a small number of sources, like Google, and the
evolution of multi-functional hardware to handle this information,
like the iPhone. Convergence technologies are meant to make our
lives easier. They are certainly having an impact on post-
secondary education. But at what cost? In an age where individual
software and hardware have a myriad of functions in educational
and daily life, educators and media commentators are
questioning whether the convergence trend is healthy. This article
considers first the impact of convergence on education, nationally
and at Dartmouth. It then takes a fanciful look at what might
happen if we let convergence go too far. Convergence Technology
Consulting has performed a number of virtualization, enterprise
storage and Microsoft based solutions for local, county, college,
and university entities. As enrollment increases, budgets seem to
be decreasing, or are at least being stretched further than ever
before. To this end, many school systems have turned to
Convergence to provide education virtualization.

The education IT consulting that Convergence has provided

before has ranged from a single charter to entire county school
systems, and includes large nationally accredited universities.
While each school system is different, Convergence’s core
competencies of virtualization, Microsoft services and enterprise
storage are all primary skills that contribute to improving school
network infrastructure, and education virtualization
projects.echnological institutions, whether they be a university or a multinational
corporation, increasingly are beginning to focus on the convergence of

But this convergence has a broader reach than convergence of technologies.

Convergence is occurring in education. Convergence is marking the global
marketplace. And convergence is occurring among peoples and among cultures.
This said, convergence becomes a force that is beginning to affect and to undergird
most of human endeavor.
Convergence speaks to the way various elements play off of each other, inform
each other, change each other, and ultimately form a synergy creating what is new.
I hope that my observations about convergence may find relevance with you as you
lead a global business in a global marketplace in a global world.

This new world, we hardly need be reminded, is global and multidisciplinary. It is

evolving new configurations and relationships between and among nations,
peoples, cultures, philosophies, values, governments. No longer are we contending,
for instance, with a single, geographic "adversary," as was the case throughout the

Our new "opponents" are what we might call "threats without borders" — SARS
and AIDS, for instance, or forest fires, power blackouts (Northeast USA, Italy, and
Switzerland), global warming and species extinction, of course, "terrorism," and
the myriad challenges of a significant segment of global population without
sufficient food, education, and health care.

Convergence, in all of its meanings, both drives and derives from all of these
trends. Tonight, I would like to speak of convergence within the context of
research, of education, of cultures.

Convergence in Research — the Golden Triangle

Let me begin with research. Much thought of those

involved in research occurs within the context called the Golden Triangle of
research encompassing Information technology — Biotechnology —
Take three events which have occurred within the last three months:

• On November 12, IBM held an industry leadership forum in

San Francisco where the focus was on "on-demand"
computing, the ability to receive computing cycles, and their
attendant capabilities, at the time and to the extent that
they are needed.
• In September, Dr. Elias A. Zerhouni, Director of the National
Institutes of Health (NIH), laid out a series of far-reaching
initiatives known as the NIH Roadmap for Medical Research.
It is intended to transform the nation's medical research
capabilities and to speed the movement of research
discoveries to improve health.
• And, on November 25, Congress sent to the President the
21st Century Nanotechnology Research and Development
Act of 2003, establishing the National Nanotechnology
Initiative and authorizing nearly $4 billion over the next four
years for research and development in this evolving field.

And so, each of these events represents one leg of the three
elements of the Golden Triangle of Research: Information
technology — Biotechnology — Nanotechnology.

Each of these three research "legs" represents a convergence,

itself, of inter- and multi-disciplinary forces in and of themselves,
creating new discoveries and often, new science.

It is not likely that I need to define the three "legs" of the golden
triangle of research for this audience, but as a scientist, I am
aware that it is important that we start on common ground.

• Information technology: Information Technology (IT)

encompasses all technologies used to create, exchange,
store, mine, analyze, and evaluate data in its multiple forms
— including some not yet conceived of. It is the technology
that is driving "the information revolution," and is the driving
force in every industry today — transforming most, and
enabling new areas of research.
• Biotechnology: Aspects of biotechnology play a part in
research endeavors from brewing beer to developing insect-
resistant crops to cloning. Using the basic components of life
(such as a yeast cell or a length of DNA), biotechnology
techniques can create new products and new manufacturing
• Nanotechology: Nanotechnology is the science of
manipulating and characterizing matter at the atomic and
molecular levels. It is one of the most exciting scientific
fronts today, and considered by many to be the next
industrial revolution. It is an area of scientific discovery with
the potential to enable a wealth of innovative technologies in
medicine, information technologies, energy production,
national defense and security, food, agriculture, aerospace,
manufacturing, and sustainable environments.


The concept of convergence, of course, has

been used in recent times to characterize what is happening in
information technology. Convergence, in this context, entails the
merging of data, voice, and video infrastructure. This will allow for
new functionality and new opportunities.

• There continues to be an explosion of data. One estimate is

that we have increased the total amount of world wide
production of original information by 69 percent in just the
last three years. This creates unique challenges in storage,
in synthesis, in analysis, in mining and utility.
• There will be huge demand for distributed sensors in large
systems, local control, and global monitoring. For example,
there are many who believe that this year's Northeast
Blackout could have been prevented with better distributed
sensors, monitoring, and control systems.
• "On demand" computing is the trend towards "utility
computing." Similar to an electrical appliance that receives
electricity on demand when plugged into the grid, utility
computing will allow computing cycles and information
transfer when plugged into network.
• Emerging from an undercurrent in the gaming industry will
be a trend toward more and more systems and algorithms
being massively parallel, allowing much cheaper
components (e.g., gaming systems, simple processors, etc.)
to be deployed in very large arrays.
• Smart networks — networks, themselves, will have much
more intelligence than in previous generations and thus will
enable grid computing (and on-demand computing).
• Certainly, distributed development and leveraging resources
is a central theme — open source software whose underlying
instruction set is open for public inspection and modification.
• Biometrics integrated bio/IT devices for convenience, IDs,
etc. There are other examples which illustrate the
ubiquitousness of IT. Technology alone is not enough.

At the IBM Leadership conference in San Francisco, GE CEO

Jeffrey R. Immelt emphasized the need for improvements in both
information AND process. (6 sigmabeyond)

The promise of improved technologies and life-enhancing
discoveries has prompted the federal government to invest in
Golden Triangle research.
In September, Dr. Elias A. Zerhouni, Director of the National
Institutes of Health (NIH), laid out the NIH Roadmap for Medical

Dr. Zerhouni, who became NIH director in May of 2002, early on

convened a series of meetings to identify both the major
opportunities and the gaps facing 21st century biomedical
research. It was an exercise in convergence since there were
many areas that no single Institute at NIH could tackle alone. The
resulting road map is a strategic approach to biomedical research
that will have great impact on the health of all Americans.

The roadmap features 28 initiatives under three main themes:

• The need to understand complex biological systems;

• The need for scientists to move beyond the confines of their
own discipline and to explore new organizational models for
team science;
• The need for the scientific community to recast, entirely, the
system of clinical research to develop new partnerships
among organized patient communities, community-based
physicians and academic researchers.

Over the years, clinical research has become more difficult to

conduct. However, the exciting basic science discoveries currently
being made demand that clinical research continue and even
expand, while at the same time improve efficiency and better
inform basic science efforts.

Biotechnology research enables, e.g. functional tissue

engineering which studies the properties and functions of living
tissue with the goal of creating replacement tissues and organs
that augment or substitute for damaged tissue. Such
replacements may include combinations of inert and
biological/physiological materials. A longer term goal is to develop
the ability to monitor bone, blood flow, cartilage, ligaments, and
arteries and to give sufficient warning for preventative or
regenerative medicine. Another biotechnology research area
involves Integrative Systems Biology — a quantitative modeling of
complex biosystems at the molecular, cellular, tissue, and
systems scales. Mathematical formulations of molecular, genetic,
and metabolic processes underlying cellular behavior link to new
types of experimental methods and approaches. Other elements
are Biocomputation and Bioinformatics and Biocatalysis and
Metabolic Engineering

The biotechnology industry has more than tripled in size since

1992, with revenues increasing from $8 billion in 1992 to $27.6
billion in 2001. The U.S. biotechnology industry currently employs
179,000 people — more than all the people employed by the toy
and sporting goods industries. Biotechnology is one of the most
research-intensive industries in the world. The U.S. biotechnology
industry spent $15.6 billion on research and development in
The 21st Century Nanotechnology Research and Development Act
of 2003 was signed by President Bush on December 3. The act
establishes a national nanotechnology initiative, and authorizes
nearly $4 billion over the next four years for research and

The act creates research centers, education and training efforts,

research into the societal and ethical consequences of
nanotechnology, and efforts to transfer technology into the

These roadmaps and research initiatives represent a convergence

of forces at the governmental and research levels which reflects
the convergence of disciplines inside, if you will, the individual
research sectors of the golden triangle of research.

Nanotechnology has the potential to create entirely new

industries and radically to transform others, especially as the
basis of competition. As such, it is one of the areas of innovation
most worthy of investment.

The National Science Foundation estimates that nanotechnology

applications may be worth more than $1 trillion in the global
economy in little more than a decade.

New nanoscale applications are already in production including

superior textiles, improved sunscreens, better dental bonding
materials, high resolution printer inks, digital camera displays,
and high capacity computer hard disks. And, by all accounts, this
is just the ground floor.

Nanotechnology heralds breakthroughs that will make steel

stronger, and will carry microscopic devices through the human
bloodstream to monitor disease and deliver exquisitely targeted
treatments to specific organs or even specific cells.

As these emerging scientific areas grow and expand, they

increasingly overlap each other. As they do so, they begin to
inform each other, yielding even greater discoveries. Their
function requires multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary
approaches and the use of sophisticated computing tools.

Biosensors fall into this category. They are monitoring probes that
include a biological component (a whole bacterium, enzyme or
antibody) with an electronic component to yield a measurable
signal upon detection of hazardous bacteria or chemicals. They
can be created to detect, record, and transmit information
regarding a physiological change or the presence of various
chemical or biological materials in an environment.

They have been touted as the cutting edge in medical

diagnostics, genomics, proteomics, and high throughput
The field of pharmacogenomics is another example of exploration
on multiple fronts converging in discovery. This particular
convergent enterprise leverages advances in molecular
diagnostics and information technology
Terahertz science and technology is another area of discovery at
the cutting edge of convergence. Terahertz is the frequency
range which lies between microwave and infrared frequencies.
Terahertz has a range of potential applications including medical
imaging, forensic science, and food safety. Using a technique
pioneered by researchers at Rensselaer, terahertz radiation
already has been used to uncover small defects in a sample of
Space Shuttle foam. This nondestructive method of inquiry and
evaluation could help National Aeronautics and Space
Administration officials examine the insulating foam that is
applied to each shuttle's fuel tank prior to launch.

We need to educate our own
citizens to work in a global environment. To do so requires a
rethinking and convergence of elements which define the
educated individual.
It would behoove us to educate our engineers and scientists more
broadly, giving them a broader world view, including elements of
a liberal arts education, with special emphasis on cultures and

We need to educate our young people for leadership, and

especially global leadership — involving team-based problem-
solving and inter-and multi-disciplinarity; appreciation of
differences and diversities; utilization of vision, culture, and
values; enabling them to think beyond our borders and beyond
the borders of single problems.

Into this mix, we must stir a component of ethics education. ABET

Engineering Criteria 2000 has built ethics into its engineering
criteria for engineering education accreditation. We, who are
educators, should enhance the practice of including students in
undergraduate research, since this helps to foster their interest in
ethics content and concepts. Interest in ethical issues is one of
the "spillovers" of team-based problem solving and

Finally, as an educator and President of a research university, I

believe strongly that we must educate for entrepreneurship —
educate for team-based market recognition, assessment of
market opportunities, and education for execution.


This brings me to the last segment of the contemporary

phenomenon of convergence — the convergence of cultures.
Science has always been global — imagine, if you will, a national
multiplication table.
Now it is the turn of business — corporations now conduct
business, communicate, negotiate, and manufacture around the
globe, in multiple time zones, in many countries, among people of
diverse languages and traditions.

In order to have been successful, corporations have had to learn

and to lead the way in multicultural communications and
endeavors. And, they have been exceptionally successful.

We can bring these lessons home — and we must — because the

U.S. workforce is changing and many of the same factors which
corporations have managed successfully overseas, are now
operative upon our own shores.


In the last decade, the population in the US grew from 249 million
to 81.4 million (1990 to 2000).
The minority population increased 35 percent overall.
The current SMET workforce, 81.8 percent is white and 76.4
percent is male.
The current S&E workforce is aging. The number with S&E
degrees reaching retirement age is likely to triple in the next


In the last 20 years, the college-age population has declined by

more than 21 percent (from 21.6 million in 1980 to 17.0 million in
2000. In 2001, it increased to 19.3.)

Engineering enrollments are essentially flat. The number of

engineering degrees more than doubled between 1974 and the
mid-1980s, but has since dropped 18.6 percent. In 2000, 63,635
baccalaureate degrees in engineering were awarded, well below
the mid-80s high of more than 78,000).

Degrees at the master's level in engineering have declined, in

part due to the decline in enrollment by foreign students.
The degrees awarded in Computer Science and Engineering have
steadily decreased from 1985 to 1995. In the 1990s the only
fields in S&E showing an increase of graduates have been
psychology and biological sciences, fields in which women are
highly represented. The increase in the biological sciences may
be related to the increase in women pursuing MDs.

At the doctoral level, foreign students earned 49 percent of the

degrees in engineering and 36 percent in the natural sciences
(2000). In 1997, graduate degrees earned by foreign students had
declined by 15 percent.

There are added challenges in today's post-9/11 world as it is

more difficult for foreign students to enter the US to study; many
are choosing other nations schools for higher education; their own
countries are increasing their higher education offerings; and
many who might have stayed in this country are choosing to
return home to increased job opportunities.

We need to attract a new generation of young people into the

sciences and engineering — an underrepresented majority.
Begin in middle school or earlier.
We need to experiment with a National Science and Mathematics
Teacher Training program which would entail five-year contracts
employing teachers for nine months in schools and three months
in industry. The program would be enhanced with an advanced
degree component to encourage teachers to become scholars in
their disciplines.

We need to build programs that foster mentoring and shepherd

classes of talented students from middle school through high
school and higher education — with special attention to the
transitions where so many become derailed. As we do this, as our
demographics change, we must mine the talent from all groups —
including the underrepresented majority comprising women and

A report from a subsidiary of the Council on Competitiveness —

known as BEST, or Building Engineering and Science Talent — has
focused on this issue. It has worked to identify BEST practices in
nurturing women and minorities in science, mathematics,
engineering, and technology. The report is slated to be released
this winter and holds out the hope that we can learn and apply
what works.

I would argue that the very convergence of the sciences and
technologies is helping to drive the convergence of cultures.

At the IBM Forum, I made this point: "Think about how the whole
open-source movement occurs. You basically have a global
network of people from disparate cultures and very different
perspectives . . . it is a fundamental [business] enabler because it
is driven by having people come together from around the globe."

I started out by commenting that convergence was a

contemporary phenomenon. Perhaps it is not. Perhaps
convergence is a more ancient force — or impulse, or driver —
than we now realize. Perhaps, we are only now catching on to the
power of convergence.



Education for All and Knowledge

Society agendas are challenging the institutional and human
resource capacity of education systems around the world. The
pressure to provide access and a quality education to learners
partaking in 21st Century knowledge-based societies and
economies is immense. Governments in developing countries
have been responding to this pressure by investing in ICT for
education. However, these investments often go to waste,
because lecturer and instructor capacity to effectively and
appropriately use and integrate ICT is not addressed. Lecturers
and instructors are pivotal agents in the drive to transform
education systems. Ministries Higher Education and Science and
Technoloy across Africa are now harnessing the power of ICT for
Skills Development and Training to equip lecturers and instructors
with the skills and knowledge to spur the development of an
inclusive knowledge society.

Our Role

We consider lecturers and instructors to be critical leverage

points in the ICT in Education system. By working with Ministries
of Higher Education and Science and Technology to equip
lecturers and instructors with the knowledge and skills they need
to integrate ICT into their practice we know we are helping to
address issues of relevance, quality and access at multiple points
in developing country education systems.

Our Strategy

GeSCI has facilitated national multi-stakeholder consultative

workshops in collaboration withMinistries of Higher Education and
Technical and Vocational Institutions in Kenya, and Ghana to
determine ICT in Lecturer and Instructor competency needs. ICT
Lecturer and Instructor competencies were identified as a major
challenge. Competency standards are critical to ensuring that
lecturers and instructors are taught the same relevant material
and that training programmes can be evaluated to determine
their appropriateness and completeness.

We’ve been focusing on Standards and Competencies for

Lecturers and Instructors with the help of the ICT TPD matrix. The
matrix, which was developed by GeSCI in 2009 is based on the
UNESCO ICT Competency Standards and each framework in the
matrix defines principles and models for ICT integration along a
continuum of emerging (basic use), technology literacy
(applying), knowledge deepening (infusing) and knowledge
creation (transforming) stages.


The Government of Ghana has placed within its national

development agenda an emphasis on skills, science, technology,
and innovation for promoting economic growth and job creation.
Over the past year GeSCI has been expanding its partnership with
the Ministry of Education to include support for Technical and
Vocational Education and Training (TVET). Within this support a
number of priority sectors have been chosen, including ICT. Policy
makers have prioritised a cross-sectoral programme to harmonise
and implement this agenda. With support being provided by a
number of development partners , the Council for Technical
Vocational Education and Training, COTVET, has been spear
heading the Ghana Skills and Technology Development Project
(GSTDP) to support this government programme. To provide
inputs and support to the Government, GeSCI was appointed
project coordinator by the World Bank for this project. The
expectation is that skills and technology development will support
two different but related agendas: poverty reduction and

Better skills and technology use can contribute to the efficiency

and competitiveness of Ghanaian firms both in the formal and
informal sectors, thereby creating new job opportunities and
reaching the poorest.

The project consists of the following components:

Component 1: Institutional Strengthening of Skills Development.

This programme includes, among others, strong monitoring and
evaluation (M&E) for skills development, a certification system
based on competency-based training standards, and strategic
positioning of the skills provision.

Component 2: Institutional Strengthening of Science and

Technology Development. This component will strengthen
governance and coordination of national science, technology, and
innovation (STI) policies and programmes and support
improvements to technology development and diffusion at
universities and public research institutes.

Component 3: Financing of Skills and Technology Development

through the Skills Development Fund. The objective of this
component is to finance skills and technology development
programmes in prioritised economic sectors through a demand-
driven skills development fund (SDF) managed by COTVET.

Component 4: Project Management and M&EA project support

unit (PSU) will be established within COTVET to support the
implementation of the project.


In Kenya, of the 500,000 youth seeking employment annually,

less than 25% are absorbed into the labour force. One of the
factors cited as a contributor to unemployment is the lack of
requisite ICT skills among graduating youth. The Ministry of
Higher Education Science and Technology (MoHEST) and the
Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports (MoYAS) is implementing ICT
in Technical Industrial Vocational Education and Training (TIVET)
institutions with the aim of endowing youth with the skills
necessary to achieve Kenya’s Vision 2030. In June the MoHEST
and MoYAS in collaboration with GeSCI, held a three day
workshop with the goal of identifying the lecturer/instructor ICT
competencies for effective integration of ICT in education. The
GeSCI ICT TPD Matrix was again used as thebasis for identifying
and contextualising lecturer/ instructor ICT competencies. A
situation analysis carried out by GeSCI identfied the following
gaps in the implementation of ICT in the education sector in
Kenya: Quality and relevance of education: TIVET education and
curriculum needs to be aligned with industry requirements.
Strategies for ICT integration need to be developed as these are
currently not in place. Curriculum and Assessment: there is a
need to synchronise the curriculum with industry requirements
and with assessment criteria. Institutional Capacity:
comprehensive statistical data on the needs and gaps of the
institutions is not available.

Presentations included a description of government plans to fund

and equip Youth Polytechnics with ICT infrastructure; TIVET case
studies from around the world and an institutional snapshot of ICT
TIVET use in Kenya. A panel discussion revealed that the private
sector is keen to partner with the institutions and especially to
reach out to rural schools to transfer industry knowledge. They
also stressed that soft skills and communication skills, such as
listening skills, teamwork, decision making and problem based
learning need to be sharpened in education institutions..
Participants continue to discuss the outcomes of the workshop on
GeSCI’s 21st Century Learning Ning.



Technical and vocational education and

training (TVET) is back on the development agenda of many
African countries after years of benign neglect, instigated by a
complex set of reasons that included budgetary constraints and
criticisms of the World Bank in the early 90’s on its direction and
focus. The World Bank had argued at the time that the cost of
technical and vocational education was too high compared with
the returns to the economy, that the quality of training was poor
and that there was considerable mismatch between training and
the needs of industry. Simply put, the delivery of vocational
education and training was not cost-effective. However, since the
beginning of the new millennium, a fresh awareness of the critical
role that TVET can play in economic growth and national
development has dawned among policy makers in many African
countries and within the international donor community. The
increasing importance that African governments now attach to
TVET is reflected in the various Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers
that governments have developed in collaboration with The World
Bank. In its poverty reduction strategy document, Cameroon for
example intends to develop vocational and professional training
to facilitate integration into the labour market; Cote d’Ivoire talks
about strengthening vocational training; Ghana links vocational
education and training with education of the youth and the
development of technical and entrepreneurial skills; Lesotho and
Rwanda focus on linking TVET to businesses while Malawi
emphasises the need to promote self-employment through skills
development. Other countries that have prioritised TVET
initiatives in their national development policy documents include
Chad, Ethiopia, Guinea, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Uganda and

One of the most important features of TVET is its orientation

towards the world of work and the emphasis of the curriculum on
the acquisition of employable skills. TVET delivery systems are
therefore well placed to train the skilled and entrepreneurial
workforce that Africa needs to create wealth and emerge out of
poverty. Another important characteristic of TVET is that it can be
delivered at different levels of sophistication. This means that
TVET can respond, not only to the needs of different types of
industries, but also to the different training needs of learners from
different socio-economic and academic backgrounds, and prepare
them for gainful employment and sustainable livelihoods. A skilled
workforce is a basic requirement for driving the engine of
industrial and economic growth, and TVET holds the key to
building this type of technical and entrepreneurial workforce.

The term “TVET” as used in this paper follows the 1997 UNESCO
International Standard Classification of Education definition, which
is education and training to “acquire the practical skills, know-
how and understanding necessary for employment in a particular
occupation, trade or group of occupations or trades.” It is
important to note that TVET is not only about knowing how to do
things but also understanding why things are done in a particular
way. The conceptual definition of TVET cuts across educational
levels (post-primary, secondary, and even tertiary) and sectors
(formal or school-based, non-formal or enterprise-based, and
informal or traditional apprenticeship). It is therefore important to
keep in mind the transversal and longitudinal nature of TVET as
we attempt to highlight the importance of this type of education
and training. In order to place the discussion in the right
perspective, we shall first examine the current training and socio-
economic environment within which TVET systems in Africa

TVET systems in Africa differ from country to country and are

delivered at different levels in different types of institutions,
including technical and vocational schools (both public and
private), polytechnics, enterprises, and apprenticeship training
centres. In West Africa in particular, traditional apprenticeship
offers the largest opportunity for the acquisition of employable
skills in the informal economy. In Ghana, the informal sector
accounts for more than 90 percent of all skills training in the

In all of Sub-Saharan Africa, formal TVET programmes are school-

based. In some countries, training models follow those of the
colonial power. In general however, students enter the vocational
education track at the end of primary school, corresponding to 6 –
8 years of education as in countries like Burkina Faso and Kenya,
or at the end of lower or junior secondary school, which
corresponds to 9 – 12 years of what is called basic education in
countries like Ghana, Nigeria, Mali and Swaziland. In many
countries, the vocational education track has the unfortunate
reputation of being a dead-end, so far as academic progression is
concerned and fit for those pupils who are unable to continue to
higher education.

The duration of school-based technical and vocational education

is between three and six years, depending on the country and the
model. Some countries like Ghana, Senegal, and Swaziland in an
attempt to expose young people to pre-employment skills have
incorporated basic vocational skills into the lower or junior
secondary school curriculum. However, this approach has met
with some scepticism. The sceptics argue that technical and
vocational education for employment is unlikely to be effective
when delivered concurrently with general education in junior
secondary schools. This is because employment-oriented training
requires inputs in human (qualified instructors) and material
resources that are not available or are too expensive to provide in
all junior secondary schools in a country or even in a cluster of
secondary schools. Vocationalisation of the junior secondary
school curriculum should therefore be viewed with caution. A
good basic education provides a solid foundation for a good
technical and vocational education. The only cases in which
vocationalisation may be helpful is probably in the use of
computers, general agriculture or farming, and entrepreneurship.
Computer literacy is relevant to all occupations while the teaching
of basic agriculture and entrepreneurship is not capital-intensive
or too costly.
What type of governance structures do we have for managing
TVET in Africa? In many countries, oversight responsibility is
shared in general between the ministries responsible for
education or technical education and labour or employment,
although some specialised vocational training programmes (e.g.
in agriculture, health, transport, etc.) fall under the supervision of
the sector ministries. In spite of the large variety of training
programmes, from hairdressing to electronics and automobile
repair, the place of TVET in the overall school system in many
countries is marginal both in terms of enrolments and number of

The socio-economic environment and the contextual framework in

which TVET delivery systems currently operate on the continent
may be described by the following groups of indicators:

i) Weak national economies characterised by low job growth, high

population growth, and a growing labour force:The per capita
income of most Sub-Saharan African countries (outside South
Africa) is less than US$400. Although the economy in a few
countries, including Botswana, Ghana and Kenya, is growing at a
respectable rate of more than 5%, the annual real growth rate in
many countries is less than 2%, limiting the prospects for
employment creation. On the other hand, it is estimated that
about 500,000 young people add to the labour force each year in
Kenya, as many as 700,000 in Tanzania and 250,000 in
Zimbabwe. Globally, African economies face the daunting task of
finding productive employment for 7 to 10 million annual new job
seekers into the labour market over the next few years. This huge
deficit in the employment statistics is not unrelated to the high
population growth rate of African countries and the increasing
number of school leavers arising out of national initiatives of the
past decade or two to achieve universal primary education.
ii) Shrinking or stagnant wage employment opportunities
especially in the industrial sector:

Apart from Botswana, Ivory Coast, Ghana and South Africa, the
industrial labour force is less than 10% in most African countries.
The vast majority of the workforce is in the services and
agricultural sectors. In many African countries, with the notable
exception of South Africa and Mauritius, about 85% of the
workforce is in the informal, non-wage employment sector.

iii) Huge numbers of poorly educated, unskilled and unemployed


Although some progress has been made, the illiteracy rate in

many countries is still high at over 50%. Of significance to TVET is
the fact that enrolments at the secondary school level, where
TVET is normally provided, is also low with only a few countries
having a gross enrolment rate of over 50%. The average school
completion rates in Africa are such that many young people drop
out of the school system before they have acquired any practical
skills and competences for the world of work. Average completion
rates are 80 – 90% for primary school; 30 – 40% for lower or
junior secondary school; and about 20% for senior secondary
school. And only 1 – 2% of the college age group actually enter
the universities and other tertiary institutions. In Ghana, for
example, 49.1% of the total workforce is illiterate and only 3.9%
have had any vocational or technical training. In Tanzania, less
than five percent of the labour force is educated above primary
school level.

iv) Educated but unemployed college and university graduates:

In almost all countries in Africa, large numbers of graduates

coming out of the formal school system are unemployed,
although opportunities for skilled workers do exist in the
economy. This situation has brought into sharp focus the
mismatch between training and labour market skill demands.
Critics argue that the lack of inputs from prospective employers
into curriculum design and training delivery in universities and
colleges is partly responsible for the mismatch. Another reason
that is often cited for the incidence of high unemployment among
graduates is the absence of entrepreneurial training in the school

v) Uncoordinated, unregulated and fragmented TVET delivery


Except for a few countries (notably, South Africa, Botswana,

Mauritius, Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia, and Namibia), TVET
provision in Africa is spread over different ministries and
organisations, including NGOs and church-based organisations,
with a multiplicity of testing and certification standards. This
situation has implications for standardization of training, cost-
effectiveness, quality assurance, recognition of prior learning, and
the further education of TVET graduates, because of the absence
of a framework for mutual recognition of qualifications. In the
informal sector, traditional apprenticeship, which is often the only
means for the rural poor and the economically disadvantaged to
learn a trade is marginalised, unregulated, and lacks government
support and intervention. The diverse TVET management
structures and the sharing of supervisory responsibilities by
various government bodies and ministries account for some of the
inefficiencies in the system, like duplication and segmentation of
training, and the absence of a common platform for developing
coherent policies and joint initiatives. Such fragmented
governance structures do not promote effective coordination,
sharing of resources, and articulation within the system.

vi) Low quality:

In general, the quality of training is low, with undue emphasis on
theory and certification rather than on skills acquisition and
proficiency testing. Inadequate instructor training, obsolete
training equipment, and lack of instructional materials are some
of the factors that combine to reduce the effectiveness of training
in meeting the required knowledge and skills objectives. High
quality skills training requires qualified instructors, appropriate
workshop equipment, adequate supply of training materials, and
practice by learners.

vii) Geographical, gender and economic inequities:

Although access and participation in TVET in Africa reflects the

gender-biased division of labour (justifying therefore the current
efforts of gender mainstreaming in vocational education and
training), we should not lose sight of the economic and
geographical inequities. Economic inequity is a greater barrier to
participation in technical and vocational education than gender. In
many African countries, children of poor parents are unable to
afford the fees charged by training institutions. Invariably, the
good technical and vocational schools are located in the big towns
and cities, thereby limiting access to rural folks.

viii) Poor public perception:

For many years, technical and vocational education in Africa has

been considered as a career path for the less academically
endowed. This perception has been fuelled by the low academic
requirements for admission into TVET programmes and the
limited prospects for further education and professional
development. Worse, the impression is sometimes created by
governments that the primary objective of the vocational
education track is to keep dropouts and “lockouts” from the basic
and secondary school system off the streets, rather than project
this type of training as an effective strategy to train skilled
workers for the employment market. The term “lockouts” refers
to students who are unable to move up the educational ladder,
not because of poor grades but because of lack of places at the
higher level.

ix) Weak monitoring and evaluation:

Current training programmes in many countries are supply-

driven. TVET programmes are very often not designed to meet
observed or projected labour market demands. The emphasis
appears to be on helping the unemployed to find jobs, without
any critical attempt to match training to available jobs. This
situation has resulted in many vocational school graduates not
finding jobs or finding themselves in jobs for which they have had
no previous training. Non-targeted skills development is one of
the major weaknesses of the TVET system in many African
countries. Training institutions also do not track the employment
destination of their graduates. Consequently, valuable feedback
from past trainees on the quality of the training they have
received and the opportunity for their experience-based inputs to
be factored into the review of curricula and training packages are
lost. In other words, the use of tracer studies to improve the
market responsiveness of training programmes is currently
absent in many countries.

x) Inadequate financing:

Only a few governments in Africa are able to finance TVET at a

level that can support quality training. Ethiopia spends only about
0.5 percent of its education and training budget on TVET while
Ghana spends only about 1 percent. The figure is a respectable
10 percent for Mali and 12.7 percent for Gabon. It must be
recognised that TVET is expensive on a per student basis. In
1992, Gabon spent as much as US$1,820 per TVET student. Unit
costs are necessarily expected to be higher in TVET institutions
than in primary and secondary schools because of smaller
student-to-teacher ratios, expensive training equipment, and
costly training materials that are “wasted” during practical

xi) Public versus private provision of TVET:

TVET in Africa is delivered by both government and private

providers, which include for-profit institutions and non-profit, NGO
and church or faith-based institutions. School-based government
training institutions are generally fewer in number than those in
the private sector, although Kenya with its over 600 Youth
Polytechnics is a notable exception. In Ghana, government TVET
institutions include 23 technical institutes under the Ministry of
Education with a total enrolment of about 19,000 students and 38
National Vocational Training Institutes run by the Ministry of
Manpower Development and Employment. There are an
estimated 500 private establishments of diverse quality that enrol
over 100,000 students. The Catholic Church is the single largest
private provider of TVET in Ghana, enrolling about 10,000
students in its 58 technical and vocational training institutions.

In almost all countries, non-government provision of TVET is on

the increase both in terms of number of institutions and student
numbers. This trend is linked to the fact that private providers
train for the informal sector (which is an expanding job market all
over Africa) while public institutions train mostly for the more or
less stagnant industrial sector. Private providers also target “soft”
business and service sector skills like secretarial practice,
cookery, and dressmaking that do not require huge capital
outlays to deliver. On the other hand, the first choice of students
is the public vocational schools because of the lower fees charged
and the perception of better quality. Women constitute the
majority of students in private institutions (76 percent in Ghana;
60 percent in Tanzania and Zimbabwe; 55 percent in Senegal).
For obvious reasons, for-profit private providers are often
concentrated in the urban centres, while Church-based
institutions tend to be based in rural and economically
disadvantaged locations.

In Tanzania, public institutions account for only 8 percent of the

total number of institutions, while enterprise-based training (at 22
percent), for-profit institutions (at 35 percent), and Church/NGO
providers (at 31 percent) make up the bulk of the private sector
institutions. In Zambia, public TVET provision is at 18 percent,
while Church, NGO and for-profit providers take up 18 percent
and 36 percent, respectively. It is important to distinguish within
the private providers, in-company or enterprise-based training
that is often dedicated to the sharpening of specific skills of
company employees or is designed to train potential employees
to perform professional tasks related to the company’s activities.

State support for non-government providers vary from country to

country. In Ghana, government support is currently limited to the
payment of salaries of selected key management and teaching
staff and small grants for administrative purposes. In some
francophone countries (Cote d’Ivoire and Mali), non-government
providers receive much more substantial support.

xii) Threat of HIV/AIDS:

The impact of HIV/AIDS on the labour force in Africa (and hence

its potential effect on vocational and technical training and skills
development strategies) is considered alarming in a number of
countries. According to the United Nations AIDS Prevention
Agency (UNAIDS), an estimated 3.8 million adults and children in
Sub-Saharan Africa became infected with HIV during 2000,
bringing the total living with HIV/AIDS to 25.3 million. However,
information is scarce on how African governments have factored
the threat of HIV/AIDS into their TVET programmes. Yet the
technical and vocational training environment, because of the
inevitable use of sharp cutting tools and machines for training,
presents a constant danger for the spread of the disease and puts
the trainees at risk.

The current status of TVET in Africa is not all about weaknesses.

TVET systems in a growing number of countries are undergoing or
have undergone promising reforms that are designed to build on
the inherent strengths of the system and respond to the needs of
industry and the challenges of the 21st century. Some of these
African and international best practices in TVET delivery can be
adapted and adopted by others for rapid industrialisation.

The primary objective of all technical and vocational education

and training programmes is the acquisition of relevant knowledge,
practical skills and attitudes for gainful employment in a
particular trade or occupational area. The need to link training to
employment (either self or paid employment) is at the base of all
the best practices and strategies observed world-wide. In recent
years, in view of the rapid technological advances taking place in
industry and the labour market in general, flexibility, adaptability,
and life-long learning have become the second major objective of
vocational and technical training. The third objective, which is
particularly important for African countries, is to develop TVET as
a vehicle for rapid industrialization, as well as economic
empowerment and social mobility of the individual.

Invariably, effective vocational and technical training begins with

the formulation of a national policy and the establishment of a
national implementation body, either as a semi-autonomous body
or as an agency within a designated government ministry. Such
agencies or National Vocational Training Authorities have been
established in many countries, including Botswana (Botswana
Training Authority – BOTA), Mauritius (Industrial and Vocational
Training Board – IVTB), Namibia (National Vocational Training
Board – NVTB), Tanzania (Vocational Education Training Authority
– VETA), and Zambia (Technical Education, Vocational and
Entrepreneurship Training Authority – TEVETA). Ghana has also
recently passed an Act of Parliament that establishes a Council for
Technical and Vocational Education and Training (COTVET) which
will have overall responsibility for skills development in the
country. The Council is expected to establish an Apprenticeship
Training Board to link non-formal and informal vocational training
to the formal TVET sector. Private training providers, including
NGOs and Church Based Organisations (CBOs) are represented on
the Council. In general, Training Authorities, through their various
specialised organs and occupational advisory committees, have
the responsibility to develop national vocational qualification
frameworks and proficiency levels as well as standards for
validation of training, certification and accreditation of training

From outside Africa, two training models stand out for mention:
the centralised Singaporean model and the dual system practiced
in Germany. In Singapore, a National Manpower Council ensures
that training is relevant to the needs of the labour market.
Training also includes the inculcation of shared cultural values
and attitude development. The dual system of vocational training
in Germany allows for learning to take place in a vocational school
and in an enterprise concurrently. Approximately, 70% of all
school leavers, aged between 15 and 19 years undergo training
under the dual system. The dual system promotes the linkage of
vocational training to the world of work. It is doubtful, however, if
the industrial fabric in Africa is sufficiently developed and
versatile to support the German dual system type of training.

How then can technical and vocational training be promoted in

Africa in order to achieve the strategic policy goal of stimulating
industrial and economic growth? In my opinion, five broad
strategic objectives will have to be met. These are: enhancing the
quality of training, assuring relevance and employability of
trainees, improving coherence and management of training
provision, promoting flexibility of training and life-long learning,
and enhancing the status and attractiveness of TVET.

i) Enhancing the quality of training

Training for high-quality skills requires appropriate training

equipment and tools, adequate supply of training materials, and
practice by the learners. Other requirements include relevant
textbooks and training manuals and qualified instructors with
experience in enterprises. Well-qualified instructors with industry-
based experience are hard to come by, since such categories of
workers are also in high demand in the labour market. But they
could be suitably motivated to offer part-time instruction in
technical and vocational schools.

Technical education is expensive and quality comes at a price.

There is no substitute for adequate funding when it comes to
delivering quality vocational education and training. In this
regard, a training fund can be established to support TVET from
payroll levies on employers. Training levies are in effect taxes
imposed on enterprises to support skills development. Although
the tax level is generally less than 2 percent of the enterprise
payroll, the cooperation of employers is necessary for the
successful implementation of such a scheme. Training levies are
in operation in several African countries, including Cote d’Ivoire,
Mauritius, Mali, South Africa, and Tanzania.

Competency Based Training (CBT) can also enhance quality. The

concept of competency-based training is not new to Africa.
Traditional apprenticeship, particularly as practiced in West
Africa, is competency based. A competency is the aggregate of
knowledge, skills and attitudes; it is the ability to perform a
prescribed professional task. CBT is actually learning by doing and
by coaching. It is necessary to incorporate the principles and
methodology of CBT into the formal technical and vocational
education system. However, since the development and
implementation of competency-based qualifications (involving
standards, levels, skills recognition and institutional
arrangements) are very costly in terms of training infrastructure
and staff capacity, piloting of the CBT approach in a few economic
and employment growth areas is recommended, rather than a
wholesale training reform strategy. Vocational students should be
encouraged to build a portfolio of projects undertaken or items
produced during training as evidence of proficiency and proof of
ability to perform prescribed professional tasks.

Quality should be seen as “fit for purpose”, rather than as

measuring up to an ill-defined standard. Quality that is fit for
purpose is dynamic and improves as the purpose or the job to be
done moves up to a higher plane. A decentralised and diverse
TVET system that includes school-based training, enterprise-
based training, and apprenticeship training (both non-formal and
informal) requires a strong regulatory framework for overseeing
training curricula, standards, qualifications and funding. A suitable
qualifications framework and inspection system will provide the
necessary quality assurance and control mechanism within such a
diverse system.

ii) Assuring relevance and employability of trainees

Assuring the employability of trainees begins with effective

guidance and counselling of potential learners in the choice of
training programmes in relation to their aptitude and academic
background. Employability presupposes the acquisition of
employable skills that are related to the demands of the labour
market. Labour market information systems and tracer studies
which track the destination of graduates in the job market can
provide useful feedback for the revision of training programmes
so as to enhance the employability of trainees.

iii) Improving coherence and management of training provision

In order to ensure coherence and management of training

provision, it will be necessary to establish a national agency or
body to coordinate and drive the entire TVET system. Depending
on the country, this agency could be under the umbrella of the
ministry of education and vocational training or stand on its own
as an autonomous body. In either case, the coordinating agency
should include representation from all relevant stakeholders,
including government policy makers, employers, public and
private training providers, civil society, alumni associations, and
development partners.

Strengthening the management and coherence of training

provision cannot be complete without a National Vocational
Qualifications Framework (NVQF) that ensures the transfer of
learning credits and mutual recognition of qualifications within the
entire system. The South African National Qualifications
Framework provides such a mechanism for awarding
qualifications based on the achievement of specified learning
outcomes prescribed by industry. The framework allows for
accumulation of credits and recognition of prior learning, which
promotes the culture of life-long learning. The development of a
qualifications framework is not an easy task. It involves the active
involvement of industry practitioners, teachers, and policy
makers. Some countries have a single qualifications framework
that embraces both vocational and general education and
extends beyond vocational qualifications. As an example,
Tanzania is developing a 10-level national qualifications
framework (NQF), ranging from craftsman qualifications (level 1 –
3) through technician, diploma, and bachelors degree
qualifications to masters degree (level 9) and doctorate degree
award at level 10. It is, however, too early to evaluate the
Tanzanian experience or recommend it to other countries.

iv) Flexibility of training and life-long learning

Life-long learning has a beneficial effect on the development of a

high quality TVET system. This is because the skills of the
workforce can be continually upgraded through a life-long
learning approach. This also means that learners who have had
limited access to training in the past can have a second chance to
build on their skills and competences. Life-long learning also
involves the recognition of prior learning, whether in the formal or
non-formal system. A National Qualifications Framework can
provide the needed flexibility and coherent framework for life-long
learning within the entire TVET system through the creation of
equivalent qualifications across all the sub-sectors of vocational
and technical training: formal, non-formal and informal.

v) Status and attractiveness of TVET

Enhancing the status and attractiveness of TVET will involve

changing perceptions and attitudes of the public about technical
and vocational education. For this to happen, the use of role
models in TVET and the involvement of successful entrepreneurs
in motivation campaigns, especially in schools, will be necessary.
An embarrassing shortage of role models is one of the banes of
TVET. Technical and vocational education should be seen as a
valid passport to a good job and not as a second best choice or
the only educational route for the academically less endowed.

The status of technical and vocational education can also be

enhanced by upgrading polytechnics and polytechnic-type non-
university institutions to offer technical or “skills” degrees. The
trend world-wide is to strengthen polytechnic institutions and
their role in industrial and technological development, re-engineer
their training programmes for greater relevance and higher
quality, and generally raise their status and attractiveness as
higher institutions of choice for senior secondary school leavers.
Japan, Korea and Singapore have been awarding “skills” degrees
for many years now and Ghana has recently granted accreditation
to two of its polytechnics to start offering degree programmes in
a few technological areas. The Kenya Government has also
decided to follow this positive trend of revitalizing polytechnic
education and promoting skills training to the highest level

Like every aspect of human endeavour today, the forces of

globalisation have not overlooked technical and vocational
education and training. Tony Blair, the British Prime Minister once
had this to say about globalisation:

“You have no choice, this is inevitable. These forces of change

driving the future don’t stop at national boundaries, don’t respect
tradition. They wait for no one and no nation. They are universal.”

Globalisation is characterised by the increasing integration of

national economies around the world. The process of globalisation
is driven by the ease of information exchange, capital flows, and
the migration of people, labour, goods, and services across
national boundaries. The challenge of globalisation for TVET in
Africa is the tension it has created between developing skills for
poverty eradication and skills for global economic
competitiveness. Although the primary objective of technical and
vocational training in Africa is to support economic growth and
wealth creation for poverty alleviation through the acquisition of
employable skills, a strategic approach to skills development on
the continent cannot ignore the effects of globalisation.

For this reason, the acquisition of “industrial” skills is as important

to Africa as the basic vocational and technical skills. In the
advanced developing countries like Singapore and Malaysia, the
rise to economic prominence was supported by the development
of high level technical skills. However, the experience of these
countries also shows that their industrial lift-off was preceded by
high stocks of literacy and basic skills. The sheer lack of skills of
all sorts in Africa and the demands of poverty alleviation mean
that African countries must pursue the development of skills at all
levels of the spectrum (basic, secondary, and tertiary levels), with
each country emphasizing the skill levels that correspond best to
their current stage of economic development and the needs of
the local labour market. At the same time, the important
requirement of building a society imbued with high stocks of basic
numeracy and literacy skills cannot be ignored.

Modern society is characterised by the increasing application of

information and communication technologies. ICT education
therefore must form a strong component of all levels of skills
training. In the globalising labour market, employees are regularly
required to update and upgrade their knowledge and skills in
order to remain abreast with the rapid technological advances in
the workplace. Globalisation reinforces the imperatives of quality,
relevance, flexibility, technology-mediated learning, and life-long
learning. These attributes constitute the education and training
bench-marks for skilled human resource development in the
knowledge-driven economies of today.

Interestingly, globalisation can offer Africa opportunities for high-

level technical skills training through the process of technology
transfer. In effect, technology-rich trans-national corporations, if
suitably motivated, can become important private sector training
providers of high-level industrial skills within the TVET system of
their host countries. This is because a major dimension of
globalisation is foreign direct investment (FDI) and the
implantation of trans-national corporations in developing
economies. FDI inflows, accompanied by top-grade technical
expertise and modern manufacturing machinery can trigger a
process of technology transfer, skills accumulation and
industrialisation in the receiving country. Although the debate is
still on as to whether globalisation helps or hurts, a country can
upgrade its industries and increase the skills stock of its technical
workforce through FDI and the operations of technologically
advanced multinational companies in the country. The activities
of such companies may be directly or gently steered by
government policy to include provision of high-level skills training
and the establishment of collaborative practical research and
innovative training programmes with the country’s higher
education institutions, particularly the universities and

However, globalisation can also hurt the development of

indigenous technology. The downside effect of globalisation on
technical and vocational education and training in Africa is the
flooding of local markets with all manner of cheap goods and
technology products from foreign countries. What is the market
for a locally produced wooden chair when the imported plastic
version is cheaper? Again, how competitive is the cost of a locally
sewn dress against cheaper imported second-hand clothes?
National policies should therefore take into account these and
other globalisation-induced factors in designing TVET
programmes and courses for industrialisation in an increasingly
inter-connected world economy.

What are the key policy issues and strategies involved in the re-
engineering of an effective technical and vocational education
system for industrialisation, economic growth and wealth
creation? To my mind, there are five policy issues that cannot be

i) Linkage with other national policies and strategies

Since technical and vocational education constitutes only one
item of many on a country’s development agenda, it will be
necessary for each country to define and specify clear articulation
lines between TVET and other sectors of the national economy in
order to effectively link its TVET policy to other national strategies
and policies in the area of education and training at all levels,
employment, and socio-economic development. This means that
national TVET strategies in Africa must give priority to training in
areas such as agriculture, ICT, and modern infrastructure
development. An efficient transport and communication network,
a reliable energy and water supply system, adequate housing,
and national food security are basic requirements for

ii) Linkage with regional and international policies

In the inter-connected world of today, no country is an island. It is

therefore important for national TVET policies to create room for
possible dovetailing into existing regional and international
education and training policy frameworks and protocols. National
TVET strategies should take into account the education and
training protocols of regional groupings like ECOWAS, SADC, and
COMESA (where they exist), and those of acknowledged
international agencies involved in education and skills training,
such as UNESCO, ADEA, and ILO.

iii) Linkage with the world of work

Since the ultimate objective of TVET is employability and

employment promotion, it is necessary to link training to the
needs of the labour market. TVET must be relevant and demand-
driven, rather than supply-driven and a stand-alone activity. In
order to do this, data is required on the actual employability of
TVET graduates, available job opportunities, and the evolving
skills demands on the labour front. Determining the demand for
skills is best achieved through country-specific Labour Market
Information Systems (LMIS) and other survey instruments. The
function of a labour market information system or labour market
“observatory” is to collect, process and make employment
projections from information provided by employment ministries
and agencies and from demographic surveys, tracer studies that
track the employment destination of TVET graduates, labour
market related reports produced by economic think-tanks, and
feedback from employers. An effective LMIS will be difficult to
establish and operate now in many African countries for the
simple reason that there is a paucity of data and information from
which labour market trends can be captured, as well as lack of
trained research staff with adequate technical expertise to run
the system. In the short term, however, indicative labour market
information can be gathered from trade and employer
associations, NGOs, employment agencies, as well as large public
and private sector employers. Training institutions can also
conduct local labour market surveys in and around their localities.
Information so gathered and analysed would then serve as inputs
for the development of new or revised courses and training
programmes, equipment and learning materials selection,
instructor formation, and guidance and counselling of students
and trainees.

iv) Instructor training and professionalisation of TVET staff

The professional and pedagogical competence of the technical

teacher is crucial to the successful implementation of any TVET
strategy. Governments should therefore make conscious efforts,
not only to train but also to retain technical teachers in the
system. Technical teachers may be suitably motivated through
equitable remuneration packages and incentive schemes that
may include government subventions and loans to teacher
associations and special credit facilities for the teachers to
acquire cars, houses, etc.
The delivery of quality TVET is also closely linked to the building
of strong management and leadership capacity to drive the entire
system. TVET system managers, professionals and policy deciders
will therefore also have to be trained and their skills upgraded to
enable them confidently drive the system with its various
implementation structures, including qualifications framework,
accreditation standards, assessment guidelines, quality assurance
and accountability frameworks.

v) Funding and equipping TVET institutions

On a per student basis and compared with other levels of

education, in particular primary and secondary education, TVET is
much more expensive to deliver. There is need therefore to
spread the funding net as wide as possible to include:

• National Governments: Governments should allocate a

respectable percentage of their national budgets to the TVET
• Employers: Employers, both public and private, should
contribute to a training levy based on a percentage of their
enterprise payrolls.
• Development Partners: The World Bank and the African
Development Bank, for example, can support country-
specific projects, multinational projects, and micro-financing
• Trainees: Equitable cost-sharing mechanisms and fees paid
by students and trainees should help offset their training
• Training Providers: Training providers and institutions can
raise funds internally through the operations of their
production and commercial units
• Community: Local communities can make cash and non-cash
contributions in the form of land and through community
fundraising activities.



A confluence of factors — stubborn

persistence of youth unemployment fuelling the rising incidence
of Naxalite atrocities in India’s most socio-economically backward
states, and belated awareness in the boardrooms of Indian
industry about the country’s accentuating shortage of skilled
employees — has vaulted vocational and skills education to the
top of the nation’s education agenda. Suddenly there is growing
concern and a flurry of activity within the councils of government,
chambers of commerce and Indian academia about stimulating
vocational education and training to infuse employment-oriented
skill-sets into India’s gigantic 509 million strong labour force, and
the 100 million children and youth enroled in schools and colleges
countrywide. Sixty years after independent India adopted the
centrally planned model of economic develop-ment, the
productivity of Indian indus-try and the labour force in particular,
is abysmally low, the inevitable outcome of continuous neglect of
vocational education and training.

Consequently despite hosting the world’s largest working age

population and labour force, the Indian economy which for the
past decade has been averaging unprecedented annual GDP
(gross domestic product) growth rates of 8-9 percent, is
experiencing the paradox of a massive — and growing —
shortage of skilled and sufficiently trained personnel in
agriculture, manufacturing and service industries. Confronted
with the highest in-service employee training costs worldwide,
intensifying shortage of skilled workers and rising wages which
are jeopardising India Inc’s cost-competitiveness in world
markets, alarm bells have begun to ring in somnolent government
offices and the councils of Indian industry.

Therefore three years ago in his Independence Day speech

delivered from the ramparts of the Red Fort, Delhi, on August 15,
2006, prime minister Dr. Manmohan Singh announced a major
national drive to disseminate and upgrade vocational education
and training (VET) in India. Shortly thereafter in November, he set
up a task force to draw up a timetable for establishing a
nationwide VET infrastructure. Since then the Union budget has
consistently made provision for VET through expan-sion and
upgradation of the country’s 1,896 government-run Industrial
Training Institutes (ITIs) and 3,218 private sector Industrial
Training Centres (ITCs). An additional 1,500 ITIs/ITCs are
budgeted to be established by the end of the current Eleventh
Plan period in 2012, in addition to 50,000 skills development
centres to be promoted in the PPP (public-private partnership)
mode. In the Union budget 2009-10 an additional outlay of Rs.495
crore has been made for the expansion of the country’s VET

Likewise in anticipation of rising demand for VET from industry

and the public, several private education heavyweight companies
such as the Delhi-based Educomp Solutions Ltd (ESL; revenue:
Rs.507.09 crore in fiscal 2008-09) and the Bangalore/Manipal-
based Manipal Education Group (MEG; estimated annual revenue:
Rs.814 crore) have diversified into VET in collabor-ation with two
UK-based education conglomerates. ESL has tied up with the
Pearson Group (the world’s largest producer of school textbooks
and owner of the Financial Times and Penguin Books) to promote
IndiaCan Education Pvt. Ltd. Almost simultaneously MEG has
initiated a joint venture with the London-based City & Guilds
which bills itself as the world’s largest VET provider offering 500
courses and programmes. Within the next few years these two
ambitious alliances are expected to establish expansive networks
of VET centres across the country, offering high-quality vocational
education to millions of Indian youth.
“Vocational education has been the blindspot of the Central and
state governments as well as of Indian industry for the past six
decades. All over the developed world and in China as well,
representative organis-ations of industry, business, MSMEs
(micro, small and medium enterprises) and local chambers of
commerce have been the driving force behind the establishment
and multiplication of VET institutions in their countries, serving as
bridges between government and academia. The largest of India’s
chambers of commerce — the Confe-deration of Indian Industry —
has only 7,000 members, and that too mostly from the
organised sector of industry. However 94 percent of the country’s
industrial labour force is employed in 100 million MSMEs
represented by inactive local chambers of commerce which are
ignorant about the vital importance of VET for their own
prosperity and competivity in the emerging globalised

“For instance, against India’s blank score-card, rural China boasts

350,000 VET centres which train over 50 million farmers annually
in agriculture, animal husbandry, horticulture, floriculture, farm
equipment repair and maintenance, and better agriculture
practices. This has enabled China, with less arable land than
India, to better India’s foodgrains and agriculture production by a
factor of three per hectare of area sown. We need to immediately
promote 250,000 VET centres — one in every panchayat
jurisdiction in rural India,” says Krishan Khanna, an alumnus of IIT-
Kharagpur and former director of several blue-chip companies
including Hoganas India Ltd and DeNora India Ltd who forsook a
promising career in Indian industry to promote the i Watch
Foundation in 1993, which has since emerged as the most
prominent proponent of VET in India.

Unfortunately, Khanna has been a voice in the wilderness. And

the Indian economy has paid a heavy price for neglecting
vocational education and training. Currently there are 41 million
youth registered with the employment bureaus of the country’s
28 state government and seven Union territories, and according
to i Watch data another 260 million are either in disguised
unemployment or under-employed.
The phenomenon of educated unemployed in a fast-track
economy is peculiar to India. According to a 2005 NASSCOM-
McKinsey World Institute study, over 75 percent of engineering
and 85 percent of arts, science and commerce graduates in India
are unemployable. Neither is the education they are prescribed
up-to-date, nor are they taught marketable skills during their
three-four years in college. “If despite this abysmal education
system, the Indian economy is averaging 8-9 percent GDP growth
annually, it is within the realm of possibility to double it, given
education reform and universal VET,” says Khanna who urges
government, industry and voluntary civil society organisations to
urgently agree to introduce VET options in school curriculums
from class VIII onwards.

Fortunately Khanna’s sustained advocacy of VET has finally struck

a responsive chord within the Union government and India Inc.
Together they have begun to seriously plan to make good the
neglect of the past 60 years and disseminate VET on a mass
scale. In October last year, the Union government and several
representative associations of industry including CII, FICCI and
Assocham promoted the National Skills Development Corporation
(NSDC), a first-of-its-type PPP (public private partnership) not-for-
profit organisation to facilitate skills development education
countrywide. Established with a corpus of Rs.1,000 crore, of which
51 percent is contributed by the private sector, NSDC will fund
competent education entrepreneurs and NGOs to promote
vocational education and training centres across India.

“NSDC’s goal is to contribute significantly — at least 30 percent —

to the overall skilling and upskilling target of 500 million citizens
by the year 2022 set by prime minister Dr. Manmohan Singh, by
fostering private sector initiatives in skills development. To this
end the corporation has initiated a process to invite proposals,
and proposal submission templates, guides and funding
guidelines are already available on the NSDC website
(www.nsdcindia.org). We are in a hurry to activate NSDC and a
study to identify skills gaps in 20 high-growth sectors has been
completed. Moreover NSDC is in the process of establishing a pilot
Sector Skills Council to draw up accreditation standards and
curricula which will pave the way for promoting more such
councils in the future, and a large number of captains of industry
have agreed to share their expertise, infrastructure and domain
knowledge in their areas of skills development to contribute to
NSDC’s overall mandate. India’s skills gap is huge and scalable
business models are urgently required to bridge the gap,” says
M.V. Subbiah, chairman of the Chennai-based Murugappa Group
of companies (estimated annual revenue: Rs.14,000 crore) who
has been appointed the first chairman of NSDC.

The novelty of nsdc which inspires hope that ambitious outlays

and rhetoric will actually translate into privately promoted VET
and skills development centres, is that the corporation is
managed by India Inc rather than a Union government ministry.
Moreover it is a measure of the seriousness of intent of its
promoters — the Union government and Indian industry — that it
is being led by Subbiah who has a good track record of having
steadily expanded and diversified the operations of the
Murugappa Group (which includes EID Parry, Coromandel
Fertiliser and Cholamandalam Finance) during the past two
decades. It is also significant that NSDC is being led by a
chairman based in Chennai which has perhaps the best
engineering colleges and VET institutes countrywide, with its
automotive components industry in particular having established
a globally respected reputation.

Refreshing as well is the deep involvement of the Delhi-based

Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), the country’s largest and
most active industry representative organisation, with the
country’s rolling VET bandwagon. “In India very few young
persons enter the world of work with any type of formal or
informal vocational training. Indeed the proportion of formally
trained youth in our labour force is among the lowest in the world.
Currently the VET system has the capacity to train only 3 million
youth against industry’s requirement of 13 million annually.
Therefore attainment of the target set by the prime minister of
skilling 500 million youth by 2022 necessitates large-scale skills
develop-ment initiatives for which government-industry
collaboration is necessary. Consequently CII has already taken the
initiative to adopt 240 ITIs countrywide under the government’s
public-private partnership progamme. Moreover we have been
proactive in the areas of assessing skilled youth from government
ITIs under the modular employable skills (MES) programme and
providing the institutes industry linkages, revenue stream
solutions and admin and management advice. Thus far CII has
assessed more than 75,000 skilled youth across the country
under the MES programme. CII is wholly committed to the
national skills development initiative which requires serious
collaboration and convergence between all stakeholders in the
national development effort,” says B. Santhanam, the Chennai-
based managing director of St. Gobain Glass India, a subsidiary of
St. Gobain Group, France (annual revenue: Euros 40 billion or Rs.
256,000 crore). An alumnus of IIT-Madras and IIM-Ahmedabad,
Santh-anam is also chairman of CII’s National Committee on Skills
and Resources.

With government in New Delhi shedding its ideological baggage

and prejudices and inviting private sector involvement, indeed
takeover, of the national skills development mission, VET is all set
to take off in a big way within the moribund government
dominated education sector. With a large and growing number of
private ICT (information communication techno-logy) companies
such as Everonn Education, Educomp Solutions, NIIT and Helix
Technologies among others, having already entered India’s vast
and high-potential education space with innovative products and
service delivery models, a new genre of edupreneurs ready,
willing and equipped to enter the VET sector to train the country’s
massive 509 million labour force and its 100 million school
children, has appeared on the education scene.

An alum of DMET, Mumbai and IMT, Ghaziabad, Delhi-based Navin

Bhatia is the founder-chief executive of three pan-India VET
companies — NIS Sparta (1993-2003), Reliance Academy (2004-
06) and Bharti Learning Systems Ltd which he describes as
“amongst the 15 largest training companies worldwide with 600
full-time trainers and (annual) sales turnover exceeding Rs.100
crore”. Deeply involved with CII’s national human resource and
skills development initiatives, and currently engaged in building a
sectoral skills council model for state governments, Bhatia
believes that if the Union government’s DGET (director general of
education and training), CII and Indian industry work assiduously
together, it is possible to transform India into the world’s largest
pool of trained and skilled labour by the year 2022.

Arguing that post-independence India has adopted a “unique

growth trajectory” in that it is the world’s only large economy
which has transformed from an agricultural society into a services
dominated economy leapfrogging the manufacturing phase,
Bhatia states that this makes “large scale skills development an
imminent national imperative”. “History is lived forward, but
written backwards. In the next decade India will write a new
history by transforming into the skills development epicentre of
the world. In the year 2022, its 75th year of independence, India
will host a population of 200 million university graduates and 500
million skilled professionals, and will export 50-55 million skilled
professionals to the rest of the world,” he predicts, suggesting an
eight-point plan to attain this desideratum.

Another promising private sector initiative which has entered the

VET sector is IndiaCan Education Pvt. Ltd — a joint venture
between India’s ICT-in-education heavyweight Educomp Solutions
Ltd and the UK-based Pearson Group, one of the world’s largest
school textbooks publishing majors which also owns the Financial
Times and Penguin Books. According to Anjan Dutta, senior
president of IndiaCan Education, the joint venture promoted in
2008, which provides “bridge education programmes linked to
industry demand” of four weeks to six months duration in entry-
level spoken English, retail, insurance, banking etc to youth in the
age group 18-26, has already established 40 VET centres with an
enrolment of over 4,000 students. “Within the next few years we
intend to promote 500 centres with sophisticated equipment and
shopfloor environments across the country with a targeted
enrolment of 500,000 VET students,” says Dutta.

With the benefit of hindsight, it’s painfully clear that the failure of
post-independence India’s education and central planners to
include vocational and skills education into school and college
curriculums was a grave error. The consequence of this act of
omission is a severely handicapped population heavily dependent
upon a largely untrained learning-by-doing labour force for simple
tasks such as mending an electrical fuse, connecting a car battery
or changing a flat tyre. The wider social outcome is an economy
characterised by abysmally low farm, manufacturing and service
sector productivity which has transformed post-independence
India into a society of perennial shortages and high prices. Little
wonder that despite being abundantly endowed with factors of
production — land, labour, capital and native spirit of enterprise
— 21st century India is among the world’s most laggard nations
widely pitied for its illiteracy, high child mortality, child
malnutrition and labour, social inequality and pervasive

However following the belated liberalisation of the Indian

economy and loosening of the infamous licence-permit-quota
regime — which sent-enced the population to the 3 percent per
year “Hindu rate” of GDP growth for almost four decades — since
the historic Union budget of July 1991, the annual rate of GDP
growth has more than tripled. Consequently for the first time in
recent history the Indian economy has begun to experience
shortages of skilled professionals and labour, a pheno-menon
which is sharply driving up wages and salaries and hurting India’s
price competitiveness in the emerging global market.

Yet given the pathetic record of the government-dominated

education system to implement the simplest policies for the
benefit of the nation’s children and youth, there is considerable
skepticism whether the sudden re-discovery of the value and
importance of VET will translate into institutions delivering
accessible, short-term, hands-on education and training
programmes to the country’s millions of under-employed, low-
productivity youth. In this context it’s pertinent to note that VET
is hardly a new idea. Way back in the 1950s, the first Industrial
Training Institutes (ITIs) were promoted by state governments
countrywide and their number has multiplied to 5,700 currently.
Yet encumbered with under-investment in infrastructure and
equipment, outdated curriculums and poor quality teachers, they
have failed to enthuse Indian industry, with most of their
graduates wending their way into low-performance public sector
enterprises and state government departments such as PWD,
state electricity boards and civic government.
But this time round the active involvement of private sector
organisations such as CII and FICCI, which are working closely
with the Central government and the PMO (prime minister’s
office), has roused hope that even if belatedly, the government-
industry VET initiative will take off and take wing. “Although this
time both government and industry are very serious about
building a nationwide infrastructure as evidenced by the
establishment of the Prime Minister’s Skills Council in 2008 with
the six private sector industry representatives and the nodal
ministries of HRD, finance and labour as partners, and the
promotion of the National Skills Development Corporation with a
corpus of Rs.1,000 crore to promote VET institutions in the PPP
(public-private partnership) model, it is important to bear in mind
that vocational education and training institutes will need to be
established with the support of state governments. The challenge
is to set up state level Skills Missions which will encourage the
promotion of VET institutions in the PPP mode. In the Eleventh
Plan a generous outlay of Rs.28,000 crore has been made for VET.
But this money will be spent by the HRD, labour and 19 other
ministries and there’s the omnipresent danger of outlays not
being commensurate with outcomes. However in several states —
notably Rajasthan, Karnataka and Gujarat — Skills Missions have
been established and I am optimistic that the new government-
industry partnership for VET will move into execution,” says
Manish Sabharwal, the Bangalore-based chief executive of
TeamLease Services Pvt. Ltd, India’s largest skilled personnel
placement company, and a member of the PM’s Skills Council.

Even within the Union HRD ministry in Delhi there is evidence of

unprecedented seriousness of intent about infusing VET into
school syllabuses and systems. According to Subhash Khuntia,
joint secretary in the HRD ministry, the options of vocational
stream education as well as stand-alone vocational subjects
which can be taken as electives at the higher secondary stage are
already available to students of the country’s 12,000 schools
affiliated with the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE)
which is directly supervised by the ministry.

“CBSE has introduced a new course on financial market

management at the Plus Two level in collaboration with the
National Stock Exchange. It proposes to introduce similar courses
in hospitality management in collaboration with the National
Council of Catering Manage-ment and also in fashion technology
and garment manufacture, film making techniques, healthcare,
design and innovation. The HRD ministry is in the process of
revamping the vocational education scheme to make it more
demanding and needs-based in strong collaboration with
industry,” says Khuntia.

Certainly the auguries are good that this time round the carefully
crafted government-industry initiative to establish a national VET
infrastructure which will provide upskilling opportunities to India’s
huge 509 million low-productivity labour force, will bear fruit. But
this government-industry effort also needs to be supplemented by
India’s educators’ community and academia. Vocational skills
training needs to be integrated into school and college
curriculums, and the national mindset which segregates academic
education from hands-on skills requires a sea-change. That’s the
bigger challenge confronting teachers and academics engaged in
the task of educating and preparing the world’s largest child
population for the 21st century.



Academic performance has been considered as an interactive

function of many psychosocial and demographic variables. The
present study attempted to explore the nature and degree of
relationship between academic performance and selected
psychosocial (such as, stress, self-esteem, social-emotional
adjustment) and demographic variables (such as, age, parents'
education and occupation, number of siblings, family income, age
of onset of disability, preschool training and type of schooling).
The sample consisted of 80 hearing-impaired class VIII and X
students of both sexes aged 13 to 21 years of age, mostly from
the lower and middle socio-economic class. A comparative group
of 111 nonimpaired students was also included. The Hopkin's
Symptom Checklist for stress, Basavanna's Self-Esteem Scale for
self-esteem, Meadow/Kendall Socialemotional Scale for social-
emotional adjustment and a personal proforma for demographic
variables were administered. Results showed that stress had a
significant inverse correlation with academic performance of non-
impaired students, whereas the relationship was low positive in
case of hearing-impaired students. While social-emotional
adjustment enhanced academic performance of both groups, self-
esteem did not relate significantly in either case. However, many
socio-demographic variables like number of siblings, socio-
economic status, and age were found to have significant
correlation with academic performance of hearing-impaired
students. The differences were analysed in relation to the
impairment specific academic problems, educational system and
the vital role played by the family.


An extensive literature survey on hearing-impaired children

showed that very few studies directly addressed the relationship
between psychosocial factors and academic performance Many
researchers working with deaf students reported positive
correlation of academic performance with school adjustment and
behavioural problems (1), social-emotional adjustment (2, 3), and
self-esteem (4). Academic performance correlated positively with
every kind of positive adaptation including health, self-esteem,
adjustment, social functioning and morale (5) of students having
no impairments. However, the relationships were not explored
systematically among the hearing-impaired adolescents. A
number of researchers pointed out the facilitative role of higher
socio-economic background on psychological well-being and
academic achievement of children without impairement (6, 7, 8,
9, 10), as well as on adjustment (11, 12), cognitive functioning
(13) and examination success (14) of hearing-impaired students.
However, the number of studies addressing the direct correlation
between demographic variables and academic performance are
scant in the case of hearingimpaired children.

This study examined the differences on selected psychosocial

(stress, self-esteem and socialemotional adjustment) and
demographic variables and their correlations with academic
performance of the hearing-impaired and non-impaired



A total of 80 hearing-impaired and 111 non-impaired secondary

school (class Ⅷ and Ⅹ) Indian adolescents from New Delhi, were
selected. Their age ranged between 13-21 years and all the
students were from low and middle socio-economic family
background. 91.3% (n=73) of the hearing-impaired children were
congenitally deaf, 2.5% (n=2) had acquired the impairment
before the age of two and remaining 6.3% (n=5) had the onset
between 2-5 years of age. 98.7% (n=79) were severely impaired
while 1.3% (one) had mild impairment 96.25% (n=77) of hearing-
impaired students had parents with normal hearing. Similarly,
99.09% (n=110) of the non-impaired students had parents with
no handicap.

Children with additional impairments were not included. In New

Delhi, there are only two schools (one residential-special school
and one integrated school) providing education to hearing-
impaired children till class Ⅹ, so both were included. One is a fully
government aided school, while the other one is partially aided
school. One government school for nonimpaired students was
also included, to decrease the gap in socio-economic status and
facilities available in the schools.

Variables and Tools

Stress: Hopkin's Symptom Checklist consisting of 30 items on

dimensions like somatisation (8 items), anxiety (5 items),
interpersonal sensitivity (3 items), depression (7 items) and
obsessive-compulsive thoughts (7 items) was used to measure
stress. It is a four point rating scale and a high score indicated
high stress on this scale. The Cronbach reliability of this scale was

Self-esteem: The modified version of Basavanna's Self-esteem

Scale consisting of 28 items was used for studying self-esteem.
The original true-false type of response pattern was changed to a
three point rating scale, on which a high score indicated low self-
esteem. It had a reliability of 0.96.

Social-Emotional Adjustment: The teachers were asked to rate the

students on Meadow- Kendall Social-Emotional Adjustment Scale
(15), a 5-point response format. It consisted of 41 items and had a
reliability of 0.89.

Demographic Variables: A personal proforma was used to get

information on background variables like age, parents' education
and occupation, number of siblings, family income, onset of
disability, preschool training, severity of disability and parental
disability status.

Academic performance: Percentage of marks in the final

examinations was taken as the indicator of students' academic
performance. Class Ⅷ students appeared in the class
promotional examination conducted by the school authorities,
while the students in class Ⅹ appeared in the national common
examination for class Ⅹ students.


All the scales were translated into the local language by the back
translation method. The agreement between two judges was 95%.
Questionnaires were administered to the nonimpaired in small
groups. In case of the hearing-impaired students, questionnaires
were administered individually with the help of a teacher who had
mild hearing-impairment and was strong in signing, finger spelling
and lip reading. Data were analysed using statistics of t' test and
correlation analyses.


Before examining the correlation of academic performance with

various psychosocial and demographic variables, the analysis of
significance of mean difference on these variables for both the
groups were done to foster understanding of the variations in
relationships.Table 1 shows that significant difference was found
between the hearing-impaired and nonimpaired adolescents on
academic performance, social-emotional adjustment, age,
parents' education and occupation, and family income. The
hearing-impaired students were found to be better in academics
and social-emotional adjustment than the non-impaired
adolescents.However, they were also found to be significantly
older than the non-impaired group. While the mean age of the
hearing-impaired was 16.5 years, it was 14.8 years in the case of
the non-impaired adolescents. This was due to the difference
between the two groups on preschool training, which revealed
that almost all hearing-impaired had attained preschool, but
maximum non-impaired did not have any formal preschool
training. Both the groups also differed significantly on maximum
demographic variables like mother and father's education, mother
and father's occupation and family income. This indicated that the
hearing-impaired were significantly older, had preschool
experience, belonged to families with better socioeconomic
condition and hence, exhibited better adjustment and academic
performance.However, no significant difference was between the
two groups on stress, self-esteem, number of siblings and
parents' impairment status, suggesting that both groups were
equally stressed, had equal level of self-esteem (though the mean
values on stress and self-esteem for the hearing-impaired
students were slightly higher than the non-impaired group,
number of siblings and had parents without any impairment.

Table 1: Means, SDs and t' values on different Psychosocial and

Demographic variables and Academic Performance

Hearing- Non-
Variables Impaired Impaired t'values
Mean SD Mean SD

Stress 56.0 11.24 54.2 13.11 0.97, ns

Self-Esteem 23.21 10.27 22.0 7.16 0.94, ns


Adjustment 97.45 10.23 90.32 10.44 4.6, p<. 01

Age 2.18 .65 1.51 .54 7.44, p<. 01

No. of Siblings 2.15 .66 2.3 .68 1.5, ns

Mother's Education 3.59 1.78 1.9 1.29 7.35, p<. 01

Father's Education 4.4 1.58 3.3 1.48 5.0, p<. 01

Mother's Occupation 1.30 .74 1.09 .29 3.0, p< .01

Father's Occupation 3.1 1.44 1.9 .95 12.35, p<. 01

Family Income 2.89 1.59 1.56 2.90 7.8, p< .01

Parents Impairment 4.91 .48 4.87 .63 0.5, ns

48.03 15.48 34.29 8.99 7.55, p< .01

ns= non-significant

The result on correlations revealed (Table 2) that stress had

significant inverse relationship with academic performance for the
non-impaired group, which was quite expected, but both had low
positive association in the case of hearing-impaired students. This
suggested that higher stress significantly reduced performance of
adolescents without any impairment but, had low facilitative
effects on academic performance of the hearing-impaired
students.Secondly, self-esteem did not correlate with academic
performance of students in both the categories. However, good
social-emotional adjustment had significant facilitative effects on
academic performance of hearing-impaired and non-impaired
adolescents. Results also revealed that almost all demographic
variables had significant association with academic performance
of the hearing-impaired students, while the number was few in
the case of the non-impaired students. Hearing-impaired students
older in age and with more siblings showed poor academic
performance. Socio-economic variables like, parents' education
and occupation, family's income and personal characteristics like,
severity of impairment, had significant positive correlation with
academic performance of hearing-impaired students.This
indicated that hearing-impaired adolescents who belonged to
families with better socioeconomic condition and those who were
totally deaf, had a better academic performance.Age of onset of
disability and parental hearing status did not correlate
significantly with academic performance of the hearing-impaired
adolescents. However, low positive correlation between these
variables suggests low positive impact of congenital deafness and
deaf parents on academic performance of these students.

Table 2. Correlations between Academic Performance and different

Psychosocial and Demographic variables

Academic Performance

Stress 0.13 -0.23, p< .05

Self-Esteem 0.003 -0.16

Social-Emotional Adjustment. 0.43, p<. 01 0.43, p< .01

Age -0.32, p<. 01 -0.06

No. of Siblings -0.24, p<. 05 -0.17

Mother's Education 0.45, p<. 01 0.13

Father's Education 0.36, p<. 01 0.07

Mother's Occupation 0.24, p<. 05 0.13

Father's Occupation 0.42, p<. 01 0.19, p< .05

Family Income 0.43, p<. 01 0.09

Parents Impairment 0.10 -0.09

Severity of Impairment 0.23, p<. 05 -----

Age of onset of Disability 0.07 -----


A large body of research has shown that children with hearing-

impairments are at risk of more social-emotional maladjustment
than their hearing peers (9, 16, 17). Contrary to these and other
studies which found no significant difference between hearing-
impaired and their normal hearing counterparts on social-
emotional adjustment (18, 2, 19), the present finding noted
significantly better social-emotional adjustment in hearing-
impaired students which thus lent support to the study by Jyothi
and Reddy (20). Such a finding could be due to many factors.
Firstly, the social-emotional adjustment of the hearing-impaired
could be related to the quality and quantity of social interactions
inside the school (21), as the early placement of these children in
schools was expected to help them to improve their total
communication pattern (i.e. sign language, finger spelling, and
gesture) and teacher- student interaction in particular, which
could have affected teachers' rating of students' social-emotional
adjustment. Furth (22) contended that to a large extent, schools
guaranteed deaf language proficiency, strong peer and student-
teacher interactions, which helped them to achieve better
psychosocial adjustment. The demographic data revealed that all
hearing impaired children included in the study had preschool
training. Pre-schooling facilitated social interactions and social-
emotional adjustment. Informal discussions with teachers
revealed that the teachers had strong belief that these students
and their parents were quite accustomed to the stressors
associated with bringing up a hearing impaired child, and did not
find socialemotional adjustment difficult when the child reached
the adolescent stage, which is substantiated by the finding of
Henggeler, Watson, Whelan and Malon (23). To some extent, the
higher social-emotional adjustment of the hearing-impaired could
be sample specific, as the hearing impaired group were a more
heterogeneous group with a wide range of hearing loss. However,
the finding was encouraging in a sense, that despite the equal
level of stress and self-esteem between the two groups, these
hearing-impaired adolescents were able to maintain good
adjustment as well as academic performance.
The finding of better academic performance of hearing impaired
students could be interpreted by using the individualistic theory
(24), which proposed that normal surroundings tend to compound
the inferiority feelings in hearing-impaired persons which makes
them try hard to develop and strengthen the compensatory
mechanisms to achieve superiority (exhibited in better academic

The finding related to children without impairements could be

sample specific related to an urban and changing milieu of a
metro city like New Delhi. Another possible explanation could be
the variations in academic support given by the teachers before
the examination.The hearing-impaired group perhaps got more
help and support from the teachers, as compared to the non-
impaired students, resulting in better academic performance.
Help from the schools was also bolstered by the parents, as they
belonged to families with a better socio-economic condition. The
finding was in contrast to the finding of Loeb and Sarigiani (25),
reporting better academic performance by the non-impaired
students than the hearing-impaired students which however,
could be attributed to the difference in the sample characteristics
of these two studies.

Results on correlations revealed that the non-impaired students

who were more stressed had low academic performance. This was
in line with the drive theory of Spence and Spence (26), and
consistent with many research findings (27, 28, 29, 30, 10) which
suggested that a higher level of stress affected level of anxiety,
problem-solving skills, and thereby affected performance
adversely. The relationship was low positive in case of the hearing
impaired students, which indicated that the existence of pressure
resulted in improved scores for these students. This was also
corroborated by Srivastava and Naidu (31) reporting moderate
stress to be facilitating and conducive of efficient functioning.

An anticipated finding was that good social-emotional adjustment

enhanced academic performance of all students. Similarly, the
finding of Rogers, Rogers, and Belanger (32) also substantiated
this present finding by reporting that educational outcomes were
positively associated with general adjustment to disability in
hearing-impaired adolescents.

Among the hearing impaired students the older ones being in

higher classes perhaps, were more worried about their future but
had lesser academic competence, and hence performed poorly.
They realised their inability to meet other's expectations, which
affected their academic performance adversely. Another possible
explanation is the possibility of some intervening variables, like
talk of a sign language teacher or interpreter, to the
hearingimpaired students during the final examination. This could
have presented a difficulty in comprehending the question-paper
and created a wide communication gap between what was asked
and what the students answered in the sheets. But in the case of
students at a lower educational level, this problem was not there,
as the school authorities conducted an internal evaluation.

Another interesting finding in the case of hearing-impaired

students was that those with more siblings had poor academic
performance. The development of language competence in
hearing-impaired children requires good parent-child interactions,
which become less if the number of offspring was more. As the
hearing-impaired children mature and face increased linguistic
and social demands, they require extra help from their family
members, apparently absorbing a great amount of family time,
energy, money and emotional resources. The lack of such
interactions raises the risk for deaf children not to be able to
reach their full potential (33).

Significant positive correlation was found between severity of

impairment and academic performance of hearing-impaired
adolescents, indicating deaf students to be better performers
than the partially hearing-impaired, which was in contrast to the
findings of Powers (14), reporting no relationship between degree
of hearing loss and examination success. The difference could be
attributed to the difference in sample characteristics of age and
different degrees of hearing loss.

All socio-economic variables like, parent's education, occupation,

and family income had significant positive correlation with
academic performance of the hearing-impaired adolescents and
was consistent with several studies (34, 35), that showed the role
of higher socio-economic background in their psychological well-
being and academic performance.For them early diagnosis and
intervention, and some important decision like, school placement,
pre-school experience, educational guidance at home, and
interaction with the school authorities for monitoring their
educational progress, etc. depended more upon parents'
awareness, insight and updated knowledge and could thus
facilitate their academic performance in long run. In case of
students without imprements, only father's occupation had
significant positive relation with academic performance. As these
students belonged to a lower socio-economic background, the
father 's occupation played a crucial role in managing the family,
in creating educational ambitions among their children and in
driving them to achieve better in academics.


The implications of these findings for educational programmes

and practices indicate that academic competence as well as
performance could be protected till hearing impared students
complete the first qualifying examination to enter into the job
world. Instead of a fixed curriculum and examination system, the
provision of distance/ open examination system having more
options in selecting subjects could be more beneficial for them to
perform better at least at higher educational levels. Reducing the
number of language based subjects and introducing subjects
based more on activity and ability, into the existing curriculum
could help them not only in securing good marks but also in
preparing them for the job world. In developing countries like,
India measures should be taken to launch programmes for
parents focusing on early identification, preventive measures,
pre-schooling, parentchild interaction, and the importance of
small family.

Further research is needed on hearing-impaired students from

residential and integrated/ fully integrated/partially integrated
settings undergoing different systems of examination, and
including a control group with equal socio-economic status for
better generalisability of the findings of the present study.