Interview: Hussain Ibrahim Al Hammadi
How is ACTVET encouraging students to opt for technical training programmes?
HUSSEIN IBRAHIM AL HAMMADI: In order to boost enrolments, middle school students and parents are invited to visit ACTVET schools during open-days, while projects and achievements of current students are showcased during events and other initiatives. Great emphasis is placed on the superior level of education in Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) high schools compared to the other available programmes.
Ad hoc awareness campaigns are also designed in cooperation with industry partners to target high school students. Such initiatives assist students in selecting a career pathway in line with their skill potential that guarantees employability. Furthermore, ACTVET is also working with the Abu Dhabi Education Council on a master plan to ensure that all facilities and schools in the emirate are equipped with the latest technology to serve industry’s demand for a skilled Emirati workforce.
Does the existing availability of vocational schools meet the needs of the local market?
AL HAMMADI: Since 2011 the number of students in high school and post-secondary TVET institutions grew to 13,200 in the 2013/14 school year, a 40% jump compared to 2011/12 enrolments.
We are now expanding and building new institutions, such as Baynounah Academic City in the Western Region and two more institutions in Abu Dhabi, to meet the demand placed on Abu Dhabi Vocational Education and Training Institute (ADVETI) and Institute of Applied Technology affiliated schools and institutes. In the meantime, industry partners are needed to help build these institutions to prepare learners for work.
What different kinds of partnership is ACTVET developing with local employers?
AL HAMMADI: ACTVET is focusing on establishing strategic cooperation between education providers and industries to ensure that the designed programmes are aligned with the qualifications and skills required in specific industry sectors. For this purpose each programme offered by ACTVET has an industry advisory council. All programmes are credited by the National Qualification Authority and benchmarked with the European Qualification Framework.
What is the strategy for quality assurance (QA) for technical and vocational programmes?
AL HAMMADI: The QA strategy has been developed to support TVET providers in achieving excellent results for all stakeholders. The strategy addresses the challenges TVET faces, its position in the country’s overall strategy, and focuses on “institutional effectiveness” indicators to improve quality.
The institutional effectiveness model consists of a set of standards and 23 core indicators benchmarked to global best practices. The purpose of the model is to enable TVET providers to achieve excellent performance via better control and management.
How are vocational programmes being enhanced to boost student numbers at technical institutions?
AL HAMMADI: The perception of vocational programmes has changed significantly following the awareness raised by highlighting the value of technical and vocational education. The secure employability of students and the complete reform of the technical education system made by mapping industry’s need, which is aligned with the Abu Dhabi Economic Vision 2030, have played a key role towards this goal.
The quality of the system is improved by the loop of interrelations created among the key stakeholders: industry-ACTVET-secondary and post-secondary education providers. The quality of outcomes of the school system that are benchmarked with global standards and also expressed with the positive feedback by parents and industry, together with the 50% acceptance of the applications received each year, show an important change in the choice of educational pathway.
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