“It is not easy to develop a curriculum, you need to know what other people are doing so that you can benchmark. By training them, we are learning from them because we do not do things the same way.”

Aimed at helping officials in management positions in the education sector develop curriculums for best-practice vocational training, Dr Sharon Mampane, course leader on the Curriculum Development for Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) short course presented by Continuing Education at University of Pretoria Trust (CE at UP), stated that training of this nature is vital not only for delegates, but for the country as a whole.

Delegates from Tanzania recently had the opportunity to receive guidance from Dr Mampane in terms of using existing ideas and information they have to develop curricula. To achieve this, in-depth practical discussions were held where delegates were challenged to dissect topics relevant to their own sections and experience in TVET.

According to Dr Mampane, this task helps a great deal as delegates get to come up with ways they feel can work, while getting ideas from each other. “It is a step-by-step process; they do all the research and come up with methods and present it to the entire group. They must cover everything as well as the activities that must be in the curriculum.”

The delegates spoke highly of the training and were looking forward to learning even more. Ms Mongella Neema expressed her gratitude for being able to be part of such an opportunity to learn about the structure of TVET in South Africa, and stated, “We differ, we have a curriculum that is operating, but we wanted to see how South Africa does it so that we can compare best-practices back home.”

Another delegate on the course, Mr Twaha A. Twaha, said that what he had learned would be useful, especially when he goes back and imparts that knowledge to his fellow colleagues. “It will help out a lot, especially when assisting technical training institutions in developing competence-based curriculums that will ensure that graduates become functional and are ready for employment.

“I am also very happy to have met experienced lecturers, and the assessment gave me time to summarise all that has been shared on curriculum issues,” he added.

Delegates were also given the opportunity to go on field trips to various institutions and industries where they were able to see exactly what happens at other TVETs and interact with relevant role-players there. To Dr Mampane it was important to do this so that there is a link with the institutions and the industries.

“We should not only teach delegates – when they get their qualifications, they should be able to enter the work sector.” She also emphasised the importance of having more training opportunities like these, saying that the benchmarking should help build strong relations with South Africa and Tanzania – but very importantly – other African countries as well.

Above: Delegates from Tanzania attending the Curriculum Development for Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) short course presented by the Department of Science, Mathematics and Technology Education at the University of Pretoria and CE at UP.