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The new program being introduced to replace the Apprenticeship program for vocational training is evidently marred with disadvantages, an extract from the Apprentice Mentor Training Program Learning Guide by a consultant who recently facilitated an orientation course indicates.
This raises questions from disgruntled Madirelo Training and Testing Center (MTTC) training staff, seeking clarity as to why the implementing of the program is hastened and the Apprenticeship, whose graduates are employed by even Debswana and parastatals like Botswana Power Corporation (BPC) is wholesomely abandoned by the Ministry of Labor; instead of step by step approach.
“As no system or approach is perfect, Competency Based Training (CBT) is not without shortcomings. Among the disadvantages of implementing the CBT approach are the following. However, viewed more positively the list can provide up-front warning of possible pit-falls: it takes a substantial amount of commitment, foresight, energy, effort and leadership to get started and keep going –especially when things get rough,” reads the extract’s introduction.
It further indicates that the ‘system’ rarely provides for the up front development time and funding necessary to adequately design CBT system, develop learning materials and media and train staff.
“It is fairly complex. One of the strengths of CBT is that it affects all aspects of a programme’s operation from curriculum, to media, to grading, to facility lay out. The down side of this complexity is that few individuals are competent and experienced in putting all these pieces together. So many things can go wrong. For CBT to be successfully installed, all pieces of the puzzle must be developed and then maintained. If one or more components breakdown, the CBT effort often fails,” reads the extract in part.
Furthermore, the extract underscores that instructors often find themselves wanting to implement CBT but do not have the time to develop learning packages, generate competency statements and all other CBT things that need to get done. Often, installing CBT becomes a second full-time job on top of the instructor’s primary job of teaching.
Ironically, the program which should take five years for trainers to have fully completed or where ‘circumstances are really pressing’; six months, was facilitated in one week.
In explaining how the introduction of the program is hastened, MTTC training staff employee (name withheld) said they received transfer letters at a time when they were to be attending to examination processes. They were not included in the orientation course.
“Staff members are destined to brigades and Technical Colleges where they will be expected to deliver as lecturers on the anticipated new CBT. They do not have Trade Certificates and are not fully trained to train on the new program. Some of the staff members are sent to brigades that do not offer their trades,” said the employee. He wondered whether the transfers is a calling for expulsion of the staff members at later stages because of incompetency as a result of lack of knowledge emanating from’ half cooking training of Trainers’.
The employees’ concerns follow a statement to parliament by the Minister of Labor, Tshenolo Mabeo who said that the MTTC is not closing.
The removal of equipment from MTTC workshop and transfer of training staff there prove that indeed it is closing down.