SOS CHILDREN'S VILLAGES FORUM - LEARNING SCHOOL

 
SOS CHILDREN'S VILLAGES FORUM - LEARNING SCHOOL
SOS Children’s
                                       Villages
                                         forum

                                                                                Learning School

No. 41 - 2010 - SOS Children’s Villages International - Programme Development
SOS CHILDREN'S VILLAGES FORUM - LEARNING SCHOOL
2   sos children’s villages FORUM

    Contents
    02        imprint
    03        Editorial – Christian Posch

    05	Learning School
    05  What type of education? – Barbara Schratz, Heger Akrout, Manuela Hinteregger, Daniel Ihansekhien,
    	Tajudeen Oyeleye, Tsering Thondup
    12  Competence and practical skills – Gisela van Bommel, Zaida Albino Loroño, Divakar Ratnadurai, Karin Demuth
    19  Schools as spaces for learning and living – Barbara Schratz, Virginia Paterson
    24	Towards a child-centred school – Heger Akrout
    28	Formal Education Policy: Learning for Life
    30  Your school, my school, our school – Virginia Paterson
    35  Paradigm shift – Sirje Raagmets, Ashot Kocharyan
    39	Education as practice for freedom – Fábio José Garcia Paes
    43	In other words – Siddhartha Kaul
    46	How do children and young people learn? – Barbara Prashnig
    51	MeetingCultures – Stella Mendonça
    54	For further reference: Children and their spaces – Karin Demuth
    55  Conference “Quality in Alternative Care“

    IMPRINT                                                                 Responsible for the contents:
                                                                            Christian Posch
                                                                            Editor-in-chief
                                                                            Karin Demuth
                                                                            Associate editor:
    FORUM is a magazine for the international exchange of opinions and      Sirje Raagmets, Barbara Schratz, Gisela van Bommel
    information on socio-educational, psychological and socio-political     Guest author:
    matters. FORUM is published twice a year in English, French, Span-      Zaida Albino Loroño, Heger Akrout, Fábio José Garcia Paes, Manuela
    ish, Russian and German. No commercial use is allowed. Articles may     Hinteregger, Daniel Ihansekhien, Ashot Kocharyan, Tajudeen Oyeleye,
    be reproduced if the source is stated. Date of publication: September   Virginia Paterson, Barbara Prashnig, Sirje Raagmets, Divakar Ratnadurai,
    2010.                                                                   Tsering Thondup, Gisela van Bommel
                                                                            Translators:
    Publisher:                                                              Language Services team of the General Secretariat,
    SOS Children’s Villages International                                   Lucy Percival and Ann Drummond
    Programme Development                                                   Graphic design, typeset:
    Hermann-Gmeiner-Strasse 51                                              Johanna Romillo
    A-6010 Innsbruck                                                        Cover photo:
    Austria                                                                 Joris Lugtigheid
    Tel.: +43/512/3310-0; Fax: +43/512/3310-5087                            Printing:
    e-mail: forum@sos-kd.org - www.sos-childrensvillages.org                smart letter & Services, Innsbruck
SOS CHILDREN'S VILLAGES FORUM - LEARNING SCHOOL
EDITORIAL       3

editorial

Dear reader,                                                 SOS Children’s Villages’ contribution

The United Nations Millennium Development Goals              So how is SOS Children’s Villages contributing to the
(MDGs) focus heavily on school education. Indeed, the        realisation of these goals? The 2010 statistics show that
second MDG calls for all the children of the world -         95 per cent of the children on SOS programmes received
both girls and boys - to be able to complete a full course   either primary or secondary school education, or voca-
of primary education by 2015. According to the 2010          tional education. The results of the Tracking Footprints
UN report on achieving the Millennium Development            Global Report show a similar picture: 98 per cent of the
Goals: “Enrolment in primary education has continued         adults who lived in SOS Children’s Villages as children
to rise, reaching 89 per cent in the developing world.       have a formal school diploma. Gender quality has been
But the pace of progress is insufficient to ensure that,     achieved here since this goes for both girls and boys (cf.
by 2015, all girls and boys complete a full course of        Tracking Footprints, Global Report 2010, p. 16).
primary schooling” (cf. UN MDG report 2010, p. 16).
                                                             As part of the Formal Education Policy, the groups of chil-
The third MDG runs “Eliminate gender disparity in            dren that SOS Children’s Villages targets (those without
primary and secondary education, preferably by 2005,         parental care and children at risk of losing parental care)
and in all levels of education no later than 2015”. The      will be expanded to include children in the community
UN report of 2010 adds: “In 2008, there were 96 girls        who do not have access to formal education. The biggest
for every 100 boys enrolled in primary school, and 95        challenge according to this policy is developing good op-
girls for every 100 boys enrolled in secondary school.       portunities for education for the target groups together
In 1999, the ratios were 91:100 and 88:100 for the two       with the state, the community and other parties. This can
levels of education, respectively. Despite this progress,    be accomplished, for example, by providing training and
gender parity in primary and secondary education - a         further training for teachers, through quality-improving
target that was to be met by 2005 - is still out of reach    measures for existing schools, or through the creation of
for many developing regions” (cf. UN MDG report              new opportunities for learning.
2010, p.20).
                                                             The primary objective of the policy therefore is to fur-
                                                             ther develop the quality of the existing education oppor-
                                                             tunities in the community, in partnership with the rel-
                                                             evant parties. In doing so, SOS Children’s Villages will
                                                             place more importance on working together with part-
                                                             ners to design and create than having sole responsibility.
                                                             In this way, more children can be reached, and greater
SOS CHILDREN'S VILLAGES FORUM - LEARNING SCHOOL
4   sos children’s villages FORUM - Editorial

    sustainability will be achieved. Should it be necessary     Also at the heart of the guidelines - as already de-
    for SOS Children’s Villages to build schools or kinder-     scribed - is the cooperation with state-funded schools.
    gartens due to a lack of plausible school-building oppor-   Sirje Raagmets and Ashot Kocharyan explain further
    tunities, then this should be done under the premise that   in “Paradigm shift” how this cooperation can be suc-
    these facilities can, in time, be successfully taken over   cessful.
    by the state, the community or by other parties.
                                                                An interview with Siddhartha Kaul allows us a glimpse
                                                                into the education work being carried out in Asia, while
    This edition of FORUM                                       Heger Akrout’s article, “Towards a child-centered
                                                                school” describes how the Formal Education Policy is
    This is what the Formal Education Policy says, and you      being implemented in Africa and the Middle East.
    can find a summary of the policy in the centre of this
    magazine. What the policy also calls for is “effective”     As well as all this, this FORUM deals with the question
    and “relevant” education. But what exactly does “rel-       of how children learn, and what they need to learn well.
    evant” mean here? In her article “What type of educa-       Barbara Prashnig, an expert in this area has her say - as
    tion?”, Barbara Schratz attempts to answer this ques-       do some children and young people. In a further in-
    tion and colleagues from different parts of the world       terview, Stella Mendonça describes the “MeetingCul-
    also offer their views on the matter.                       tures” initiative, which sees music and art used as tools
                                                                of education and development.
    One thing is for sure: a solid vocational education is
    relevant. “Competence and practical skills” deals fur-      At the very end of this magazine, we present a book
    ther with this topic. In this edition of FORUM, you can     which, with the help of two construction projects, re-
    also get to know some of the vocational training centres    veals the dreams children have for their living and
    run by SOS Children’s Villages. Despite their diversity,    learning spaces, and how their perspective can influ-
    they all have one thing in common: they tailor the edu-     ence the design and evaluation of children’s living
    cation they provide to the demands of the local market,     spaces.
    and are very successful in their work.

    In order for the policy to be implemented, an integra-
    tion process is needed in many of the SOS Children’s        I wish you an inspired and exciting time reading this
    Villages-run education facilities, which is described       edition of SOS Children’s Villages’ FORUM!
    by Virginia Paterson and Barbara Schratz in the arti-
    cle “Schools as spaces for learning and living”. What
    the policy means when a new SOS Hermann Gmeiner
    school comes into being is explored in “Your school,
    my school, our school”.                                     Christian Posch
SOS CHILDREN'S VILLAGES FORUM - LEARNING SCHOOL
What type of education?               5

                                                  What type of
                                                   education?

                                                                                                                           © Patrick Wittmann
Education for All; education for girls; formal, informal, non-formal education; early childhood education, adult
education and life-long learning; basic, primary, secondary, tertiary and vocational education; health education;
relevant education: the number of terms to describe education from a specific point of view is endless.

Our view of education depends on our cultural and so-         cially better social status when compared to those who
cial heritage as well as on our own personal experience       are considered to have a lower level of education or
of it. Our image of education, however, also depends          none at all.
on whether we are policy makers, practitioners, par-
ents or students; our lifestyle and financial situation
are further determining factors. Nevertheless “educa-         Education – a human right
tion” is often understood mainly as the formal aspect of      or thought control?
schooling, and thus the concept of “a good education”         In the late 70s Pink Floyd voiced their concern about
is reduced to whether a child attends a good school and       rigid norms of teaching and “thought control” in their
achieves academic success. Later in life, being “edu-         catchy song “The Wall”, with its line “we don’t need
cated” is seen as the ability to quote relevant literature,   no education”. Michel Foucault, the French philosopher
historical dates and formulas. This confers a superfi-        and critical thinker, deconstructed education systems
SOS CHILDREN'S VILLAGES FORUM - LEARNING SCHOOL
6   sos children’s villages FORUM - main topic
© Dominic Sansoni

                        as monocultures forming future generations into obe-       life experience, values, attitudes and skills are mostly
                        dient citizens and consumers in mass production units      developed from informal and non-formal education
                        of conformist thought – schools. Supporters of the         processes stimulated by families and communities.
                        UNESCO programme “Education for All” or the Glo-           The formal education sector often fails to address these
                        bal Campaign for Education advocate the human right        areas at all, or only in the context of “extra-curricular
                        to learning and development which every child in the       activities”.
                        world should be granted without any form of discrimi-
                        nation or exclusion.                                       So what do we mean when we, as a global organisation
                                                                                   focusing on child development and advocating chil-
                        According to Katharina Tomaševski, the late United         dren’s rights, state in our ONE Child Strategy that we
                        Nations Special Rapporteur on Education, govern-           “assure access to relevant education”? Do we mean the
                        ments around the world in the last decade spent an aver-   certified formal aspects of education, such as grades,
                        age of 12% of their total expenditure on defence, while    scholarly discipline, and academic success? Or do we
                        a mere 6% was allocated to education. This means           mean education as a unique, tailor-made, and holistic
                        there is a global average of at least 150 soldiers for     process which supports a child’s attempt to increase
                        every 100 teachers. According to the latest estimates      her/his innate abilities and skills? Do we see educa-
                        by UNESCO, there are still over 70 million children        tion as a process through which children learn to think
                        worldwide who cannot exercise their right to education.    beyond textbooks and blackboards, beyond teacher-led
                                                                                   instruction and repetition? Do we mean those processes
                        In most cases, certificates from colleges, universities    that stimulate an individual’s ability to ask questions,
                        or other higher education institutions open doors to       to address issues of inequality, to make informed deci-
                        well-paid white collar jobs. Vocational training or life   sions, and to participate actively and unreservedly in
                        and work experience alone, on the other hand, only al-     social and economic life?
                        low for lower paid jobs or cannot provide a route out of
                        unemployment. Degrees are required to get jobs, but
SOS CHILDREN'S VILLAGES FORUM - LEARNING SCHOOL
What type of education?                 7

                                                            the same time they give them a chance to develop their
                                                                     + + + Views on the subject + + +
                                                            own set of social norms.
                                                               Heger Akrout, Director of Programme
                                                            In this way children
                                                                Development,       canMiddle
                                                                               Africa,  learn respect
                                                                                               East; by being respect-
                                                                Tajudeen   Oyeleye,    Regional
                                                            ed themselves. They learn to make    Office
                                                                                                     choices and under-
                                                                Central  and  West  Africa;
                                                            stand the consequences of their choices. Student per-
                                                                Daniel Ihansekhien, Regional
                                                            formance   is not measured against the norm, or against
                                                                Office North West Africa
                                                            the benchmark of standardised test results. Instead, it is
                                                            revealed in the students’ portfolios in the form of indi-
                                                            vidual  signs ofprovides
                                                                Education     progresstheand understanding,
                                                                                          wings                 as well asIt
                                                                                                 for human progress.
                                                                helps the individual to advance   intellectually,
                                                            the ability to apply what has been learned.           physical-
                                                               ly, spiritually and emotionally. In some ways, education
                                                               helps the individual to lead a happier life, especially in
                                                               the modern world where specific skills are often need-
                                                               ed to understand how the world around us functions.
                                                               Education dignifies a person, and can either be of a
                                                               formal, informal or non-formal nature.

                                                               What is meant by relevant education? Education is
                                                               said to be relevant when it addresses the specific and
                                                               individual needs of individuals so that they can contrib-
                                                               ute to the growth and development of the environment
                                                               in which they live. This can take place in three main
                                                               domains of learning: cognitive, affective, and psycho-
                                                               motor. If these three areas are covered, the individual
                                                               can develop holistically. Relevant education helps to
                                                               promote the ethics, norms and culture of the people.
© Iván Hidalgo

                                                               A relevant education system is a complex entity which
                                                               cannot be reduced merely to economic terms. Rele-
                                                               vant education addresses the real issues that plague
                                                               society. In fact, education lies at the heart of every so-
                                                               ciety and must be understood in a wider context than
                                                               just formal schooling. Relevant education is primarily
                                                               about the effectiveness of educational interventions,
From teaching to learning                                      which can be measured in different areas of the edu-
                                                               cational system.
Our understanding of education is also influenced by
                                                               Analysing how relevance and relevance criteria are
how we understand children. If we see a child as a             defined in terms of their applicability to the Formal
unique individual, who brings along a range of skills          Education Policy of SOS Children’s Villages, you can
and capabilities, then education can be a stimulating          immediately see the potential relevance of the policy
and multilayered process which supports the further            which advocates relevant high quality education for all
                                                               the children of our target group, and which is free, in-
growth of existing skills and abilities, beliefs and eth-
                                                               clusive, compulsory and sustainable. The goals were
ics. It enables children to strengthen their capacities,       clearly defined in relation to the Millennium Develop-
to enrich knowledge, and to develop a set of ethics and        ment Goals (MDGs), the UNESCO actions for Educa-
values. Education then means guiding curiosity, creat-         tion for Sustainable Development (ESD) and the aims
                                                               of UNESCO’s Education for All (EFA).
ing individual learning options, and allowing children
to research and experiment. If education is conceived          With the help of these goals, we shall be able to firmly
in this way, teachers are there to support and facili-         establish our Hermann Gmeiner schools, with their
tate learning. They have a creative role. Parents with         school profile and curriculum, as “schools for develop-
this kind of mindset do not discipline, but explain and        ment”.

thus help a child to understand right from wrong. At
SOS CHILDREN'S VILLAGES FORUM - LEARNING SCHOOL
8   sos children’s villages FORUM - main topic

    What makes education relevant?                                  to topics like holidays, going shopping or trips to the
                                                                    seaside.

    Relevant education does not mean the same every-                One of the most efficient ways of acquiring literacy is
    where. It is determined by the factors of context, econ-        to start by reading and writing in your own language
    omy and culture; but also to a great extent by education        (mother tongue). Yet many school systems specify Eng-
    systems and the experiences today’s teachers and pol-           lish or French as an entry requirement, as they are often
    icy makers had when they were children themselves.              the languages of instruction, although neither the chil-
    And it is influenced by curricula and textbooks which           dren nor their parents speak them well.
    are often a far cry from children’s everyday realities.
    Textbooks published somewhere in Europe, often out-             Relevant education is also determined by our concepts
    dated, are constantly being found in classrooms of the          of teaching and learning. For decades, for example, in-
    south, where children barely know where their next              telligence was measured by intelligence tests, discrimi-
    meal is coming from. No wonder they cannot relate               nating against children with a different form of tradi-

                                   + + + Views on the subject + + +

       Manuela Hinteregger,
       SOS Children’s Village BIWAK (flat-sharing community
       for unaccompanied refugee minors), Austria

       Education is at the core of the integration process: it      Young people find that having inadequate command
       provides direction in a foreign country, offers stability    of a language presents a particular hurdle. For those
       through its daily structure, and helps with the acquisi-     over 15 years of age, there are no suitable educa-
       tion of linguistic skills, as well as opening the door to    tional provisions, special language courses or advi-
       future prospects.                                            sory programmes for training and jobs, which act as
                                                                    a bridge to general and professional education. The
       This fundamental basis for integration is only margin-       regulation banning young refugees from working and
       ally possible for young refugees in Austria, and has         the scarce opportunities for obtaining a work permit
       many associated obstacles. School attendance in a            represent the greatest barrier to education, as these
       foreign school system represents a special challenge         are the factors which most seriously restrict their
       in itself, and in addition, the young refugees have to       prospects in life.
       cope with past and present burdens (traumatic loss-
       es, experiences of violence and persecution etc).            Young people coming from a migration background
       The young people’s existing qualifications vary. Of-         are equipped with valuable resources, such as multi-
       ten young people barely had a chance, or had none            lingual skills and intercultural expertise. Participating
       at all, to attend school in their country of origin, per-    in educational programmes and opening up future
       haps because they had to work or simply because              prospects can ensure that young people play an ac-
       they were female.                                            tive part in social life and are able to make their own
                                                                    living. In this sense the following demand is valid: the
       It is especially difficult to find the motivation to start   right to education for all unaccompanied refugee mi-
       an education when the outlook is uncertain and               nors, irrespective of age, their status in the asylum
       there is little chance of getting further qualifications.    process, and their prospects for staying in Austria.
       If residence is pretty much guaranteed, educational
       options offer a route for a person to become self-
       sufficient and integrated. But even for young people         For further information, see
       who do not remain in Austria, education and acquir-          www.sos-kinderdorf.at/biwak
       ing a language can mean they have greater chances
       of finding a job in their country of origin.
SOS CHILDREN'S VILLAGES FORUM - LEARNING SCHOOL
What type of education?                       9

                                                                                                                  © Iván Hidalgo
tional upbringing. Neuroscience and authors writing          cation or university degrees, who cannot find employ-
about multiple intelligences (such as emotional, social,     ment, receive a special form of education. They have
spatial, intra- and interpersonal intelligence) have pro-    to unlearn their experience of mainstream information
vided a fresh perspective, but education systems still       accumulation and are challenged to create a new un-
need to catch up.                                            derstanding of their life: how to develop the capacity
From research we know that heterogeneous groups rep-         to take informed decisions and actively participate in
resent the best learning environment, but most educa-        society, take on responsibility for themselves, be flex-
tion systems still organise children according to age        ible, understand reality and think on their own. Learn-
groups in standardised classrooms. No consideration is       ing and the future are the components of their new cur-
made for children undergoing different phases of de-         riculum. “They come with a qualification, but they have
velopment, which need to be supported. There are still       no idea what they want to do with their life, and how to
only a few schools built in such a way that the teaching     achieve anything. They are expecting somebody to give
space can be adapted to learning processes and content.      them a job, but there is nobody there to do so”, says the
Mostly schools are strictly structured into classrooms       project manager, summing up the reality of the young
dominated by blackboards, where real life is overruled       people. In a tough eight month training-work project
by tables and charts, and teachers occupy a dominant         they learn to learn, to develop their creative potential,
position at the front, using chalk as their teaching tool.   to generate individual ideas and business plans, to be
At the Kenya Youth Business Trust, a non-profit orga-        pro-active, and they succeed.
nisation in Nairobi, young people with secondary edu-
SOS CHILDREN'S VILLAGES FORUM - LEARNING SCHOOL
10   sos children’s villages FORUM - main topic

                                                                                          © Seger Erken

                                                                 about adequate educational content and forms of de-
     Relevant education                                          livery.
     in the context of SOS
     Children’s Villages
                                                                 “Relevant” will always be what key stakeholders, in-
                                                                 cluding children and young people, parents, policy
     So – what does it mean if we want to assure access to       makers and practitioners define together as being rel-
     relevant education? First of all it means that we focus     evant to their given context. Relevant is whatever en-
     our work on making education available to all children      ables the development of the individual child in rela-
     in SOS Children’s Village programmes. It also means         tion to her/his potential and life situation, beyond all
     ensuring that all children in SOS families and families     boundaries and odds. What also counts as relevant is
     of origin can access high quality services in the area of   everything that is not limited by gender, faith, ethnic-
     early childhood development, for example in crèches,        ity or economic situation. Relevant is what expands
     kindergartens, pre-schools, as well as in primary and       thinking and learning beyond today’s knowledge, be-
     secondary education. Guaranteeing access to relevant        yond taboos, and beyond limiting regulations for an
     education also means working together with commu-           unknown tomorrow. Relevant education enables chil-
     nity-based or government education programmes to            dren to have the chance to live their life with the skills
     enhance the capacities and competencies of the state-       they need, so that they can exercise their rights and call
     funded schools and kindergartens involved. It also          on all forms of social and economic services. Relevant
     means advocating the right to free education, includ-       education allows children to live dignified and secure
     ing those with special needs or disabilities, children      lives, enabling them to develop all the skills they need
     from minorities, child labourers, trafficked children,      to make free and informed choices, and pursue their
     refugee children, and street children among others.         goals that one values and has reason to value.
     Whatever we do, then, must introduce a dialogue with
     key stakeholders, in order to exchange information          According to the Composite Learning Index 2010 (the
What type of education?          11

                                          + + + Views on the subject + + +

   Tsering Thondup,
   Principal, SOS Hermann Gmeiner School Pokhara, Nepal

   I have been working with children and learning com-          Education should be locally relevant and culturally
   munities since 1977 and continue to learn from peo-          appropriate, as it combines both conservative and
   ple of all ages as I go about my daily responsibilities.     progressive functions. Education is a powerful tool
   Children and young people continue to amaze and              for removing inequality, discrimination and inability
   educate me in their unique ways. They give me my             in any society. It should therefore be delivered in the
   share of stress and also moments of great joy. I know        best interest of the child or other target groups by
   that the best form of classroom discipline comes             word and deed.
   from the students themselves. Students who have a
   hand in creating the classroom rules find it easier to       Relevant education should be competently managed
   remember them and also observe them better. This             and supported politically and financially. The expecta-
   is a very simple illustration of what relevant educa-        tions of all the relevant stakeholders should be met in
   tion means.                                                  an honest, straightforward manner, and there should
                                                                be a clear understanding that respect and coopera-
   All over the world the family is the cornerstone of so-      tion are needs that stay with us throughout our lives.
   ciety. Countries with a proper system of social se-          In my opinion, relevant education should be based
   curity know that there has to be ‘give and take’ in          on a sound curriculum for the target groups involved.
   any society. Relevant education, in any local setting,       Evaluation measures should also help individuals to
   is basically what the community should receive from          develop their values, attitudes, skills, knowledge and
   society for all its children. It is what the best and wis-   competencies to the best of their abilities, and thus
   est parents would wish and ‘expect’ for their own            contribute to sustainable development.
   child’s growth, for the development of his/her body,
   mind and soul, for a fulfilled human life, and for the
   preservation of one’s cultural heritage.

Canadian compositional indicator for lifelong learn-            SOS Children’s Villages International,
ing) learning means to know, to do, to be, and to live          Programme Development
together. Hence, relevant education will always be a
combination of cognitive, social, emotional, physical
and vocational stimulation. In this way a person can de-
velop holistically as a unique human being within her/
his specific context and as a member of the wider com-
munity. A standard solution can never be relevant, as
education can only be relevant in relation to the real-life
situation of the particular child. Education is relevant if
it gives the child the opportunity to learn and unlearn,
to apply what has been learnt, and to adapt to changing
environments and challenges. It is all about developing
today’s skills for an uncertain tomorrow with new and
different challenges, even if these challenges affect the
teachers as well as the students.

Barbara Schratz
12   sos
                             SOS
                               children’s
                                 children’s
                                          villages
                                             villages
                                                   FORUM
                                                      FORUM - main
                                                         - main    topic
                                                                topic

         Competence and
         practical skills
© Claire Ladavicius

                           Vocational training as an
                           instance of “relevant education”
                           “Through the course on entrepreneurship I re-                developing their individual potential in all spheres of
                           alised that I could set up and run a successful              life. Vocational training also prepares them for more
                           business. Now I feel confident that one day I                active participation in society.
                           will open my own garage”. Wareksa, Ethiopia.
                                                                                        Globalisation, the shift towards knowledge-based
                           Vocational education and training is concerned with          economies and the use of new technologies have major
                           the acquisition of knowledge and skills for the world        implications for skills demand, as well as for human
                           of work1. This includes formal and non-formal educa-         resource development and training. The labour market
                           tion, short courses, apprenticeship training, soft skills,   is becoming more specialised and the economy is de-
                           entrepreneurship skills and much more. It supports           manding higher qualifications. People everywhere need
                           people, not only in expanding their skills, but also in      to develop their knowledge and skills on a continuous
Competence and practical skills                 13

basis, so that they can live and work meaningfully in                 op relevant vocational programmes in partnership with
a changing society, generating their own income 2 . In-               community members. This can include tailor-made
vesting in vocational programmes is therefore synony-                 vocational training for adults and young people, with
mous with an investment in the future; knowledge and                  an emphasis on soft skills such as entrepreneurial com-
skills are the engine of economic growth and social de-               petence, motivation and self-reliance. Programmes can
velopment.                                                            also be supplemented by advisory services and start-up
                                                                      support for income-generating activities in order to in-
High levels of youth unemployment in many parts of                    crease participants’ economic independence.
the world demonstrate the importance of skills devel-
opment for employability or self-employment. Many
young people can only dream of formal employment                      Gisela van Bommel
since they do not even have access to the training re-                Programme Officer International Co-operation,
quired for it. In the informal education sector too, many             SOS Children’s Villages Netherlands
a person’s productive and social potential remains un-
tapped. There is a lack of opportunity for young people
to develop their own skills to suit the specific working              1   UNEVOC (2010), http://www.unevoc.unesco.org/
and living environment.                                                   2.0.html?tx_drwiki_ pi1[keyword]=What%20
                                                                          is%20TVET, last accessed on 22 June 2010
Vocational programmes should focus on the develop-                    2   UNESCO (2002), Technical and Vocational
ment of an individual’s potential and capabilities and                    Education and Training for the Twenty-first Century
not on academic performance. Aspects of life skills
training and work-life balance should be just as much
a part of any vocational programme as pro-active atti-
tudes and positive action. Lessons learnt and expertise
built up in existing SOS vocational training centres and              A dream, an idea,
family strengthening programmes can be used to devel-                 a business

                                                                      The entrepreneurial training
                                                                      programme of SOS Children’s
                                                                      Villages Bolivia

                                                                      The capacity to dream is an essential part of what it is to
                                                                      be human. How can we help children and young people
                                                                      to dream and turn their dreams into reality? How do we
                                                                      tell them that the world is full of opportunities that we
                                                                      have to grasp, and that they should approach life with a
                                                                      positive and engaged attitude? SOS Children’s Villages
                                                                      Bolivia took on the task of conveying these ideas with
                                                                      its entrepreneurial training programme “Programa de
                                                                      Educación Emprendedora de Aldeas Infantiles SOS” in
                                                                      three schools and two vocational training centres. Our
                                                                      aim is to stimulate a spirit of enterprise and encourage
                                                                      the development of young dreamers in their childhood
                                                     © SOS Archives

                                                                      and adolescence.

                                                                      Betty Carrión is following the Cookery and Events
                                                                      Management course of the entrepreneurial vocational
14   sos children’s villages FORUM - main topic

                                                                                            © SOS Archives

     training programme. Twenty years old and the mother           teaching children not to give up at the first hurdle. If
     of two small children, she explains a bit about herself: “I   children and young people know how to take calculated
     only completed three years of secondary school. I found       risks, if the goal is clearly established, and if they can
     out about the vocational training centre with my sister,      count on a support network, then it is possible to realise
     who encouraged me to apply for cookery courses. The           their dreams and implement projects.
     course appealed to me as I would really like to learn how
     to cook and also because I want to run my own business.       A business man or woman combines a range of quali-
     The training centre gives me lots of support, for it isn’t    ties: the passion needed to realise a personal dream, the
     easy being a mother and studying at the same time. Eve-       energy for the steps they need to take, and knowledge of
     rything I learn gives me more confidence and reinforces       the environment. In this context, education represents
     my dream of having my own business some day.”                 the unifying link. We arrange the children’s dreams on
                                                                   the so-called “Dream Map”, according to the “size of
     The families and communities are a key factor in the          their dream”. This map helps to answer such questions
     work of entrepreneurial vocational training. They             as: What is my goal? What resources are available to
     should eliminate expressions like “That’s very hard”,         me, and what do I still need? Who can help me? In the
     “Maybe later”, or “No way” from their vocabulary. The         early school years the dream map is used as a tool for
     role of families and the community should consist of          elaborating projects. In the later years of schooling,
Competence and practical skills                               15

project development is primarily targeted at methods of
setting logical parameters and at business plans.

        Passion to
     REALISE the dream
                                  Energy for the
                                     steps needed
              Businessman/

                                                                                                                 © Alexander Gabriel
                 woman

       Knowledge of dream
          environment

Entrepreneurial vocational training can be seen as          necessary support network can be put in place to set up
a process for driving forward social and economic           the business. And with the help of this network, they
projects, preferably a combination of both. It is prem-     get down to work.
ised on community members sharing responsibility.
We establish the scope of vocational training in joint      Zaida Albino Loroño
working groups, based on the community vision of a          SOS Children’s Villages Bolivia,
productive economic development. At this point com-         Director of Programme Development
munity organisations are involved, such as neighbour-
hood associations, authorities, parent’s representatives,
and students.
                                                            The route to success
As soon as the scope of the vocational training has been
established, we work out the curricula, taking account      SOS Vocational Training
of the reality of the community and the dynamics of the     Centre at Monaragala, Sri Lanka
associated training area in question. The entrepreneur-
ial vocational training is underpinned by four pillars:     The SOS Vocational Training Centre (SOS VTC) at
the modules for specific vocational training, entrepre-     Monaragala was established in 2006 in response to
neurship, citizenship, and the environment.                 youth unemployment. The Monaragala district is situ-
                                                            ated about 245 km from the capital, Colombo, and has
The students, who are selected on the basis of a social     been identified as the second most underdeveloped dis-
survey undertaken by the community, follow these            trict in Sri Lanka. Most families live in poverty in a
practical and theoretical modules for six months. They      context of social instability.
learn to analyse opportunities, and from this to develop
entrepreneurial ideas. Their idea is then elaborated in a   The young people in the SOS VTC are provided with
second stage, known as the enterprise seminar. As part      training to help them improve their skills and thus share
of this stage the students complete a three-month work      in the development of their communities. The training
experience in local companies.                              is given to young people from families in need and to
                                                            those from SOS Youth Facilities in Sri Lanka.
They conclude by spending a further three months pro-
ducing the business plan for their entrepreneurial idea.    We offer six different types of training with a capacity
They present this plan to the community so that the         to train up to 100 young people at a time: our aim is to
16   sos children’s villages FORUM - main topic

     train 136 each year. The courses currently on offer are:                            Alongside vocational training, the SOS VTC tries to in-
     Car Mechanics, Welding, Carpentry, Industrial Elec-                                 troduce other subjects to these underprivileged young
     trician, Computer Applications and Ecotourism/Hotel                                 people: there are courses on career guidance, personal
     Industry. The successful trainees receive National Vo-                              productivity, first aid, fire fighting and evacuation pro-
     cational Qualification Certificates which provide easy                              cedures, and sexual health. Through these courses we
     access to employment in Sri Lanka and abroad.                                       aim to provide the young people who complete their
                                                                                         training at the SOS VTC with a smooth and guaranteed
     Besides skill training, the young people in the SOS                                 route to a prosperous future. The training involves a
     VTC are given free food, accommodation, uniforms,                                   constant combination of theory and practice. All these
     course materials, stationery, and bus fares. Students                               factors make the SOS VTC one of the most famous and
     are insured, their TVEC1 examination fees are paid,                                 respected vocational training centres in Monaragala
     and on successful completion of their training, they are                            district.
     awarded a certified certificate through the TVEC. We
     have made arrangements with some organisations and                                  The SOS VTC has introduced a Quality Management
     companies for the young people to get work experience                               System based on ISO 9001: 2008 and IWA 2:2007
     before they sit the exam. Most of these companies offer                             which are valid for the TVEC, and provides the option
     them jobs after their exam as they are skilled workers                              of a National Vocational Qualification up to level 3 and
     who have a recognised qualification. To date we have                                4 for successful trainees. The career guidance depart-
     managed to find employment for all young people who                                 ment set up in the SOS VTC, combined with the quality
     successfully completed our training.                                                management system, has been a driving force in paving
                                                                                         the way to success for the young people who qualify
     The SOS VTC is a registered training centre, its cour-                              from the SOS VTC.
     ses accredited by the TVEC in Sri Lanka in accordance
     with Clause 14 of the Tertiary and Vocational Educa-                                A Management Review Meeting is held once every
     tion Act of 1990.                                                                   three months to ensure the smooth functioning of the

     Statistics of the SOS Vocational Training Centre at 30th April 2010

                                                                w
                                                                Duration of the Course

                                                                                                                                                        trainees at the SOS VTC
                                                                (Including In house &
                                                                Industrial Training)

                                                                                                                                                        Present number of
                                            Course Accredited

                                                                                                                                     Number of passed
                                                                                               No of passed out

                                                                                                                  Pass rate of the

                                                                                                                                                                                  Class capacity
                                                                                                                  examinations
                                            Level at TVEC

                                                                                                                                     out trainees
                                                                                               batches

        Title of the course
     1 Car Mechanics                         3                  18 Months                      03                 100%               51                 18                        18
     2 Welding                               3                  18 Months                      03                 100%               39                 16                        16
     3 Carpentry - Furniture                 4                  18 Months                      03                 100%               25                 15                        15
     4	Electrician - Industrial              3                  18 Months                      03                 100%               29                 15                        15
     5	IT SKills                             3                  06 Months                      06                 100%               94                 18                        18
     6	Ecotourism / Hotel Industry           NONE               12 Months                      06                 100%               73                 NONE                      NONE
     	Total                                                                                    24                                    311                82                        82
Competence and practical skills               17
© Benno Neeleman

                   SOS VTC. The Management Review Meeting Commit-            The principle of sustainability
                   tee is attended by the National Director or his Deputy,
                   the Principal of the SOS VTC, student and staff rep-      The Farming Livelihood and
                   resentatives, the QMS officer and QMS Internal Audit      Improvement Programme
                   Coordinator.
                                                                             In April 2009 SOS Children’s Villages Ghana joined
                   The SOS Vocational Training Centre does everything        together with partners to set up the Farming Liveli-
                   conceivable to make the underprivileged young people      hood and Improvement Programme (FLIP). This pro-
                   into privileged ones, and we can assure any young per-    gramme has a preventative function on the one hand in
                   son who decides to join our training programme that it    matters relating to youth unemployment and rural-to-
                   will be a smart decision.                                 urban migration, or when children are being neglected
                                                                             or abandoned. On the other hand it secures food and
                   Divakar Ratnadurai                                        development in rural areas. FLIP began its work in four
                   Deputy National Director/Director Programmes              communities in the Asiakwa region of east Ghana. In
                   SOS Children’s Villages Sri Lanka                         the course of 2009, 450 orphans and vulnerable chil-
                                                                             dren and 120 carers/parents received support from the
                   1   TVEC – Tertiary and Vocational Education Commission   programme in various ways.
18   sos children’s villages FORUM - main topic

     The project targets young people in rural areas at three

                                                                  © Katerina Ilievska
     stages of their development: in their family environ-
     ment, during their time at school and after leaving it.
        Children need a supportive family environment as a
        basis for life, wherever the foundation for learning is
        laid. The project works with families so that they are
        better equipped to meet the development needs of
        their children, and can send their children to school.
        Children are not only encouraged to complete their
        basic education, they can also take part in extra-
        curricular courses. This way they can acquire the
        skills needed for organic farming as well as life
        skills. The aim is to equip them with the motiva-
        tion, knowledge and skills required for working in
        the rural sector and especially with the knowledge
        on organic farming.                                       ment and organic agricultural development has created
        On leaving school, young people are provided with         a positive synergy: it allows us to address the prob-
        start-up support to help them cope with the transi-       lems faced by children and young people within their
        tion to work, and create sustainable livelihoods in       communities while at the same time encouraging their
        the agricultural sector, thereby in turn contributing     potential.
        to local food production.
                                                                  The greatest achievement has been the overwhelming
     A supportive environment, combined with relevant ag-         enthusiasm of the communities in implementing the
     ricultural training and support for entering the labour      programme. The programme has received massive sup-
     market are important steps for giving young people in        port from community leaders, opinion makers, children
     the countryside the opportunity to create a sustainable      and young people, especially with regard to the organic
     livelihood in the agricultural sector. In doing so, there    agricultural elements. The positive response and will-
     will be an increase in the more skilled and productive       ingness to cooperate stems from the inclusion of com-
     youth labour force who will contribute to the local rural    munity members in the planning and management of the
     economy, promote local agricultural development, and         project, as well as the fact that the programme responds
     improve food security for the entire community.              to the needs they identified and enhances the opportu-
                                                                  nities available to them within their own communities.
     The project is based on a participatory approach. Fami-
     lies and communities are empowered to take charge of         Attendance levels in the programme’s activities are
     their own development and that of their children, and are    high, and the active and supportive role of community-
     provided with access to the necessary knowledge and          based organisations in implementing the programme
     skills. Existing community structures are strengthened,      clearly illustrates the high degree of community par-
     so that the benefits of the project are maintained after     ticipation. The use of community volunteers has proved
     its completion. Investing in the local partnering NGOs       useful in the implementation of FLIP, as they provide
     boosts their ability to manage not only this project, but    free services to the project and ensure that our resourc-
     future ones as well. The dissemination of best practices     es are actually used for the benefit of the families and
     helps to expand or even repeat projects. All partners are    young people.
     also eager to apply the lessons learnt to future projects
     in Ghana and other African countries.
                                                                  Karin Demuth
     The programme’s integrated approach, incorporating           SOS Children’s Villages International,
     the expertise of socio-economic community develop-           Programme Development
Schools as spaces for learning and living                     19

                      Schools as spaces
                           for learning
                              and living
© Katerina Ilievska

School alignment in SOS
Hermann Gmeiner Schools:
an international perspective
Why is it that schools around the world all look the         Schools which consider themselves to be “hothouses”
same? According to conventional theory schools are           of the future have come, however, to understand that
institutions using efficient instructional means to help     a school is not only a place for academic teaching, but
children reach the desired educational outcome within a      for learning, and the most valuable space, besides the
given timeframe. The publication of pass marks, league       family, for influencing our society’s future. Learning
tables and school rankings all contribute to public per-     is based on individual development, understanding, the
ceptions of what is deemed to be a “good” school, and        ability to apply things, convey what you have learnt,
a good school’s reputation is enhanced by exceptional        and in this way to create knowledge. Where learning
achievement in the “serious” subjects of maths and the       is prioritised, schools have come to understand and ap-
sciences.                                                    preciate the child as a unique person, to believe in each
20   sos children’s villages FORUM - main topic

     child as being of equal worth and to see the child within

                                                                   © Seger Erken
     her/his network of relationships. These schools work
     on setting up processes between students and students,
     teachers and teachers, and teachers and students, as
     well as within the wider community, that enable every-
     one to continue to learn and develop. The young people
     attending these schools do not want to miss a day – for
     such schools are not only a place for learning, but also
     for living, for students and teachers alike.

     Aligning schools – to what?

     SOS Children’s Villages’ Formal Education Policy
     is based on this child-centred educational approach.
     The planning of learning goals, facilitation of learn-
     ing experiences, methods of assessment and recording
     of achievements are all derived from the child’s needs
     and wishes. The abilities, challenges, pace and style of
     learning of each child are the driving force behind this
     process. Teachers have to respond to their students’ di-
     versity and vary the curriculum accordingly - the con-
     tent, the delivery method and the way in which per-
     formance is assessed and recorded. The ultimate goal is       Villages educational programmes. As we invest in edu-
     to provide equal experiences of education that address        cational interventions, we ensure the resources are used
     the needs of all children.                                    for our target group as well as for children whose rights
                                                                   to education are being violated. This mainly applies to
     Recognising the challenges presented by a child-centred       the most vulnerable members of society.
     approach, SOS Children’s Villages offers support to
     teachers in the form of continuing professional de-           Especially where the state education systems are weak
     velopment. As part of this training, teachers should          and low in quality, our schools, kindergartens and vo-
     develop an understanding of the social context of our         cational training centres (VTCs) have proven to be
     work and build the capacity to take on board external         high-quality educational establishments. Better schools
     professional support services. Teachers who have to           attract parents who can readily pay for their children’s
     concentrate on the needs of disadvantaged children            education. Much as we welcome children from diverse
     can work more effectively when their skills are en-           backgrounds who contribute to the profile and educa-
     hanced so that they can deal with learning difficulties       tional standard in our schools, we do have to account to
     and behavioural challenges. If our organisation fails         our donors. We must ensure that we use our resources
     to invest in the appropriate measures, our teachers’          primarily to benefit the children we want to support.
     capacity to meet the educational needs of our children
     will suffer.                                                  The third relevant aspect in the policy is the issue of
                                                                   ownership and funding of schools, along with the re-
     The second key aspect of the Formal Education Policy is       sponsibility of education authorities. Education is the
     the focus on the target group. SOS Children’s Villages        responsibility of those with legal obligations, including
     has set itself the aim of alleviating the lives of children   first and foremost the child’s main carers and the State.
     who are at risk of losing parental care or who have al-       SOS Children’s Villages participates in educational
     ready lost it. This also applies to the SOS Children’s        processes on behalf of the children in our programmes.
Schools as spaces for learning and living                 21

                             © Benno Neeleman

It is neither justifiable nor sustainable to take the own-   half of our target group children and other families in
ership of schools away from the communities they             the community. We also have to approach governments
serve. New forms of collaboration – as well as funding       and education authorities to become partners in fund-
sources – are needed to make programmes more rel-            ing our programmes, thus allowing us to ensure access
evant and sustainable.                                       for all children in the programme to quality education.

SOS mothers, parents, guardians, primary carers,             Where the provision of free education for all is not
teachers, community members, civic groups, local busi-       achievable, parents who are able to afford high-quality
nesses and education authorities, and not least the chil-    education can contribute by paying realistic school
dren themselves, all need a platform from which they         fees. Moreover the alignment process should also be
can influence the processes of SOS Hermann Gmeiner           transparent, to show that education subsidies are only
Schools. This will ensure a flexible and multi-agency        used as donors intended. Then National Associations
response to the educational needs of the children, fam-      and support groups will be able to collaborate more ef-
ily and community.                                           fectively to increase subsidies as the number of target
                                                             group children in our schools grows. Reaching the tar-
Building and maintaining schools is not the core busi-       get group with our education programmes also makes
ness of SOS Children’s Villages. Wherever there are lo-      it easier to obtain public support.
cal options for partnership funding for existing schools
and kindergartens, such opportunities should be ex-          Each continent is responsible for setting up its own
ploited; and where these possibilities do not yet exist,     framework for school development – a framework
they should be explored.                                     which is genuinely adapted to suit local circumstances,
                                                             but one which at the same time includes clear criteria
Where governments have established free and compul-          for the target group, quality standards and realistic
sory primary education, it is our job to pursue it on be-    funding partnerships.
22   sos children’s villages FORUM - main topic
© Sebastian Posingis

                            Are we there yet?                                          tion. Being a teacher is certainly a constant challenge:
                                                                                       stimulating learning in a fast changing environment
                            Some will ask why we have to discuss quality issues        against all odds needs creative and imaginative person-
                            at all, given that our schools are among the best in the   alities who love what they do, who are inspired by the
                            countries in which they operate. Others will worry         minds of young people, and who want to make a differ-
                            about the standard of educational performance if more      ence in their lives. Good teachers are inspired by the
                            children from disadvantaged backgrounds are enrolled       concept of creating a framework in which every child
                            in our schools. If schools are to be “beacons of excel-    can learn at his or her own pace. Such teachers reflect
                            lence” in serving orphans and vulnerable children,         on their practice with their peers on an ongoing basis,
                            rather than just pursuing academic achievement, teach-     eager to support the growing process of each child.
                            ers will have to reconsider their role. Some of them may
                            prefer to work in more reputable schools.                  Research shows that the “best” schools are the ones that
                                                                                       work within an environment characterised by diver-
                            Another problematic factor is that SOS schools, kinder-    sity; which are involved in continual professional de-
                            gartens and VTCs are often located far away from family    velopment; which reach marginalised children; which
                            strengthening programmes. We then have to think about      are part of their local communities; and which become
                            how we can increase the number of target group children.   learning and living spaces. These schools have real-
                                                                                       ised that learning and development are holistic proc-
                            We might also ask what to do about schools charg-          esses: that students need their intellect, a good diet;
                            ing high fees that do not reach our target group. SOS      a holistic curriculum and the support of their family
                            Children’s Village is a brand; and the brand needs to      and community; and they need a shared vision that the
                            come alive wherever the name and logo are involved.        school can make a difference. Research also shows that
                                                                                       schools can only achieve all this if they have commit-
                            Sometimes we hear that teachers are reluctant to teach     ted school leadership, and the whole school is learning
                            in schools with a diverse or “difficult” student popula-   together.
Schools as spaces for learning and living                  23

What needs to be done

In order to align our schools to the Formal Education
Policy we have to introduce processes that help us
evaluate the extent to which we have reached the target
group as well as assessing quality, ownership and fund-
ing structures. Within the quality management system
of each National Association, the school, kindergarten
or VTC will look at issues like quality standards and

                                                                                                                              © Katerina Ilievska
guidelines, stakeholder participation, resources and in-
frastructure, human resources management, and part-
nerships and communication. School heads and stake-
holders will discuss whether existing quality standards
meet or even exceed the formal education policy re-
quirements. The question will also be raised whether
there needs to be specific training for child-centred
methods or working with parents.                              and to understand how to assess an individual student’s
                                                              performance, not against a standard benchmark, but on
Schools must draw up development plans which can do           the basis of personal progress.
justice to student diversity and at the same time estab-
lish them firmly within the community. We also have           Our teachers feel honoured by the challenge of work-
to find creative ways of reaching our target group in         ing with the most vulnerable children. At the same
affluent areas.                                               time they are given the support they need to tackle this
                                                              challenge and the opportunity to engage in continuous
Quality development is a continuous process which             professional development.
takes stock of existing practice and the particular con-
text, adapting them to internal and external parameters,      Our schools are linked to learning networks as well as
research findings, and professional development.              being learning centres for other schools. They are proud
                                                              of what they are.

Doing the right things right                                  So what has to be aligned? In quality management it is
                                                              a matter of checking whether the right things are being
What is quite certain is that our schools, kindergartens      done properly. Policies provide a framework for con-
and VTCs work within the spirit of the SOS Children’s         tent and the alignment to policy is nothing other than
Villages mission, and want to be a positive influence         a quality test. It is what every professional organisa-
on the future of the most vulnerable children. They be-       tion needs to do, as proof of both accountability and
lieve in the human capacity for action and in children’s      professionalism – no more, no less.
rights. They believe that it is important for both students
and teachers to learn, and that there should be learning
spaces for the whole community. They believe in the
achievement potential of students and teachers, ensuring      Barbara Schratz,
that the young people have the space and time they need       Programme Development
for learning. They understand that one size does not fit      SOS Children’s Villages,
all, and that teachers in our schools can adapt national      Virginia Paterson,
curricula for individualised learning. Our schools are        Regional Educational Coordinator,
partnering with other schools, constantly exchanging          South Africa
information to make student learning more meaningful
24
24     SOS
     sos   children’s
         children’s    villages
                    villages    FORUM
                             FORUM    - main
                                   - main    topic
                                          topic

Towards a
child-centred
school

                                                                                                                      © Patrick Wittmann

     Developing SOS Hermann
     Gmeiner Schools in the context
     of Formal Education Policy in
     Africa and the Middle East

     “We want to inspire an education approach which puts         This can only succeed if we also boost the parents’ role
     the child at the centre.”                                    as the main people responsible for their children’s de-
     This is how the project charter formulated for the con-      velopment, and if the resources required are made avail-
     tinent expresses the goal of developing SOS Hermann          able to improve teaching quality and support teaching
     Gmeiner schools in Africa and the Middle East. An im-        staff in their professional development.
     portant part of this process is to make adequate resources
     available to ensure the quality of education facilities on   The following provides some important points for this
     a long-term basis, thus working for social justice in the    school development process in Africa and the Middle
     environment of the most disadvantaged children.              East.
You can also read
NEXT SLIDES ... Cancel