Innovating the Education and Training Process

3.1 The challenges facing the learner of the twenty-first century demand innovative approaches in TVE. This is seen most clearly in the need for a re-oriented curriculum to take account of new subjects and issues of importance. Obvious examples would include technology, the environment, understanding foreign languages and cultures, entrepreneurial capacity and the requirements of the rapidly growing service industries connected with leisure, tourism and hospitality.

3.2 The rapid pace of change also introduces the prospect of a virtual curriculum whereby learners must be prepared to cope with the obsolescence of their knowledge and skills, and the introduction of new elements which have yet to appear in common usage. They must also be prepared for a radically new labour market in which traditional wage-employment may be the experience of only a minority and self-employment in various forms may offer a high potential for economic independence in a new era of entrepreneurship.

3.3 The new information technology has opened up a whole new potential in technology-based learning. It should be possible to use and apply simple as well as modern technology and the new information and communication technologies in the TVE teaching and learning process without losing the valuable aspects of traditional teaching methods particularly the personal nature of the teacher-learner relationship. Technology-based learning should play a crucial role in the development of a culture of lifelong learning with the capacity to empower learners by providing them with multiple new pathways to meet their education and training needs.

3.4 The new technologies must be harnessed to provide widespread access to TVE. They should be used to make distance irrelevant and to render curriculum-based knowledge and vocational guidance information more easily accessible to all. They have the potential to offer flexibility in time and location to TVE delivery and should enable TVE to function as a catalyst for the penetration of new technologies in underdeveloped regions of the world, particularly in rural areas.

3.5 As the workplace calls for more sophisticated skills, a sound basic education must be provided as a prerequisite foundation for TVE. This should involve the acquisition of more complex competences in school, including enhanced literary and numeracy skills and the ability to understand and communicate through the tools of modern technology.

3.6 Since technology comes at a price, ways must be found through partnerships with industry, financial and aid agencies and regional and international cooperation to address the high costs involved, especially for developing countries. New ways must also be found to share intellectual property for the benefit of learners in all countries and situations.

3.7 Given the essential need for innovation in TVE, the role of the teacher remains paramount. New methods must be found for the initial training of teachers accompanied by the continuous upgrading of their competences and professional development. A rethinking must take place as to the qualifications required of the TVE teacher of the twenty-first century, including the optimum balance of training acquired on the campus and in the work place. They must be assisted to develop new and appropriate instruments of assessment, accreditation, articulation and certification standards.

3.8 TVE needs an early global warning system and more futuristic studies to enable preparation for changes in the work place and in society. Industry must be involved with governments and research centres in identifying the knowledge, skills and competences which will be required by the changing economy so that TVE systems can adapt. The prospect of competences applicable across regions and internationally should be addressed to respond to the projected escalation in resource mobility in the next century.