but something ere the end,
Some work of noble note, may yet be done
In developing curricula, I had to bear in mind that vocational training was based on a system of what were termed National Vocational Qualifications. There were supposed to be 7 levels of these, and I was initially told that there were curricula for all these levels, but this turned out to be a myth, like much else in the Sector.
For Levels 1 and 2 there were hardly any syllabuses, though what were termed National Competency Standards did exist. At these levels they laid down general competencies, including with regard to English, but no curricula for these were available at the TVEC. I was told that in fact there had been no certification at this level, but then our Director of Administration, who had been saddled with the job of producing certificates (and did this most capably, though the task should not have been thrust on him in the first place) informed me that several of these had been issued for a course conducted by the National Youth Corps.
When I looked into the test paper on which the certificate was based, it had no connection with the Competency Standards that had been developed. Why and how the TVEC decided to award a certificate on the basis of that paper is still beyond me, but I rather suspect that the decision was not theirs.
Well before seeing what had actually happened to NVQ 1, we had decided that this should be a Foundation Course in Building Career Skills, with emphasis on English Communication. The Youth Corps, which seems now to have realized that its course and its exam paper (which had questions such as the name of the Grama Niladhari Division of the candidate) were not very helpful, has now adopted our curriculum, and finally sent some bright young teachers for training. But whether it will do the job properly remains to be seen, given that it has other dimensions to the course it conducts, and may not do justice to either the English or the Soft Skills component of our course. Continue reading