but something ere the end,
Some work of noble note, may yet be done
One reason I am so irritated by the interference of the Prime Minister in the Vocational Education sector, when he should instead be trying to drill some sense into his Minister of Education, is that it causes confusion with regard to areas on which we have begun to make changes. Recently I was told that his committee had set up a committee to coordinate curricula for the tourism sector, but had forgotten to invite the TVEC. They had instead invited the Vocational Training Authority and, though the minutes of the first meeting indicated the need to involve TVEC, by the time of the second meeting this had been forgotten. And those who had set up the committee had failed to read through the relevant legislation, which would have made it clear that VTA was a delivering agency, whereas promulgating curricula was TVEC responsibility.
Meanwhile we had been moving on new curricula through the committee on the hospitality industry we had set up, as well as through the Tourism Industry Sector Council which the Sector Skills Development Programme team had tried to establish last year. That ran into some problems because they did not have hoteliers on it, but we have managed to change this and that too now seems ready to move forward.
So we had in November produced 3 month Level 2 course curricula for Room Attendants and Food and Beverage Service, which VTA is preparing to put into practice in January. This month we had moved on to curricula for Pastry and Baking and for Bartending. It was worrying then to be told that a curriculum reform process was going on elsewhere.
My initial reaction was to just ignore this, but I thought that would be irresponsible, so I asked that we be kept informed. There was a prompt apology and a gracious invitation to the next meeting, so I went, and felt there was much we could do together. In particular, though TVEC is responsible for NVQ curricula, we know that we do not have technical expertise and in this sector the lead should obviously be taken by the Sri Lanka Institute of Tourism and Hospitality Management. Its very able head, who chairs the sub-committee, shared the Hotel School curricula with us, and I thought that we should absorb some of the content in different subject areas. Conversely I feel they might benefit from a clear structure, and an inclusion of at least some aspects of the methodology to be adopted, which we now include in all NVQ curricula.
I did find, in exploring how we had developed our curricula, that there had been hotel school involvement, but it was not clear whether this had been formal. Some years back the Hotel School and TVEC had engaged in active collaboration, the former seeking NVQ status while TVEC sought their expertise to update what seemed not very productive curricula at the time. But with I think changes of personnel, this initiative lapsed, and worse there was little institutional memory on either side as to what exactly had been achieved. Continue reading