Vet4WesternBalkans

Meeting 24. and 25. June 2021 at “ JU Srednja elektrotehnička škola ,,Vaso Aligrudić’’ Podgorica” (“Secondary Vocational School of Electrical Engineering ‘’Vaso Aligrudic’’), Podgorica, Montenegro

Secondary Vocational School of Electrical Engineering ‘’Vaso Aligrudic’’ is providing educations for electricians/ electro engineers. It is licensed for adult education and uses educational programs (construction and maintenance of electronic safety systems, installation and maintenance of electro-communicational systems, repair and maintenance of electronic commercial devices etc.) implemented by new methodology that consists of modules, outcomes and key competences required for expert qualifications in order to meet the needs of the employers and the market.

FACTS: 

  • ‘’Vaso Aligrudic’’ has 123 employees including 96 teachers and about 1200 students.
  • It has described its overall mission (please see attached school presentation).
  • ‘’Vaso Aligrudic’’ has six programs for adult learning
  • In the school buildings are also other educations, among these, construction.
  • Its educations have been modulized and for the last three years, the school has worked with the dual system for the three years educations.
  • ‘’Vaso Aligrudic’’ has 20 extracurricular activities. Among these work with mobile telephones is very popular, Generally, the school has a focus on web and mobile phone development. Also, they work with development of robots
  • There are seven other schools of this kind in Montenegro
  • ‘’Vaso Aligrudic’’ has entrepreneurship as a topic. It is mandatory for the school since it was decided by their Ministry that they must have it.
  • The school earns some money from having exams (since the teachers hold them without salary) and spend it together with the funding it gets from the Ministry of Development.

 

The work and the challenges of the teachers

The teachers at ‘’Vaso Aligrudić’’ have been involved in making several textbooks and they have developed apps and video materials used by other schools.

So, the school was super ready for Corona! All teachers worked all day during Corona – not only their normal working hours.

In spite of the fact that the salaries of teachers are low, the staff at the school is very enthusiastic.

An element in the campaigns we will make in the framework of the VET4WB project should be to elevate the status of VET teachers.

The political situation in Montenegro is complicated and there is a focus on not allowing discussions on politics and religions to interfere with the teaching.

The school was involved in the development of the new national modular system and the learning outcomes. Now the curriculum is almost 4 years old and will be revised next year.  The staff at the school hope that the Ministry will listen to their inputs regarding what works well and what does not.

Bureaucracy and the focus on marks are problems.  Actually, the system was not ready for the changes that were made. There is a big amount of forms that the teachers must fill in daily with marks for each individual student. The teachers hate spending a lot of times on bureaucratic tasks and the higher levels in the educational system should focus more on the real needs of the schools and the students rather than on developing a lot of forms.             

The students and their parents are very focused on marks and do not understand, why the teachers not just simply give good marks to their son or daughter! The focus on marks has as one of its consequences that other competences than the academic ones, in general are not sufficiently appreciated. It is also a problem that there are private educational providers, who for business reasons are more likely to give high marks and let all students pass exams. The competition to attract students leads to a lowering of the general level of the educations. It also puts a pressure on the teachers of this school.

So together with the elevating of the status of the teachers, also the focus on marks could be an element of the campaign.

The dual system

The ministry has decided that the schools must cooperate with companies but the schools themselves have to identify the relevant companies and make agreements with them. And often the companies do not understand why they should receive the students and how to work with them during their work practice. The schools are not supported in this work by the Ministry and in general there is a gap between school and Ministry.

All students in the 3-years educations must have a work practice in a company and the 3rd year the company must pay them.

‘’Vaso Aligrudic’’ does not have a sufficient amount of companies to cooperate with and currently, the school has a project related to finding more companies and to identify and involve mentors, especially within the ICT field.  During their work practice, the students must develop a concrete product and in general the companies are happy with this. An interesting experience is that it is not always the students, who are the strongest in theory that are the most successful during their work practice. It then becomes clear that also soft skills are important.

The school mostly cooperates with small companies, however there are not so many small and medium size companies in Podgorica. It is difficult to send students to other towns for work practice due to expenses for transportation. The public sector does not accept students to have their work practice there. There are no chance of future employment and the students also know that. Regarding the public sector in general, the salaries are lower than in the private sector, however the working days are much shorter than in private companies, where you are expected really to work a lot.

Some of the companies, which the school cooperates with are previous students that are now having their own company (especially within ICT).

 

Selection of secondary partner in the project.

The PowerPoint presentations of the other EU partner schools were shown and the Montenegrin participants discussed which partner would be the best for them as their secondary partner. They selected the Slovenian partner Šolski Center. Several of the educations provided by Šolski Center are also provided by ‘’Vaso Aligrudić’’ so there is a good potential for cooperation.

 

Career Guidance

‘’Vaso Aligrudić’’ is following the national guidelines and has a very experienced and competent career guide, who presented the programs and the activities she and three other career guides are using. The guidance is given both individually and in groups, Sometimes also parents take part. All students are offered guidance and self-evaluation, role games about job interviews, development of CVs and portfolios, labor marked understanding, participation in employment fairs and workshops on identifying hidden talents are just some of the examples of the many activities that take place. 

The school also help students apply for scholarships and is cooperating with employment bureaus that inform about vacancies

The gender aspect: The school have many female students especially in the ICT field. They use the girls as role models and also participated in the campaign “Women in ICT”

Mobilities

 It will not be difficult to find students with sufficient knowledge of English language. For some of the teachers a refreshment course will be good.

 

Various

Joint task force in Montenegro: It will be relevant to invite a representative from the so-called VET Center, which is one of the four departments of the Ministry of Education.

The first National Event should be after the first mobility

The school principle Ms. Milanka Stanisić is appointed for six months to be the principal on duty. After these six months, there will be an announcement for the new principal (for four years period). We hope that she will become the new principle, however it is the Ministry that decides.

Two of the students of the school have develop an app for online enrollment. It became a very important tool for enrollment last year because of the Corona situation, it was used by a lot of persons, and the Ministry uploaded it to its website. By the end of the meeting, one of the two students presented the app. (see photo below)

 

Partner: SOSU Østjylland

Country: Denmark

Contact person: Bodil Mygind

Email: bmm@sosuoj.dk

SOSU Østjylland is a major VET college in basic social and health care. The VET programs are based on the dual training principle: Theoretical and practical education at the college alternates with practical training in an approved company. This ensures that trainees acquire theoretical, practical, general and personal skills, which are in demand on the labour market. The college works in close cooperation with employers and is very experienced in mobilities, international cooperation and export of VET expertise. Its international strategy specifies that mobilities should support the personal and professional development of learners and staff and strengthen the organisation. Three staff members have been specialized in international cooperation. They are fulfilling tasks for Danish ministries and private companies in this field as a part of their job for the college. These staff will work in V4WB. The person to be manager of the project has extensive experience as project leader and key expert in projects in Albania, Russia, the Baltic States, Poland and Turkey and lately experience from ERASMUS+ KA2 and KA3 projects. This experience is crucial for leading a project with a big and varied consortium as this one.

Partner: Centro de Formación de Administración y Hostelería, S.L.

Country: Spain

Contact person: Eva Díaz

Email: ediaz@cebanc.com

Centro de Formación de Administración y Hostelería, S.L.  delivers in-service, initial and adult vocational training. It has two principal objectives: a) modernize and internationalize the institution through incoming and outgoing student and staff transnational mobility; b) participate in European and international co-operation projects. Ten of the tertiary level students do a thirteen-week internship in a foreign country each year. Around seven members of staff go on five-day mobility programmes that make an important contribution to their professional growth and degree of job satisfaction. It offers courses in hospitality and tourism and works closely together with Cebanc, which is offering administration, business and marketing, health and computer science. Two staff members from this partner will work in this project. One of them has a big experience with all aspects and challenges of mobilities; the other one has expertise within VET pedagogy.

Partner: Alternative Pro

Country: Albania

Contact person: Giancarlo Milanese

Email: milagian@gmail.com

Alternative Pro is one of the largest and best-established centers of learning in Albania. It educates fashion designers, hairdressers, managers, make-up artists, operators, tourism operators, and marketing specialists. It organizes courses for young women that cannot frequent schools because of economic and social problems in rural zones of Albania, Kosovo and North Macedonia. The Albanian partner will select for the project activities, staff that are not only professionally and pedagogically competent but also open-minded, ready for changes and for sharing experiences with colleagues and others.

 

Partner: EfVET, European Forum of Technical and Vocational Education and Training

Country: International NGO (officially registered under Belgian law)

Contact person: Stefano Tirati

Email: efvet-office@efvet.org

EfVET, European Forum of Technical and Vocational Education and Training is a European umbrella organization of 220 technical and vocational education and training providers from 35 countries. It represents directly the views of its members on VET issues to all the European Union Institutions and Bodies and responds to all appropriate consultation processes. Staff from the organisation to take part in this project, will be persons with experience in dissemination and staff who has participated in the INTERVET Balkan project.

Partner: Tradium

Country: Denmark

Contact person: Anne Birthe Mortensen

Email: abm@tradium.dk

Tradium is a large VET provider with a broad spectrum of programs. It has very good connection to companies in the region and knows the needs of the labour market very well. All its VET programmes except one have the dual system (theoretical and practical education at the college alternates with practical training in an approved company). It has a well-established “guidance-center” as well as a team of company councellors, employed at the college. Furthermore, the local municipality has established its youth guidance center on its facilities. The organisation has experience from participation in projects aiming at attracting girls and woman to traditionally male dominated educations. Two staff members will work in the project. One of them is very experiences in counselling and career guidance, cooperation with companies and attracting females to male professions and the other is a teacher, educated in Kosovo and very familiar with the conditions on Western Balkan.

 

Partner: Šolski center Kranj

Country: Slovenia

Contact person: Nataša Kristan Primšar

Email: Natasa.kristan@sckr.si

Šolski center Kranj offers VET education in informatics, electro-technics, electro-energetics, mechatronics, economy, services and civil engineering. Educational work takes place in modern lecture halls, classrooms, laboratories and workshops. It has signed agreements with more than 300 companies and organizations where pupils and students can perform practical training. The organisation has staff experienced with the development of VET in Slovenia in the period from being a part of the socialist Yugoslavia to becoming an EU member stat with a liberal economy. This experience of going through transformation and adapting to new conditions is a competence that is relevant to share with the Western Balkan countries. Other relevant staff for this project is the teachers with teach subjects that are also common among our Balkan partners.

Partner: Stichting Landstede

Country: The Netherlands

Contact person: Lambert Smit

Email: lsmit@landstede.nl

Stichting Landstede has 20.000 students and offers a wide range of vocational programmes. It has built up a sustainable relationship with companies, schools and other kind of organisations not only locally, but also internationally. It provides competence-based education that gives students the opportunity to work on their own talents and is one of the leading organisations in this field in the Netherlands, where competence-based learning is being used in all VET. Staff with experience in competence-based learning will be involved in this project as well as staff with expertise in international cooperation.

Partner: Secondary Vocational School of Electrical Engineering ‘’Vaso Aligrudic’’ Podgorica

Country: Montenegro

Contact person: Selma Šabotic

Email: pedagog@ets-pg.edu.me

Secondary Vocational School of Electrical Engineering ‘’Vaso Aligrudic’’ Podgorica uses the latest educational programs and technology, implementing workshops and trainings to contribute the quality of teaching methods and to provide expert qualification for students and continuous development for teachers. It is licensed for adult education and uses educational programs (Construction and maintenance of electronic safety systems, installation and maintenance of electro-communicational systems, Repair and maintenance of electronic commercial devices etc.) implemented by new methodology. The Montenegrin partner will select for the project activities, staff that are not only professionally and pedagogically competent but also open-minded, ready for changes and for sharing experiences with colleagues and others.

Partner: Upper secondary technical school “Shaban Spahija”

Country: Kosovo

Contact person: Arben Gjikolli

Email: nebra592011@gmail.com / nebra592011@hotmail.com

Upper secondary technical school “Shaban Spahija” has about 1.000 students and offers VET education within electrical engineering, machinery, construction, and textiles. It has compiled a memorandum of understanding with local enterprises in order to define duties and responsibilities for internships. The Kosovo partner will select for the project activities, staff that are not only professionally and pedagogically competent but also open-minded, ready for changes and for sharing experiences with colleagues and others.

Partner: STANDO LTD

Country: Cyprus

Contact person: Anna Nicolaou

Email: standoutedu@standoltd.com

STANDO is a research and educational organisation, dedicated to the advancement of research and innovation and is, at the same time, an approved VET Centre (VET provider).It actively participates in the planning and implementation of national and international projects, aiming at providing innovative solutions that facilitate the development of people and the cohesion of societies. Its strength primarily lies in a highly qualified team and its extended network of international partners. For this project, the organisation will involve staff that are experts in dissemination, quality assurance, entrepreneurship fostering and innovation.

 

Partner: High school of Metalworking crafts

Country: Bosnia and Herzegovina

Contact person: Elmedin Lukač

Email: direktor@jussmz.com.ba

High school of Metalworking crafts offers 3 years´ vocational education in all sorts of metalworking crafts such as car mechanic, metal sheet workmanship, welding, central heating and gas installations, water supply and sanitation installation, CNC machining technologies, jewelry crafts, among others. It also educates technicians in automotive field, mechatronics and aviation (engine and aircraft maintenance). The Bosnian partner will select for the project activities, staff that are not only professionally and pedagogically competent but also open-minded, ready for changes and for sharing experiences with colleagues and others.