Competency Framework Project – A Proposal
Title: Competency Framework Project – A Proposal
Author: Parisutham JOHN Britto
Date of Publication: 30/06/2012
My Students of ACADEMIC WRITING – G5 – 2012 FSP
“However many holy words you read, however many you speak, what good will they do you if you do not act on upon them?”
After having attended the Project kick-off (02/05/2012) and Project launch (09/05/2012) of Competency Framework Project and the first core team meeting (AIU focus group with Deloitte Consultants – 10/05/2012), I sit to write this piece of article.
After these series of meetings I have only become confident that we could positively be ready in September 2012 to start executing this God-given project. But we need to make everyone understand what this project is about as I see that that is the only stumbling block now. Otherwise I observe that every one of us is exited and ready to participate. As it is a natural process of every pioneering work and start of any new project, we do have all the resources but only that we need to put them in its appropriate places. This article may help in doing that.
(I would like to remind the reader that I only guess about the project from whatever I have heard and observed from these meetings and do not have any reference materials concerning the project from the management. If I may sound odd in any place please bear with me.)
This article tries to look into the following areas.
The Rationale of the Project.
The Perspective of the Project
The Components of the Project.
The Roles and the Rules of the project.
The Rationale of the Project:
Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” ― Nelson Mandela
Education system is one of the cogs of the big wheel, the socio-economical-cultural-political system but an important one. Education System all over the world gets revolutionized gradually to suit to the needs of its communities. But if one closely observes and analyses it is understandable that the system always serves the powerful. When the academicians are proud of creating skillful candidates, the market-oriented corporate world puts its expectation of ‘competencies’ beyond the present, placing a pressure on educational institutions, especially tertiary educational institutions, to produce a ‘better’ candidate with more knowledge and skills.
Many have the opinion that the present education system has its base on universal human values, various competency skills and a wide span of knowledge. But corporate world always places the expectation to suit to its ulterior motives of profit, giving emphasis to competencies, knowledge and the necessary attitudes to ‘behave’ efficiently in its premise, conveniently forgetting the human values that are more basic than the above.
In order to understand this project, we need to understand the differences and relationship between academicians, corporate sector, human values ambassadors, students and communities. The corporate people are the owners of the global car. The politicians are the drivers of the car. The academicians are the mechanics of the car. The peace ambassadors are the sign posts which the owners and drivers usually neglect to follow. The students and the general public are only passengers who could not decide on any functions of the car but to be the silent observer and pays for the tickets to travel in the car.
As the owners of the car the corporate sector sets the goals and priorities for the nations (drivers of the car) to follow but unfortunately for the selfish motives of their profit-centred economy without taking into considerations the benefit of the global community and the impact on the continuously getting depleted environment where it lives in. They need competent individuals to execute the tasks and so push every corner to achieve the same. What corporate sector needs is a complete wash out of their values of selfishness and a change in their perspective as one of prosperity for all.
The academicians are skillful mechanics of the global car and they could always act only within the system (as the owner and driver wishes to them to act). Many democratic countries have tried to shape their citizens more humane through its education system and as far as I know Malaysia is one of them. The syllabus, text book, the methodology, the infra-structure and the teacher training system have undergone major over hauling to clean up the mess of the aftermath of colonialism. What academicians have to rethink is why there is so much of dearth in human values even after they have shed their blood and sweat creating better citizens? The answer lies not in the commitment of the academicians but in other global political factors.
The peace ambassadors (NGO element – taking away the negative faces of them) are as mere sign posts that could only operate outside the mainstream system pointing out the wrong direction that the car travels. They have done their part satisfactorily, making the world community aware of the disaster towards which the globe moves in the deterioration of human values and of the environment resources. What do these NGO people have to do is that they have to involve in more mainstream mechanisms where they could really drive into major changes.
The students and the communities (the general public) have been the silent spectators, sometimes made mute observers and as live-commodities. In most of the global communities, they are the hard workers, not the beneficiaries but victims. They need to be educated and given proper knowledge, skills and attitudes based on universal human values to rise up and make this world a more peaceful and happy place to live in.
Imagine a scenario, where the owner, the driver, the mechanic, the sign post, the passenger are all in one perfect equilibrium, journeying together towards a desired direction. That is the end result that this project that we are talking about aims at. Is it practically possible? Let’s together shout “WHY NOT?”
In other words this project is nothing but academicians taking an NGO approach with the help of corporate sectors technology involving university students in community services to discover the human values in them and acquire life competencies to make this world better.
The Perspective of the Project:
“Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all.” ― Aristotle
With this background of the position of different stakeholders of this project, we need to eye on this project from a people-cum-environment development perspective than a market-centered perspective. We should not be producing students with the competencies expected of the Corporate the reason being they look only at their profits and not at the prosperity of the global community and the globe itself. The project should, at the end of the day, should have brought out replicable community development projects that have helped whoever involved in become aware of their innate potentials, values and learn or increase their competencies.
AiU is not a Training Center to produce employable candidates for multinational companies. AiU is not an NGO. AiU is not an organisation fighting for human rights. But AiU is a university with a difference. AiU is a higher education institution with elements of an NGO, a human rights organisation and a place for producing employable candidates for market with human values as its core.
The Components of the Project:
“Give a bowl of rice to a man and you will feed him for a day. Teach him how to grow his own rice and you will save his life.” ― Confucius
In this section, we would concentrate on the following components of the project.
The title should give the spirit of the project. It should give a direction to all concerned. Taking the philosophy and the rationale behind the project, I feel that “Competency System Project” sounds partial and lenient towards the expectation of Corporate Sector. I might give the following names for the reader’s consideration:
Value Education and Competency Development Project
Learning Values and Skills through Service project
Human Values and Life Competencies Project
Values and Competencies Project
Values and Life Competencies Project.
Community Class Room Project
Life Competencies Project
The both way journey of classroom and community based learning, resulting in the discovery of human values and increase in the competencies on whoever involve, and making them better human beings to live amicably with prosperity finding unity in diversity.
To make a change in the lives of the people by involving in community based development projects which are time bound.
To increase the quality of the class room course materials with life oriented concepts, universal values and required competencies.
To facilitate the students gain knowledge, skills and attitudes in the light of human values and life competencies in three years.
To make the methodology of education as 30% Community – oriented and 70% Class room – oriented.
Points to Consider:
AiU students (majority) do not know the language of the local community. It would be the main constraint for effective communication. In this case Malay students have to be in all groups.
The students should be given ample time to go to the community and execute the project. This timing should be incorporated within the official timetable of the university.
Areas of activities in the light of eight UN Millennium Development Goals. (MDG)
MDG 1: Eradicate Extreme Poverty and Hunger
Awareness on Family Economics and Consumerism.(Avoiding Waste Expenditure)
General Consumer awareness program.
Vocational Skills for rural women.
Vocational Skills for rural youth.
Awareness on Local and Appropriate Technology.
Vocational skills program for Differently abled persons
Old Age Care.
MDG 2: Achieve Universal Primary Education
Supplementary Education for School going Children.
MDG 3: Promote Gender Equality and Empower Women
Micro-credit for Women Groups.
Awareness on Dangers of using Cosmetics.
MDG 4: Reduce Child Mortality:
Nutrition and Healthy food Practices
MDG 5: Improve Maternal Health:
Pre-natal and Post natal care for pregnant mothers.
Personal Hygiene and Environmental Hygiene.
TB Awareness Program.
Cancer Awareness Program.
Awareness on Indigenous Medicine
Drugs Awareness Program.
AIDS Awareness Program.
Bio-Farming & Bio-Diversity.
Sustainable Development and Sustainable Livelihood Program.
Integrated Pest Management.
Awareness on Usage of Plastic Bags.
Awareness on Climate Change.
Mini household Vegetable Garden.
Solid Waste Management & Recycling Program.
Disaster Risk Reduction.
Bio-diesel Awareness Program.
Awareness on Renewable Energy or Non-Conventional Energy.
Cattle rearing and Livestock Development.
Food security and sustainable Agriculture.
Water and Sanitation Awareness Program.
Slum Development Program.
MDG 6: COMBAT HIV/AIDS, MALARIA AND OTHER DISEASES
MDG 7: ENSURE ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY
MDG 8: Develop a global Partnership for Development:
Preservation of Cultural Heritage.
Preservation of Traditional Art Forms.
Fair Trade Awareness Program.
Communal Harmony Program.
Participatory Local Governance Program.
Free Legal Aid Program.
International Co-operation and Peace Program.
Awareness on Green Economy
Information and Communication Technology for Poor Students Program.
Information and Communication Technology for Poor Women Program.
Information and Communication Technology for Rural Youth Program.
Information and Communication Technology for Differently-abled and Orphans.
5. Roles and Responsibilities:
Points to Consider:
All lecturers cannot accompany the students to the field all the time. It is not practical.
There should be special project co-ordinators (volunteers who are able to find time from the present staff or new staff) who would accompany them to the filed.
The strength of the academic lecturers and the non-teaching staff could be used in helping the students in the ‘Reflecting – expressing – documenting processes’ than the ‘Action and Evaluation Process’.
The assessment should be made by the project mentors and not by the lecturers.
It would provide the vision of the project and closely monitor if the program moves in the right direction within stipulated time, and with the stipulated funding giving the desired results.
This is the ‘think-tank’ of the program. It would practically give the necessary direction and motivation to all who participate in the program.
Time to time it would meet and discuss the process of the project. It would closely monitor and evaluate to report to the Top Management.
This team would organise special sessions with the department staff (like English, Mathematics, ICT, Business, Humanities and Social Sciences, Agriculture) to fine tune the course materials with the community experience gained in time.
The Chief Mentor would chair the team.
They are in-charge of capacity building training.
They would take care of any information technology involved in the program.
They would assist the core team to construct practical and result-bearing rubrics for assessment of the development of students.
Chief Mentor: (one)
S/He co-ordinates the program in day-to-day basis.
S/He is the contact person for the top management, Consultants and the core team
S/He facilitates the organisation of different projects within the program.
S/He assists the project co-ordinators in running the projects.
Two office secretaries should assist the Chief Mentor.
Project Mentors: (Ten)
Each Project Co-ordinators would be in-charge of three projects.
They would accompany the students to the field.
They are in-charge of running the projects and make them successful.
They are in-charge of reporting to the Chief Mentor.
They will be in-charge of assessment.
Lecturers and Admin Staff: (Around 120 = 4 staff x 30 projects)
Four Staff (2 Non-Teaching and 2 Teaching Staff) would be in-charge of one project. One Champion of the team will officially represent the team.
The students of this one project (ten students) would meet this staff once a week. (It should be within the time table) and get guidance in reflecting, making experience into learning, identifying values and skills, doing self-assessment and preparing the individual portfolio.
They will not do any marking or assessment.
All the staff would undergo orientation training.
Students: (300 = 10 students x 30 projects)
Ten students (where at least one or two Malay students are present) would form a project team.
They will involve in doing the project in the field, undergo the learning process with the help of AiU staff, prepare a portfolio and get assessed.
Community: (30 or less Communities)
30 projects will be executed in appropriate communities.
6. Expected Results.
AiU would have developed a model of new kind of learning which could be called “Dialectic Method of Learning from Class room and Communities” which could be replicable outside AiU and Malaysia.
300 Students who participate in the program would have gained in discovering the human values in their inner-self and have learnt life competencies to be successful in this globalized world.
A practical and a near-truth rubric to assess the quality development of a human being in the process of Community and Class room based learning through service projects.
7. Assessment System
a. The assessment system should be simple. It can be as simple as very low, low, fair, good, very good.
b. It should not involve more numbers and marking.
c. But it should be scientific and valid.
d. Since it needs more analysis, it is not discussed in this article.
8. Monitoring System
The top management could have a monthly monitoring meeting with the core team, consultants and the Chief Mentor. The Chief Mentor should submit a consolidated report to this forum.
The core team should meet at-least once in a week.
The Chief Mentor will have daily meeting with the project mentors.
The project mentors would meet the staff every week.
Registers of each project should be maintained.
9. Reporting System:
The Champion of the staff team would prepare a fortnightly report and give to project mentors
The project mentors will prepare weekly reports and submit to Chief Mentor.
The consultants will prepare weekly reports and submit to the Chief Mentor.
The Chief Mentor would prepare a monthly progress report and submit to the top management.
Annual Reports would be prepared by the Chief Mentor office.
10. Evaluating System:
A Mid-term evaluation should be organised by an external organisation. It could be after a year or one and half a year. Previously a self-evaluation could be organised by AiU itself.
A final evaluation should be organised by an external organisation at the end of three years.
11. Documenting System:
Registers of 30 projects have to be maintained and documented.
The training reports have to be documented.
The photos and videos of 30 projects have to be documented.
The meeting reports at all levels have to be documented.
The assessment reports of students have to be documented.
“Teaching should be such that what is offered is perceived as a valuable gift
and not as hard duty. Never regard study as duty but as the enviable opportunity
to learn to know the liberating influence of beauty in the realm of the spirit for your own
personal joy and to the profit of the community to which your later work belongs.” ― Albert Einstein
Each one of us should be proud and happy that God has chosen us to execute this very important project for our own personal joy and to the profit of the community. Time can be our friend if we together commit ourselves.
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