Training of Trainers on Quality Assurance systems for Vocational Education and alumni engagement in the Agri-Tourism value chain


In the last week of March, Maastricht School of Management Quality Assurance Expert, Liliana Bedoya Vargas provided a Training of Trainers on Quality Assurance Systems for Vocational Education in Rwanda as part of the SEAD West project.

Quality Assurance (QA) and Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) are two widely discussed concepts in specialized skill-focused education. Ineffective or absence of QA has been identified by policymakers as an inhibition to the realization of goals of TVET. According to the Inter-University Council for Easter Africa (IUCEA, 2010), the rapid expansion of the sector of education in the last decade raised concern over the quality of Higher Education in East Africa. Efforts to expand enrolment have not been matched with commensurate investment in education to maintain or enhance the quality delivery of education by universities in the current dynamic socio-economic environment. Consequently, the decline of standards of quality education in higher education institutions including TVET schools has also a greater bearing impact on the intended contribution of the education on social-economic development of the country. To address those challenges, particularly related to quality assurance and engagement of the alumni, Training of trainers on quality assurance and alumni engagement has been planned under the SEAD West project with the main goal to support Rwanda Polytechnic, IPRC Karongi, and  TVET Schools from Ngororero, Rutsiro and Karongi District by integrating surveys and well-monitored feedback from stakeholders (students, graduates and/or employers) within a revised and strengthened Quality Assurance (QA) system. 

Having a strong QA system is place is useful to not only improve the monitoring of the activities of the educative institutions but to define and improve quality while providing practical tools to successfully face the accreditation processes. And let that be exactly the focus of this training. In the first three days the participants coming from multiple IPRCs and TVET Bumba, TVET Kivumu, TVET Gisovu and the Rwanda Polytechnic and Rwanda TVET Board dived into quality insurance policies, assessment plans and the integration of the before mentioned in the institutes.

Together with MSM Expert Liliana Bedoya Vargas, the participants learned about the elements of a basic internal QA system and how those elements relate to internal and external QA such as for example accreditations. Furthermore, the participants assessed their own organizations QA systems and came up with recommendations on how to improve their own QA system. Also the assessing of the quality was covered, by among others learning about the relevance of satisfaction surveys among students and alumni to monitor their functioning.

Stakeholder engagement
On the 4th and the last day of the training the topic was aimed at stakeholder engagement with a particular focus on alumni and student engagement. With the help of the 5-step stakeholder engagement approach, the participants were taken step by step through the process of assessing what they have in place, where they want to go and how they would get there regarding student and alumni engagement. This session was provided by Veerle Barten, online communications expert, and mainly focused on the tools that can be put into place to strengthen their communications with these stakeholders. The institutes have certain processes in place, but it was found that with the rapid digitalization there are many online tools and platforms not being used to its maximum. The participants provided presentations of what they already have in place and were then presented easy to apply examples of how to strengthen their alumni and student engagement.

About SEAD West
maastricht School of Management in partnership with the Rwanda Development Board (RDB) implements the SEAD West project: Strengthening Education for Agricultural Development. Through the project, the education & training institutions (IPRC Karongi, TVET Gisovu, TVET Kivumu, and TVET Bumba) are capacitated to better address the needs of the stakeholders in the agriculture sector with a focus on the Agri-Tourism value Chain.

The SEAD West project has, broadly, three lines of intervention: 1) Curriculum Development/Revision, both formal and non-formal; 2) strengthen the Applied research & innovation capacities of the partner institutions and 3) strengthen the outreach services, more specifically the offer of tailor-made training, and establishment of Service, Training, and Innovation Center in Agri-Tourism focusing on the Horticulture value chain and hospitality.

Orange Knowledge Programme
This project is part of the Orange Knowledge Programme (OKP) which is funded by the Netherlands’ Ministry of Foreign Affairs and managed by Nuffic. For more information click here.

MSM's Expert Centre on Emerging Economies

This institutional collaboration project is part of MSM's Expert Centre on Emerging Economies. The department is an expert centre on local economic development in emerging and developing markets.‚Äč We capacitate managers and professionals from government, private sector, NGOs, and post-secondary education in Africa, Asia, Middle East, and Latin America. We offer consultancy and customized training programs, and we manage complex projects in key sectors, e.g. water, agriculture and health. For more information click here.

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