Strengthening capacity of TVET teaching & management staff in Jordan
One year ago, Nuffic awarded Maastricht School of Management (MSM) and the University of Jordan the project entitled “Strengthening capacity of TVET teaching & management staff to enhance development & provision of curricula and programs by HEs and TVETs in the Jordanian horticulture sector“.
In January, MSM’s representatives of the project Dr. Diederik de Boer (project director) and Hand Nijhoff (project coordinator) traveled to Jordan to discuss the project plans with the Jordan project partners, the University of Jordan and Al Balqa Applied University. During this first visit, all parties had the opportunity to share their experience and knowledge. Also, the logical framework was revised to set the project up for a good start.
Labor market needs assessment
An important first step of the project was assessing the needs of the market. The purpose of this so called “labor market needs assessment” was to collect insights and develop input to train and assist staff and management of TVET colleges in revising and providing a market-driven curriculum. This can be done by amongst others, strengthening collaboration with industry stakeholders from the ‘water for agriculture’ and the horticulture and field crops’ sectors. Building a strong relationship and linking TVET’s and industry stakeholders is key in developing a curriculum that educates and prepares TVET students for their future jobs at these organizations and businesses.
The assessment was also the first step to establish Triple Helix Platforms, which promote a stronger interface between education, private industry, and the public sector. This implies collaboration of the colleges with water utilizing/managing companies and organizations active in optimizing water usage in agriculture, and with companies and organizations that are directly active in the agri/horticulture industry – both in adding value and producing.
Workshops and company visits
To build strong relationships between TVET’s and industry stakeholders, various workshops and company visits were organized in February and March. Industry partners were invited through respective TVET College representatives. The workshops were conducted at each TVET college, during which a summary of the project and foreseen activities were presented and demands of the industry on skills of college graduates were discussed. Various horticulture farms were visited in the Jordan valley, as well as fruit trees farms in the eastern plane.
The impact of Covid-19
The complete lockdown at the beginning of the pandemic negatively impacted many farmers as many crops had failed because of negligence and abundance of farmers because of curfew. This also impacted on the project implementation. Field work was not possible as week-long lockdowns followed one another until the end of the year. In between lockdowns brief field visits were conducted after which meetings, workshops and even full training sessions were organized via Zoom or Teams. The delay that was caused by Covid-19 will mean that the first two quarters of 2021 will be a busy period for the project team, and preparations for a smooth roll-out of various activities are under way.
Curriculum revision and development
A key factor in developing Horticulture is through training and capacity building and skills of Higher Education and TVET management and teaching staff. This approach will formulate and implement new occupational standards in the field of horticulture sector development. Therefore, several activities have been executed this year to start the curriculum development process. Due to language barriers, the curriculum first had to be translated from Arabic to English. The curriculum development is being executed by the Dutch project partners, CINOP and the University of Amsterdam. Based on several meetings, plans have been made to develop the curriculum modules that covers horticulture, pathology and supportive. The Dutch partners developed learning outcomes for the Jordan TVET colleges.
The triple helix platform is a multi-stakeholder initiative, uniting government, academia and the private sector, to boost the climate smart horticulture sector in Jordan. This is more than an innovation platform or a TVET apprenticeship program, it is a forum to improve the performance of the sector. A key point is improving the business case for the private sector, so that the sector can grow and thereby many job opportunities, a higher income and a better downstream value chain can be realized.
Through this platform the private sector will be supported by strengthening three critical factors of production: 1) knowledge, 2) capital and 3) labor. In addition, the platform will offer opportunities to advocate for improvements in the enabling environment and access to markets.
Knowledge will be stimulated through the link with the TVET and Academic community for sharing proven technologies, innovation, and knowledge transfer. It also includes entrepreneurship training and assistance to graduates to start their own businesses.
Access to affordable and appropriate capital will also be promoted by drawing in potential investors and financiers through sharing of platform activities and success stories and eventually an invitation to become full or associated members of the platform.
The link with government and TVET education will offer the businesses an opportunity to address labor market issues and improve the qualifications and productivity of the workforce.
Strategically, the platform may over time be transformed from a forum for information sharing, to collaborating on joint projects, to strategic partnerships and ultimately an institutionalized, permanent initiative. However, within the available timeframe, there will be very little room for any institutional set-up.
Project plans for 2021
In 2021 the curriculum development will be taken one step further by developing modules and class materials. Furthermore, the curriculum of bachelor degree programs in horticulture will be revised and triple helix activities will continue to work towards
About the project in Jordan
MSM together with its consortium partners CINOP, University of Amsterdam, Q-Point, Profyta and Acacia Water capacitate the University of Jordan, Al-Balqa Applied University, Shoubk University College and Al-Huson University College to contribute to End hunger, double smallholder productivity and income, and ensure the sustainability and resilience of food production systems by 2030 (SDG 2).
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.
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