Part Time, Continuing Education (CE), Night School, whatever you want to call it, this form of learning is not only the hope for upgrading the workforce, but in cost recovery, CE is an education and training institutions most important market tool.
Naturally, its effectiveness as a revenue tool depends on how well you understand the market in your catchment area for learning and training. Think as widely as you can!
Talk to people in the Malls and in Industry. Find the HR Directors of local industry. Talk to your full time students about the interests in their families. There is a real bonus for imagination and brainstorming!
The development of a CE initiative can address a variety of objectives and bring about many benefits to a whiole range of stakeholders. Here are some:
1. Society in General
- A reduction in terminal (dead-end) education
- A re-engagement of adults with learning after being out of school
- A service of government to the adult and working community
- A mechanism for economic/social mobility
- A more efficient use of facilities and equipment
- A response to re-skilling the workforce
- Personal growth through learning
- Career change
- Learning new skills for income improvement
- A social event – meeting new people
- A second chance for educational success and credentials
- A feeling of hope and personal pride
- Expansion of the community service role of the Institution
- Cost recovery and revenue generation
- Enhancement of links with industry through employee training
- Enhancement of teacher income
- Employment of outside/industry based experts as part time teachers, possible staff upgrading, improvement of regular programs, and development of new links with industry
- An opportunity to explore with low risk possible new programs or options to existing programs
- Development of new links with the community
- Involvement of parents as learners
- An opportunity to upgrade staff and improve productivity
- A direct way of addressing the mismatch between skills available and skills required by the company
- A means to introduce new technical skills and new technologies
- A reward/incentive mechanism for effective employees
- A possible recruiting base for new employees
- A means of developing training skills inside the company
- An opportunity to establish curriculum outcomes
- A mechanism for “talent spotting” and promotion
- An opportunity to share training costs with government and employees
- Reimbursement of fees to employees on skills mastery assures effectiveness
- Low cost (self-financed) expansion of the very expensive skills development system
- Engagement of industry in a public service with the possibility over time of public private partnerships.
- Cost-benefit shifting of expense away from government
- Ongoing upgrading of curriculum for credit programs
- Improved productivity in business and industry funded in local currency and expanding the tax base.
- A response to external and internal pressure to modernize the economy and stop the erosion of workforce income.
- Shifts system growth to cost benefit
Beyond this, the key reason why you need to develop CE is to support the modernization of your economy which largely depends on the skills of your workforce.
Unless the existing workforce is re-skilled, business and industry cannot introduce the systems and technology that will lead to capacity, productivity and quality growth.
Besides, as technology in the workplace becomes more complex, you will have workers who will not be able to fill existing jobs or get better pay and this will eventually become a social problem you have to deal with.
Millions of unemployable with millions of open jobs which are out of reach is a recipe for revolution.
Therefore, the response of the TVET/Skills Development system at the Training institution/TVET institution level requires two clear sets of initiatives:
- A rapid and significant change expansion of programming in the supply and quality of new entrants to the workforce
- The development of a large, effective and responsive Continuing Education/Life Long Learning system to update and upgrade the existing workforce
Beyond this, let me re-emphasize that CE is the most effective and efficient mechanism for institutional cost recovery and revenue generation.
It builds on existing faculty competence, facilities and equipment. It brings in highly skilled engineers and others as teachers who could never accept the low wages of full time teachers.
It is cost controlled at the course level, as no course is started if registration is insufficient to cover variable costs. Incremental costs are born, in whole or in part, by non-government sources.
CE has many hidden contributions to TVET as well. Fees can be set, course by course, in response to real cost and market demand. Seat management, like an airline. Hence, in popular areas, fees can be increased to offset a loss in revenue in less successful areas.
Equally, when full time day fees increase, CE programming allows students from poorer families to earn as they learn by fitting education around employment.
Acceptance of higher tuition might be dependent on the development of CE Credit alternatives. The longer most young people are away from their parents, the greater is their understanding that the economic outcomes of training outweigh the status and ego benefits of vague Degrees.