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In January 2010 VVOB Ecuador started up preparations for a new programme. In the coming three years the focus will lay on supporting technical education, especially secondary technical education. At the request of the Ministry of Education, curriculum development is one of our key themes. A major change is taken place that addresses the entire secondary education in Ecuador. For technical education this has a major impact: all young people should be equipped with sufficient general skills, without neglecting the technical competencies. All curricula will be rewritten, including those of the technical education, and VVOB assists to this process.

Curriculum development is a complex process and especially in technical education, where many different partners are involved. First you need to determine the specific skills that are required for executing the profession. For instance, what should a plumber be able to do and know? The answer to this question leads to a profile of professional competencies, the basis for technical education. In Ecuador, the challenge lays in involving the labour market – companies and sectors – in the design of these professional profiles. This will increase the relevance of such programmes. VVOB can play an important supporting role by bringing the various stakeholders – in education and labour – together. Until now there is no real tradition of dialogue between them.

In addition to determining the competency profiles, you also need to develop the curriculum. What form will the training take, which courses or modules will be provided and what will they look like? Professional instructors need to be included when working this out. Together with the Ministry we organise many workshops for teachers that help shape the curriculum based on competencies. We do not limit ourselves to a number of provinces; teachers of secondary and technical schools throughout the whole country participate. VVOB also involves the intercultural, bilingual (Spanish and indigenous language) education. Until now it had no link with the formal technical education, although it has technical programmes as well. As a neutral partner we facilitate this rapprochement. Finally, these modules are then translated into teaching units the schools can get started with. This was the result of a collaboration between the Ministry, VVOB and teachers in intensive workshops. Therefore, the technical curricula will be ready by the 2011-2012 school year and they will fit into the objectives of the Minister of Education, who outlined a new law.

Evelien Masschelein
Coordinator Secondary School Curriculum Development, VVOB Ecuador