The UTech CommUniversity Initiative for Developing Vocational Literacy Skills and Core Values through Flexible Learning: Challenges & Success Factors

Bartley-Bryan, Jeanette
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This paper highlights the experiences of the University of Technology, Jamaica (UTech), in implementing a community-based training initiative to facilitate the development of vocational literacy skills for entrepreneurship, and core values such as mutual respect and understanding through flexible learning approaches. This initiative utilizes a participatory learning approach to engage, empower and transform participants from neighbouring communities into accepting responsibility for their socio-economic livelihood and well-being. // These communities are characterised by low socioeconomic status in terms of high unemployment, inadequate levels of education and occupational skills training, high rates of crime and violence. UTech as the “Peoples University” has initiated a CommUniversity intervention by creating local community-university networks to foster collaborative learning, exchange of ideas and knowledge through partnerships with public and private agencies, and individuals. // The target groups are primarily adults (18-34 years) and “youths at risk” (15-18 years) who are not attending school. These groups comprise at least 54% of the population in the target communities. There will be diagnostic testing of competency levels for both occupational and literacy skills before the training intervention. // This UTech CommUniversity project builds on the pillars of Learning and Earning; Community Service Advocacy; and Civil Paths to Peace (non-military). The related training interventions focus on integrating basic literacy skills (including numeracy) within a vocational skills curriculum based on the COL model used in several Pacific countries. The core values component integrates basic literacy skills within the formal-informal curriculum focusing on respect for and understanding of self, community and country. // The proposed flexible/blended learning approaches include the use of training videos, mobile phones and community radio to promote dialogues on issues including family life and relationships, parenting, conflict resolution, which greatly affect self-worth and self-respect for sustainable development. The paper will therefore share insights on the evolution and impact of the UTech CommUniversity project. // Paper ID: 469

Skills Development,Technical and Vocational Skills Development (TVSD),Flexible Learning
Caribbean and Americas