WBL implementation in Montenegro
Types of Work-based learning
Work-based learning in Montenegro is aimed at facilitating the transition of young people educated in VET schools to the labour market, as well as reducing the risk of unemployment of VET graduates.
There are two types of work-based learning in Montenegro:
- WBL partially delivered by school and partially by employer
- WBL fully delivered by employer – dual education.
The number of hours of practical training spent at a company depends on the curriculum. Practical training in Montenegro may also be school-based, delivered in school cabinets, laboratories, workshops, etc.
Work-based learning carried out partially by school and by employer is regulated by a contract on practical training signed between the school principal and the employer. The responsibilities of the employer are defined by schools.
Work-based learning carried out fully by the employer i.e. company is the so-called dual education. Student, or their parent/tutor, shall sign an individual contract on work-based learning with an employer, which regulates mutual rights and responsibilities of students and employers during dual education term, as well as the role of the school. The responsibilities of employers for this type of WBL are defined by the Centre for Vocational Education and Training. Employers are not obliged to pay health and pension insurance for students.
The main difference between the school-based practical training and dual education is that in dual education, the employer is in charge of educating students and the examination of the achievements of students in order to progress towards the next grade is conducted at the end of the school year. The check is conducted by the employer and the school. In school-based form, regardless of the time spent at employer, the check is conducted only by the school. The employer ensures their space and equipment.
In dual education, the employer is responsible for the organization, content and quality of practical training.
Programmes and Standards
The dual system was piloted in the academic year 2017/2018 with 270 students involved in 19 municipalities (out of 21) in Montenegro. Another 300 students enrolled into the dual system in the academic year 2018/2019 and there are around 250 employers/companies which are involved in dual system due to their interest for cooperation and fulfilment of material and professional conditions. The number of VET schools involved in dual system is 26 out of 38, and the number of curricula implemented in dual system is 19.
Curricula to be implemented via WBL in the academic year 2017/2018 are the following: automotive electrician, automotive tinsmith, automotive technician, locksmith, electro-installer, installer of sanitary devices, heating and cooling, cook, waiter, confectioner, fashion designer, installer of telecommunication systems, processor of precious metals, baker, shop assistant, producer of nutrition products, farmer, carpenter and welder. The curricula from civil engineering are feasible via WBL, but taking into account the safety of students, it is more suitable that the employers ensure scholarships for students which may ensure better employment chances for them following the completion of their education.
Syllabi of certain curricula define the number of hours of work-based learning. The students of the first grade usually spend one day per week at employer, the students of the second grade usually spend two days, and the students of the third grade three days. One lesson of work-based learning lasts 60 minutes.
Reformed modularized curricula adopted by the National Education Council in 2017/2018 are available on the website of the Centre for Vocational Education and Training: http://www.cso.gov.me/vijesti/190179/MODULARIZOVANI-OBRAZOVNI-PROGRAMI-KOJI-SE-IMPLEMENTIRAJU-OD-sKOLSKE-2017-2018-I-2018-2019-GODINE.html
Individual contract on work-based learning contains:
- Name and surname of students, date of birth, place of residence, name of a parent/tutor
- Previous education of student
- Name, seat and business activity of employer
- Name of occupation
- Beginning and duration of practical training
- The scope of practical training and knowledge that employer is obliged to provide to the student
- Schedule of practical training during the school year
- Personal data and data on adequate professional degree of a mentor
- Rights and obligations of a student
- Obligations of employers
- Monthly fee of a student during practical training, in compliance with law
- Obligation of employer not to impose work to the student not related to their education
- Obligations of a student and employer in case of a termination of individual contract on work-based learning
- Other important issues for the implementation of practical training.
At the beginning of the academic year, following the signing of individual contracts, schools should:
- Organize meetings with parents so as to inform them about the obligations of employers, rights and responsibilities of students, salaries, obligations of schools, contents of individual contracts, etc.;
- Organize meetings with employers i.e. in-company mentors so as to inform them about the subject programmes and to ensure support to employers to create an implementation plan of practical training;
- Develop a plan of visiting students at the company;
- Prepare adequate documentation based on which the employer and school will monitor attendance of students and keep record on the achievements of students.
Schools are obliged to maintain records on concluded individual contracts on work-based learning.
Students and employers agree on a time schedule of the implementation of work-based learning.
The achievements of students in WBL are checked by a commission for examination of achievements in work-based learning appointed by the board of teachers upon the proposal of school principal. The chairman of the commission is usually the teacher of practical training of the respective occupational field, and the members are: in-company mentor and a teacher who teaches the same or similar subject. The duration of the examination cannot be longer than two lessons.
Guidance and Checklists
When the schools finishes negotiations with the companies and submits data to the Ministry about companies which are interested to start with WBL, including the number of students they are ready to train, the Centre for Vocational Education and Training will determine whether the respective companies fulfil the material and human resource conditions to get involved in dual education.
Schools have to provide attendance sheets and other accompanying documentation so as to facilitate the monitoring of work with students and cooperation with schools. Students have to be provided with the diary of work-based learning and the model of such diary will be ensured by the Ministry of Education. The Ministry also supplies schools with a model of individual contract on work-based learning.
At the beginning of this academic year, the Ministry of Education sent the so-called Guidelines for the implementation of dual system to all VET schools with clarifications of obligations of each actor in the system as well as emphasizing the differences between WBL conducted partially by employer and WBL conducted fully by employer i.e. dual system.
Another document which supports the implementation of WBL is the Checklist created by the Centre for Vocational Education and Training specifying the indicator of fulfilment of conditions at employers – material and human resource conditions.
Capacity building activities
A major step forward in the improvement of the employment opportunities for young people aged 15-29 was and still is doing by implementing the “Work Based Learning” program. The program was compatible with the forms of practical training that exist in secondary vocational education.
A program for training mentors from companies for working with students was developed within this program. To ensure the quality of training of mentors from the company, a standard and training program was developed and adopted. The training program is structured in eight modules. Also, the training process includes chambers that keep a register of companies that meet the conditions for receiving students for practical training. Significant activities in organizing trainings for mentors from the company in the last 5 years gave the Chamber of Commerce and Crafts. The training is carried out by experienced VETC counselors. Because the trainings are realized in close cooperation between the chambers and the VETC, the certification of the candidates for successful completion of trainings is done by the Chamber that is organizer and VETC. In the period 2013-2017, certified mentors from companies are close to 340, covered 230 companies, and practical training of students from in VET is realized 973 companies.
With support of Skills Development and Innovation Support Project, SKILS (World Bank), 28 trainers / master trainers were trained (11 advisers from the Vocational Education and Training Center and 17 teachers from secondary vocational schools), who will trained about 2,000 participants (directors, teachers and professional associates from secondary vocational schools) to implement the process of modernization of technical education, as well as the implementation of modularly designed curricula based on learning outcomes and evaluation criteria, including the mandatory area in the third and fourth year – work based learning.
It’s in the starting phase the Project School Meets Business (SmB) with support of KulturKontakt Austria. Duration of the Project: 2018-2020. The regional project “School meets business”, shortened “SmB”, aims to strengthen the capacities and competences of the vocational schools in Albania, Kosovo and Macedonia for professional cooperation with the economic community, with a particular focus on the organization and implementation of Work-based Learning. The main focus will be the integration of economic coordinators in schools as the “interface” between the school and the economy.The 36-month project focuses on the development of a task profile for Economic Coordinators (EC), as well as the development of a curriculum for economic coordinators and training of 4 multipliers by country, which, on the basis of the developed curriculum, will train a total of 120 Economic Coordinators. In addition, criteria for the quality of cooperation will be developed between schools and the economic community and a manual for their implementation will be prepared.