Monday, May 05, 2008

Teaching our young people about running business

It was one of those typically-beautiful, sunny, Friday afternoons on the banks of the murky-brown and meandering Laloki River last Friday.
Here, 17 teachers – from Kilakila, Mount Diamond, Marianville, Gerehu, De La Salle, Iarowari, Badihagwa, Gordon, Jubilee and Laloki high schools – graduated as qualified ‘Know About Business (KAB)’ instructors after a week-long workshop at Bluff Inn outside Port Moresby.
KBA is an internationally-recognised programme of the International Labour Organisation and is being implemented in many countries of the world.
The teachers, from the National Capital District and Central province, are better placed to teach business after their graduation the KAB workshop conducted by the Small Business Development Corporation.
Kokopo Secondary School in East New Britain province is a case in point as a school which is undergoing a quite revolution as its students become real-life entrepreneurs.
To see the determination of these youngsters to be young stars, especially at a time when so many of their peers all over the country are sinking into a quagmire of poverty and unemployment, gives you so much optimism for the future.
Kokopo Secondary School is indeed a parable for the youth of Papua New Guinea.
These young men and women – Grade 9, 10, 11 and 12 students - are into various businesses such as vegetable growing, tailoring, trade stores, poultry, cooking food, laplaps, meri blouses, coconut oil, baking, and many more.
They are trained by their teachers in all facets of small business such as producing, buying, marketing, selling, bookkeeping and banking.
They are independent and no longer rely on their parents for school fees and pocket money.
SBDC has partnered the Education Department since 2006 by training teachers in the Technical and Vocational Education Training (TVET) Division teaching in vocational institutions in the country and is now working in partnership with the Curriculum Development and Assessment (CDA) Division to have the KAB programme piloted in secondary schools.
“We believe that this is a key strategic alliance with the Department of Education for the success of KAB, given the Department of Education’s overall mandate and the existing educational system/institutions throughout PNG,” SBDC caretaker managing director Diri Kobla said at last Friday’s graduation.
“The current trend of young people leaving the education system into the labour market continues to increase every year over the past years and will continue to increase.
“The future of these young people is much left to be desired as they do not have options, appropriate entrepreneurial skills and knowledge to identify opportunities in their communities.

“The KAB programme tries to contribute towards the creation of an enterprise culture in their society, by promoting awareness among people of the opportunities and challenges of entrepreneurship and self-employment and the role of young people in shaping their future and that of country’s economy and social development by engaging in meaningful opportunities.”
The KAB programme was introduced into the country by SBDC in 2005 and programme implementation was in 2006.
Towards the end of 2007, SBDC’s collaboration with the Curriculum Development and Assessment Division to have the KAB programme introduced into the secondary curricular has been warmly accepted by the department.
Developing a business culture is the way to go forward in Papua New Guinea and it has to start at the formal education level.
The current education system in this country does not train students at an early age to be entrepreneurial.
As a result, the prospects of securing employment through formal education is becoming increasingly challenging.
Therefore, the development of entrepreneurial skills whilst they are still in a school environment is for their own benefit, if and when they do not make it further in our formal education process.
However, all this may change soon, if KAB takes off in the country.
KAB means to understand the role of business in society, its contribution to the wealth of nations and its social responsibility; entrepreneurial attitudes and behaviour and to be informed how an enterprise is functioning.
KAB is a training programme for trainers and teachers in vocational education, secondary education and also higher education designed for a 120-hours course for young students between 15 and 18 years.
KAB’s general objective is to contribute towards the creation of an enterprise culture in a country or society, by promoting awareness among young people of the opportunities and challenges of entrepreneurship and self-employment, and of their role in shaping their future and that of their country’s economic and social development.
The SBDC is a government statutory authority under the Ministry of Trade and Industry charged with the responsibility of promotion and development of the Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) Sector.
One of SBDC’s core activities is the delivery of a range of entrepreneurial skills development training.
The more notable one is the Start Improve Your Business (SIYB) training programme, which is an ILO-developed programme that it has implemented since 1996 under AusAID sponsorship.
SBDC has developed partnerships with a few educational institutions under the Department of Education in the past to train teachers and students in entrepreneurial education.
KAB is a new educational program that has been made possible through studies conducted by ILO since the end of the 1980s and beginning of the 1990s.

In its efforts to develop SMEs and vocational education training, ILO worked with a number of projects involving government and private sector institutions to develop entrepreneurs.
Entrepreneurship education was seen as an important element to developing entrepreneurial attitudes for the future.
No specific training programmes, however, were available.
To close this gap, ILO in Geneva, Switzerland, and International Training Centre in Turin, Italy, provided funds in 1996 to develop a training package for Technical Vocational Education Training institutions that included entrepreneurial education and business skills.
A workshop was organised in Turin with the help of specific resource people from ILO, ITC and University of Illinois, USA, to develop the KAB training materials for trainers and instructors of TVET institutions.
The material was field tested in Kenya and then finalised and printed.
A number of countries including Papua New Guinea have adopted KAB in their National Education Program since 2000.
The experience with KAB and the increasing demand for introduction and adaptation of KAB in other countries led to a decision to review and update KAB so that it corresponded better to the needs of education programmes in a fast-changing world.
The focus of KAB has since been extended from vocational training to general secondary education.

1 comment:

  1. The KAB program is very timely, given the very high level of dropout being produced by our education system. What we need to inspire more and more of our young people is to become self-employed, not look for paid jobs given the fact the such jobs are scarce. I been promoting self-employment because I am convinced that the answer to the unemployment problem we have in the country is self-employment, not employment. We need more people who can create jobs, not look for them. It is with this conviction that I have written a book titled "Be Your Own Boss", which is being printed now and should be out in a couple of weeks. This book, which discusses many reasons why people need to become their own bosses, will definitely become useful in the KAB program. Please let me know how we can promote the book to schools. As usual, I will forward a complimentary copy to you.


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