The main task was to ensure that students, who attend dual educational classes, have the opportunity to continue quality education in the current situation, which we accomplished through the involvement of a large number of schools and companies.
We talked with Gabrijela Grujić, dual education advisor to the Minister of Education, Science and Technological Development, about ways in which teaching is conducted during the pandemic in the context of dual education, what companies and in which way were involved in the organization of classes, how did the Dual Education Week look like and the cooperation with the Swiss government on the implementation of the dual education project in Serbia.
How did the Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development (MESTD) respond to the pandemic and conduct teaching in terms of dual education?
Once the state of emergency was declared in the Republic of Serbia due to the epidemiological situation, the Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development has begun implementing distance learning process. In reaction to the new situation, the Commission for the Development and Implementation of Dual Education made a decision on the formation of the Crisis Group for Dual Education at an extraordinary session.
“A significant number of companies that normally cooperate with schools in the realization of learning through work also responded to the invitation of schools”
The Group’s main task was to provide students who attend dual educational classes with the adequate opportunity to continue quality education in the current situation, which was accomplished by including a large number of schools and companies in the process of recording theoretical classes and topics for learning through work. With the beginning of the new school year, a new cycle of recording classes began.
Did the companies get involved in the whole process of holding classes?
A significant number of companies that normally cooperate with schools in the realization of learning through work also responded to the invitation of schools. The involvement of companies in recording video material for distance teaching is the result of successful, long-term cooperation between schools and companies in the implementation of vocational education. Classes for dual educational profiles were recorded in equipped classrooms-workshops and companies. The MESTD has appointed schools/coordinators and their principals to synchronize the recording of teaching units in those areas of work relating to dual education profiles.
Besides a coordinator for certain educational profiles and areas of work, a national coordinator, who is also a member of the Commission for Development and Implementation of Dual Education, has been appointed to monitor the entire recording process. In collaboration with companies, schools/coordinators have been recording classes for dual education on a weekly basis and submitting reports that are reviewed in detail by the Sector for Dual Education to ensure quality.
Even during the pandemic, you have managed to hold the already traditional Dual Education Week. What did it look like in the current conditions?
Under the auspices of the Dual Education Week, on October 29, 2020, we held an online conference called “Dual Education – Challenges and Opportunities During and After COVID-19”. This online conference was organized as part of the project implemented by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, called “Support in the Development and Establishment of the National Model of Dual Education” in cooperation with the Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development and the Swiss-Serbian Chamber of Commerce. We opened the event together with the Deputy Director of the Cooperation Office of the Swiss Embassy, Derek George, and the President of the Swiss-Serbian Chamber of Commerce, Majo Mićović. On the occasion, Dr Ursula Renold, professor at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, spoke about the impact of COVID-19 on dual education in Switzerland and especially praised the efforts and devised procedure for recording online classes for dual educational profiles in Serbia.
“We have not reached the end of the road, so to speak, as we have identified some things we need to work on, but we have gained an overview of the bigger picture. I would like to congratulate Serbia for being on the right track”
As a participant in the Dual Education Week, Dr Renold outlined the following: “Dual education is a demanding type of education, and you have already put it on its feet. Our studies show that you have been progressing every year. We have not reached the end of the road, so to speak, as we have identified some things we need to work on, but we have gained an overview of the bigger picture. I would like to congratulate Serbia for being on the right track.” Dr Renold also pointed out that she has very positive impressions and that she will continue to work and develop the dual education system in Serbia.
Over 100 participants – representatives of institutions, international development partners, experts in vocational education, bilateral chambers of commerce, schools, companies, and students – attended the event.
How important is the Swiss Government’s contribution to the development of dual education in Serbia?
The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SADC) has been implementing the project “Support in the Development and Establishment of the National Model of Dual Education” since 2018, and through it provides transparent support to the Commission for Development and Implementation of Dual Education of the Government of Serbia based on the Dual Education Law. The ultimate goal is to support the development and realization of the National Model of Dual Education, which contributes to students acquiring competencies that are relevant and needed by the business, all with the view of boosting their chances of finding work after completing dual education.
The SDAC’s support means a lot, and I would especially like to highlight the documents that were written under the auspices of the said project – three bylaws regulation dual education (rulebooks), a framework for monitoring and evaluation of the National Model of Dual Education, Communication Strategy and a Master Plan for the Implementation of the Law on Dual Education, as well as important research assessing the driving forces and barriers to implementing the Dual Education Law which is being implemented in cooperation with the Education Systems Chair of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich.