In June, eight staff members of An- Najah National University in Nablus (Palestine) visited ELS. The visit was led by Michiel Hupkes and the aim was to train the staff members in making An- Najah National University more labour market oriented.
In March this year, two members of An- Najah National University visited ELS to to discuss the possibilities and to discover the potential learnings on how to make their university more labour market oriented. ELS made a proposal in which a training programme would be planned where they would acquire the needed knowledge and experiences.
Five staff members of An- Najah National University and three members of neighbouring industries participated in the training at ELS in June. The main aim of the training: how to make sure the university would be more labour market oriented.
The programme was developed by Michiel Hupkes, Perry den Brok, Renate Wesselink, Thomas Lans, Lisa Ploum and Judith Gulikers and it contained the following topics: course design principles, assessment practices, entrepreneurial cycle, teaching method and teaching skills and internship design. During the training the participants applied the knowledge and experience to their own situation and discussed the results and challenges. It was very effective to have the industries (the World of Work) within the training, as the staff members kept an eye on reality in possible moments of cooperation (internships, research) and specified the needs from the industry in terms of knowledge, skills and attitudes (competencies). It was difficult to make choices and the staff members had to ask themselves the following questions:
- Do we want (and are we able) to change parts of the structure and systems of the University (rigid schedules, predefined learning outcomes)?
- What do we want (and what is possible) to change within the existing structure and systems?
- What can I directly change in my own teaching (skills, methods, assessment)?
The three questions led to number of tangible actions at all three levels. The group ended with an optimistic, positive and energetic attitude, and were fully aware of the idea that if you really want to change the educational system of a University (from knowledge oriented to competence oriented) you need time because:
- The management will have to manage differently
- The teachers will have to teach differently
- The students will have to study differently
- The Industry will have to contribute to the education differently.