Dubai: Dubai Cares announced on Monday the launch of a new programme in Ecuador focused on technical and vocational education and training.
The Dh1.83 million ($500,000) programme titled, ‘skilling for sustainable tourism’ has been launched in partnership with VVOB, a Belgian Flemish organisation which focuses on education for development.
It is set to provide tourism-related courses to 4,073 students in upper secondary, which will give them the required skills to gain decent employment and contribute to the sustainability of Ecuador’s travel and tourism industry.
The three-year programme, which will be implemented in 21 schools in the country’s capital Quito and the province of Manabi, targets 53 officials from the Ministry of Tourism and the Ministry of Education, as well as 72 in-service teachers.
The programme aims to upgrade the teachers’ technical and pedagogical competencies through a combination of training, peer learning and remote coaching that focuses on what to teach and how to teach it.
“The opportunities for employment of young people in Ecuador are hampered by an education system that does not equip them with the skills required, as well as limited access to work experience,” said Annina Mattsson, programmes director at Dubai Cares.
The programme is also set to develop teaching materials, which highlight the importance of sustainable tourism, bring structure to the content of the selected teaching modules by providing highly organised lesson plans and instructions for competency-based teaching. It will support students with relevant and practical experience during their studies by providing them with project-based workplace learning opportunities.
“Since Ecuador’s travel and tourism industry has been growing rapidly and is expected to further increase its contribution to both GDP and employment, our programme aims to prepare Ecuadorean youth for these employment opportunities and to contribute to the development of this economic sector,” said Mattsson.
She pointed out that technical and vocational education and training is now a key component in our programmatic interventions focusing on youth due to the strategic role it plays in advancing sustainable development.
Meanwhile, Caroline Decombel, VVOB programme manager in Ecuador said that past experiences in the country have shown that the approach of linking technical schools with the private sector to provide relevant education opportunities is effective.
“We look forward to the graduation of a newly skilled tourism workforce. This will not only positively impact these young graduates and their future employers, it will also boost the tourism sector in Ecuador in an eco-friendly way,” she said.
Looking into the current situation in Ecuador, the country is doing well on several indicators of human development, but poverty is widespread. Youth between the age of 15 and 29 years old account for around one quarter of the population, an age group marked by high levels of underemployment and unemployment, as well as precarious working conditions. According to The National Institute of Statistics and Census (2015), 11.3 per cent of youth are unemployed and 53.2 per cent are “inadequately” employed, as the education system does not prepare them with the skills they need for success after school.