The first Guided Self-Assessment (GSA) workshop in Africa under the UNESCO-UNEVOC i-hubs project was successfully completed by the Rift Valley Technical Training Institute (RVTTI) in Eldoret Kenya 24-28 June 2019.
The purpose of the workshop was to measure the Institute’s capacity for innovation, identify innovative practices, and explore opportunities for future innovation. It was also the first opportunity to test, in the African context, the innovation framework that UNESCO-UNEVOC together with the group of ten selected TVET institutions from Africa, Europe and Asia have been co-developing since November 2018.
The GSA got off to a great start when the i-hub initiative was the subject of the key-note opening speech in the 8th RVTTI International TVET and Interdisciplinary Conference 20-22 June 2019 attended by over 200 participants. Chairing the conference, the Chief Principal of RVTTI, Mr. Edwin Tarno, stated that ‘innovation is fundamental for TVET institutions to anticipate the changing needs of the economy, society and environment’. He expressed his commitment to ‘ensuring that RVTTI as a UNEVOC network member plays an active role in scaling up the i-hub approach in Kenya, East Africa and across the TVET community.’
The actual GSA took place 24-28 June, and it was participated by some 30 stakeholders. These include RVTTI internal stakeholders such as senior management, learners, teaching staff, administrative/finance staff, and the external stakeholders like representatives of the private sector. The RVTTI i-hub team, led by Mr. Abdi Tiony, UNEVOC Centre Coordinator, co-facilitated the GSA.
The exercise made use of several tools that have been co-developed together with the other pilot i-hubs. Among the tools is a balanced scorecard to assess innovation performance in key dimensions of leadership and organization practices, teaching and learning processes, products and services and, finally, relations with the skills and innovation ecosystem. It also included a mapping tool to identify key stakeholders and measure their commitment to skills development and their potential to leverage innovation.
The results of the GSA confirmed that RVTTI has a strong institution-wide approach to innovation. The tools helped identify a number of innovative practices that could be shared among the global TVET community to inspire innovation, one of which is the development of the Innovation Awards to promote entrepreneurship among learners and champion the importance of TVET for business, society and the environment.
Since their launch in 2014, RVTTI had steadily developed an institution-wide approach to the Awards supported by the RVTTI strategy, dedicated teaching and learning processes, involvement of employers and the generation of new services such as start-up enterprises. The 2019 Awards were presented to young learners at the International Conference, with the top innovation prizes being given to young entrepreneurs producing termite biscuits, an app to facilitate medical diagnosis, and the development of a light tractor.
The GSA process also helped identify some opportunities for further development. In the case of RVTTI, this focused on enhancing teaching and learning outcomes in the institute in particular through mainstreaming more interactive methodologies in regular courses.
The process included the support from the Seychelles Institute of Technology (SIT), represented by its Director Hubert Barbé, who served as a peer reviewer and presented the SIT experience and lessons learned with innovation. He also confirmed the overall value of the GSA process and shared helpful concrete ideas on how to prepare participants to take part in the process.