Niagara College takes important role in EU-funded project for technical education reform in Malawi


Niagara College

Niagara College will be a part of a European Union-funded effort to reform the technical education system in Malawi.

On March 21, the College was awarded a contract from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as part of the larger Skills and Technical Education Programme (STEP). STEP is a four-year program that aims to empower the Technical, Entrepreneurial, Vocational Education and Training (TEVET) sector and its capacity to satisfy the economy’s need for professionals through the improvement of equitable and gender balanced TEVET institutions. Malawi has 55 TEVET institutions.

NC’s role will be to formulate and pilot a decentralized approach to the governance and management of seven TEVET institutions in Malawi.

“Niagara College was selected to work with the EU-funded Skills and Technical Education Programme in Malawi because of its considerable international experience in supporting decentralization efforts in Technical Vocational and Education Training (TVET) as well as the positive endorsements it received from Colleges and Institutes Canada (CICan) and International Centre for Technical and Vocational Education and Training (UNEVOC), Bonn,” said Arthur Earl Shears, UNESCO team leader, STEP.

“We are proud to be working with UNESCO on this project where we will have the rare opportunity to help shape the educational model of an entire country,” said Justin Williams, PhD, director of global education and partnerships at Niagara College. “Global opportunities such as this one provide our faculty, staff and administrators with opportunities to contribute to the global good while enhancing their international experience which, in turn, benefits our students as they become world-ready and culturally engaged.”

A team from NC will depart on the first of an expected nine missions to Malawi on March 31 to launch the project. Over the next 11 months, more than 12 representatives from NC are expected to become involved with the project, including those with expertise in governance, leadership development and financial management.

By the end of March 2020, the College aims to establish a decentralized governance model with active boards at the seven pilot colleges, and create a roadmap for the future.

NC has been involved in global development projects over the past 25 years – most recently, in Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Jamaica and Vietnam. These projects have focused on expanding, improving access to, and improving the quality of technical and vocational education and training, as well as strengthening linkages to industry to promote local economic development.

In February 2019, the College took on its first project with UNESCO and UNEVOC to develop a discussion paper on emerging best practices for teacher education on the use of digital technology in TVET pedagogy.