Meeting 24. and 25. June 2021 at “ JU Srednja elektrotehnička škola ,,Vaso Aligrudić’’ Podgorica” (“Secondary Vocational School of Electrical Engineering ‘’Vaso Aligrudic’’), Podgorica, Montenegro
At the meeting, the participants shortly introduced themselves:
- School principle, Ms. Milanka Stanisić, “Vaso Aligrudić”
- Local project coordinator and contact person, Ms. Marina Braletić, "Vaso Aligrudić",
- Head of career guidance center, Ms. Selma Šabotić, “Vaso Aligrudić’’
- Teachers from Vaso Aligrudić’ who will we involved in the project activities: Mr. Alexander Obradović, Ms. Ana Delić, Ms. Melanija Ćalasan, M. Alen Adilovic and members were not able to attend the meeting but will be involved in realization of project: Ms. Danka Markus LEAR of project, Ms. Elida Rastoder and Radomir Stanisic
- Accountant Ms. Azra Suljević,
- Project coordinator Ms. Bodil Mygind Madsen, SOSU Ostjylland, Denmark
Secondary Vocational School of Electrical Engineering ‘’Vaso Aligrudic’’ is providing educations for electricians/ electro engineers. It is licensed for adult education and uses educational programs (construction and maintenance of electronic safety systems, installation and maintenance of electro-communicational systems, repair and maintenance of electronic commercial devices etc.) implemented by new methodology that consists of modules, outcomes and key competences required for expert qualifications in order to meet the needs of the employers and the market.
- ‘’Vaso Aligrudic’’ has 123 employees including 96 teachers and about 1200 students.
- It has described its overall mission (please see attached school presentation).
- ‘’Vaso Aligrudic’’ has six programs for adult learning
- In the school buildings are also other educations, among these, construction.
- Its educations have been modulized and for the last three years, the school has worked with the dual system for the three years educations.
- ‘’Vaso Aligrudic’’ has 20 extracurricular activities. Among these work with mobile telephones is very popular, Generally, the school has a focus on web and mobile phone development. Also, they work with development of robots
- There are seven other schools of this kind in Montenegro
- ‘’Vaso Aligrudic’’ has entrepreneurship as a topic. It is mandatory for the school since it was decided by their Ministry that they must have it.
- The school earns some money from having exams (since the teachers hold them without salary) and spend it together with the funding it gets from the Ministry of Development.
The work and the challenges of the teachers
The teachers at ‘’Vaso Aligrudić’’ have been involved in making several textbooks and they have developed apps and video materials used by other schools.
So, the school was super ready for Corona! All teachers worked all day during Corona – not only their normal working hours.
In spite of the fact that the salaries of teachers are low, the staff at the school is very enthusiastic.
An element in the campaigns we will make in the framework of the VET4WB project should be to elevate the status of VET teachers.
The political situation in Montenegro is complicated and there is a focus on not allowing discussions on politics and religions to interfere with the teaching.
The school was involved in the development of the new national modular system and the learning outcomes. Now the curriculum is almost 4 years old and will be revised next year. The staff at the school hope that the Ministry will listen to their inputs regarding what works well and what does not.
Bureaucracy and the focus on marks are problems. Actually, the system was not ready for the changes that were made. There is a big amount of forms that the teachers must fill in daily with marks for each individual student. The teachers hate spending a lot of times on bureaucratic tasks and the higher levels in the educational system should focus more on the real needs of the schools and the students rather than on developing a lot of forms.
An example of one of the books the teachers must use for registering marks:
The students and their parents are very focused on marks and do not understand, why the teachers not just simply give good marks to their son or daughter! The focus on marks has as one of its consequences that other competences than the academic ones, in general are not sufficiently appreciated. It is also a problem that there are private educational providers, who for business reasons are more likely to give high marks and let all students pass exams. The competition to attract students leads to a lowering of the general level of the educations. It also puts a pressure on the teachers of this school.
So together with the elevating of the status of the teachers, also the focus on marks could be an element of the campaign.
The dual system
The ministry has decided that the schools must cooperate with companies but the schools themselves have to identify the relevant companies and make agreements with them. And often the companies do not understand why they should receive the students and how to work with them during their work practice. The schools are not supported in this work by the Ministry and in general there is a gap between school and Ministry.
All students in the 3-years educations must have a work practice in a company and the 3rd year the company must pay them.
‘’Vaso Aligrudic’’ does not have a sufficient amount of companies to cooperate with and currently, the school has a project related to finding more companies and to identify and involve mentors, especially within the ICT field. During their work practice, the students must develop a concrete product and in general the companies are happy with this. An interesting experience is that it is not always the students, who are the strongest in theory that are the most successful during their work practice. It then becomes clear that also soft skills are important.
The school mostly cooperates with small companies, however there are not so many small and medium size companies in Podgorica. It is difficult to send students to other towns for work practice due to expenses for transportation. The public sector does not accept students to have their work practice there. There are no chance of future employment and the students also know that. Regarding the public sector in general, the salaries are lower than in the private sector, however the working days are much shorter than in private companies, where you are expected really to work a lot.
Some of the companies, which the school cooperates with are previous students that are now having their own company (especially within ICT).
Cooperation with other projects
Marina informed that she has participated in a meeting with the national ERASMUS office for organisations involved in European projects. Among these were also representatives for two other Montenegrin schools who are involved in projects granted by “Second pilot VET mobility scheme for the Western Balkans”. Marina will send info to Bodil with the names of these schools.
Selection of secondary partner in the project.
The PowerPoint presentations of the other EU partner schools were shown by Bodil and the Montenegrin participants discussed which partner would be the best for them as their secondary partner. They selected the Slovenian partner Šolski Center. Several of the educations provided by Šolski Center are also provided by ‘’Vaso Aligrudić’’ so there is a good potential for cooperation.
‘’Vaso Aligrudić’’ is following the national guidelines and has a very experienced and competent career guide, who presented the programs and the activities she and three other career guides are using. The guidance is given both individually and in groups, Sometimes also parents take part. All students are offered guidance and self-evaluation, role games about job interviews, development of CVs and portfolios, labor marked understanding, participation in employment fairs and workshops on identifying hidden talents are just some of the examples of the many activities that take place.
The school also help students apply for scholarships and is cooperating with employment bureaus that inform about vacancies
The gender aspect: The school have many female students especially in the ICT field. They use the girls as role models and also participated in the campaign “Women in ICT”
It will not be difficult to find students with sufficient knowledge of English language. For some of the teachers a refreshment course will be good.
Joint task force in Montenegro: It will be relevant to invite a representative from the so-called VET Center, which is one of the four departments of the Ministry of Education.
The first National Event should be after the first mobility
The school principle Ms. Milanka Stanisić is appointed for six months to be the principal on duty. After these six months, there will be an announcement for the new principal (for four years period). We hope that she will become the new principle, however it is the Ministry that decides.
Two of the students of the school have develop an app for online enrollment. It became a very important tool for enrollment last year because of the Corona situation, it was used by a lot of persons, and the Ministry uploaded it to its website. By the end of the meeting, one of the two students presented the app. (see photo below)