|UNESCO-UNEVOC|||||e-Forum|||||Network||TVETipedia||Register | Login|
At its simplest a self-sufficient school is one that generates enough income to cover the costs of providing a quality education to its students.
Agricultural vocational schools have long appreciated the benefits of ‘learning-by-doing’ – no one ever learnt to drive a tractor from reading a book! Skills are often best learnt on-the-job, and improve by practise. Where refining skills is aimed at delivering a product of marketable quality– from honey to maize to milk - the natural next step is to actually make and sell this product. Schools rarely have difficulties finding a use for income generated in this way!
Although it requires a substantial effort to create a demonstration production environment for teaching purposes, it is often proportionately not much harder to produce the same product on a much larger scale. For products in developing countries where commercial enterprises often lack the very skills being taught, scaling up can justifiably result in greater productivity than the market norm. When each activity across a school’s curriculum is taught in this manner – being effectively run as a profitable business unit – financial self-sufficiency becomes a realistic prospect.
Self-sufficiency is really just a means to an end - to providing a quality vocational education that opens up prospects for graduates to earn a decent living, and create jobs for others. There is another valuable benefit of maintaining self-sufficiency as a goal – institutional fitness. Self-sufficient schools are denied the complacency of institutions which can rely on regular funding irrespective of performance. Like regular businesses they must adapt, innovate, and constantly renew themselves just to stand still.
UNEVOC e-Forum Discussion: http://www.unevoc.unesco.org/forum.php?lang=&show=379
School Enterprises: Combining Vocational Learning with Production, Madhu Singh, 1998 (http://www.unevoc.net/fileadmin/user_upload/pubs/iug015e.pdf)