Models of occupational skills training for senior high and unemployed adults
A POINT OF AWARENESS - Preciosa S. Soliven (The Philippine Star) - October 24, 2019 - 12:00am

(Part I)

Learning to Earn, the 3rd pillar of UNESCO’S 21st Century Education has been part of the educational pattern of upper secondary education of Europe, USA and Australia. With licensed expert instructors and fully equipped work areas provided in these continents, professional occupational training has enabled senior high school graduates – as well as unemployed adults like immigrants – to readily find employment as technicians in construction, ship building, agriculture, health services, tourism, police and military services, etc. In Asian countries, skills training is also given to some extent in upper secondary high school, but the lack of professional instructors and low literacy rates of the students is a hindrance.

The US farms and the performing arts schools

In 1997, as we were trying to prepare the required Montessori curriculum for our professional high school, I received a US state travel grant to visit technical high schools. The Philadelphia Farm School provided training for Butchery, Kennel Care and Pet Breeding, including Florist Business. The school farm raised cattle, which were butchered and apportioned, packed commercially for sale, and displayed in chillers at the luncheon cafeteria opened to the public.

I also paid a visit to the famous High School of Performing Arts in New York City. It was here that the famous Liza Minnelli, daughter of Judy Garland, studied dance and voice. Seeing an ensemble of poised teenage students rehearsing for a full symphony orchestra performance was exciting to watch. I also met student ballerinas polishing their steps for the full ballet concert Coppelia. I learned that they usually wear out three pairs of ballet shoes within six-month preparation.

The Australian cultural travel grant

In 1981, I received the Australian cultural travel grant that allowed me to visit Saul’s Professional High School Farm outside of Sydney, which trained boys and girls in raising sheep, poultry, and pigs. Their instructors were all experts who converted their lesson plans into professional technical books. They frequently won the best prize for their well-tended sheep.

I also visited the Melbourne Viniculture Farm that specialized in raising grapes for Italian and German wines. These wine experts were the numerous European migrants who flocked to Australia after World War I. The Philippines has been importing excellent wines produced by the numerous vineyards of Australia.

The agro technical high school in Florence, Italy and Saint-Germain-Des-Prés In Paris

As early as 1969, while training at the Bergamo Centro Montessori per Scuola Elementare, I foresaw that we would complete the O.B. Montessori education up to high school. I requested Ambassador Fedele for visits to Italy’s scuola professionale, a term used by Italians for their technical high schools. In Florence, I visited the Scuola Professionale per Agricola where large beds of poinsettia plants were already being prepared for the Christmas season. At the Instituto d’Arte di Firenze I observed the Gemology department where students set semi-precious stones for fine jewelries.

As a member of the UNESCO Executive Board in 1986, our Philippine Ambassador del Mundo to France arranged my visit to the farm high school outside Paris in Saint-Germain-des-Prés. Regular farmers were required to attend 10-month training courses at the senior Agriculture Ecole Secondaire before they could secure loans from the rural bank. Farming has been subsidized by the French government, providing the country’s food security.

Raising farmers literacy at the Denmark folkschule

Early farming history in Denmark started with the folkschule, or folk people’s winter school. It was started by a missionary to increase the basic literacy of farmers. When winter comes after the planting and harvest season, the village farmers were invited to attend cooperative schools where they learn to market goods free of middlemen and learn as well the history, literature and language of Denmark. After a six-month theoretical study in farming technology young Danish farmers are assigned to licensed farms where they work for two years assisting and learning all the facets of farm activities from the farm owner and the treasurer wife. It includes free board and lodging and a monthly honorarium. After this practicum, the young farmers return to school to take up the farm management course so they can take over the farms they inherit from their parents who go on to retirement.

Ecole Culinaire of Paris, KLM Amsterdam 

The best French culinary training takes place at the famous Ecole Culinaire, the oldest professional ecole secondaire in Paris. Experts in butchery, pastry baking, French cuisine and bartending make up the faculty. A pastry chef showed me his personal course guide made up of fully illustrated recipes. His students were preparing trays of canapés and pastries for an evening cocktail to be given by a private business company. A Filipino male student was preparing the bar for the party.

In the ground floor, the simple brasserie restaurant, which could sit 50 walk-in customers, faced the open kitchen where students worked on six ovens. Ecole Culinaire offers a management course for junior graduates with at least three years of basic culinary experience. Upon the recommendation of their restaurant managers, they take leave to finish the advanced course.

In Amsterdam, KLM has two buildings. One trains their regular administrative staff while the other is the KLM Airline Culinary School, an important institution that helps to feed thousands of travelers from different airlines that are making the stopover in Schiphol, Amsterdam. To make full use of the state-of-the-art kitchens, it does catering to local banquets including palace affairs. The Dutch queen values their chefs, on whom she confers awards in formal ceremonies, as done in France.

Philippine corporate linkages, the way to go

The Cebu Pacific Aeronautic School, the Toyota Motor School and Monterey Meatshop School, Unilever School, San Miguel Purefoods Culinary Center are corporate models for professional senior high schools. Can any of the existing senior high schools match this?

(For feedback email to precious.soliven@yahoo.com)

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