According to a CBT document prepared by COTVET consultants, competency based training policy (CBT) is an industry and demand-driven, outcomes-based education and training programme based on industry generated standards (occupational standards). Such industry standards form the basis upon which programme/curriculum assessment and learning materials are designed and developed. Competence is the ability to carry out activities to the standards specified.
This definition includes the requirements to process underpinning knowledge , attitude and values (affective) in order to carry out practical activities which are expressed as outcomes (outcomes based paradigm). The definition of competence includes:
- The ability to transfer skills and knowledge to new situations
- The organizing and planning of activities, coping with non-routine situations
- The ability to interact effectively with others
The outcomes based approach highlights the viewpoint that what and whether learners learn effectively is more important than when and how they learn something.
This viewpoint does influence an educational system. In outcome-based education and training (OBET), it is important to ensure that all learners will gain the necessary knowledge, skills and attitudes or values to be successful; that lifelong learners will fulfill meaningful roles in real life in and out of the learning environment and the workplace. The basis of a competence-based system is the definition of the standards which may be the outcomes of a learning process or they may be performed in an occupational role. The standards can be grouped together into units. These units can be the basis of certification (groups of units may form awards).
Credit values may be assigned to units. This can be based on the content and notional time to complete the units. For a person to be assessed competent they need to demonstrate the ability to perform tasks and duties to the standard expected in employment. CBT focuses on the development of the skills, knowledge and attitudes required to achieve those competency standards. Under the CBT approach, each learner is assessed to find the gap between the skills they need (as described in the training package) and the skills they already have. The difference between the two is the skills gap.
A training programme is then developed to help the learner acquire the missing skills. Competency-based training programme are often comprised of modules broken into segments called learning outcomes, which are based on standards set by industry, and assessment is designed to ensure that each trainee or student has achieved all the outcomes (i.e. skills and knowledge) required by each module.
An important assumption underpinning competency-based training is that competency standards can be established through analysis of work carried out in business and industry and that there will be agreement about these standards. In fact it has been an exceptionally difficult process to establish national competency standards in many industries (Beavers, 1993). Further other studies (Comford, 1996, 1997) have shown that teachers have perceived lack of agreement in standards. The fact that these teachers in the study all have extensive industrial experience, leads to the conclusion that there is a major problem with the concept of agreed industry-based competency standards. This therefore calls for a good preparation for a sound competency based training policy in Ghana.
Goals of the Competency Based Training Policy:
- Establish clear standards which can be measured
- Develop competent individuals with transferable skills
- Link education and training to skills needed by employers
- Establish an objective quality assured system which will have the confidence of all users, i.e. learners, educational establishments and employers
- Promote the concept of lifelong learning
- Develop the potential of individuals to optimal levels
- Prime the system and people to respond quickly to change