The employers were consulted already at the beginning of the program development. The necessity for this study program providing the qualification of a teacher of Home Economics and Information Technologies was coordinated at the General Education Department of the Ministry of Education and Science and Education Syllabus and Examination Center and the compliance of the planned program content with the content of definite courses and requirements for teaching at school was specified.
During development of the study program a seminar was organized where representatives from Jelgava town and region school boards were invited and participated, including school inspectors, directors and representatives of educational establishments, heads of Home Economics and Information Technologies methodical associations.
Conclusions drawn in the result of consultations at the Ministry of Education and Science and at the seminar with the employers:
Training of specialists in the spheres of home environment and information technologies in Latvia is firstly determined by the necessity to maintain the cultural heritage as home environment is one of the characteristic parts of cultural environment and living space. Secondly, application of computers that become a part of work and learning is characteristic to all stages of education and to all age groups. Due to this reason computer skills are learned at school, at higher school and at adult education centers.
The combination of the spheres of home environment and information technologies in a higher school program is one of the possibilities for the future education specialists to understand and teach how it would be possible to ensure maintenance of the national cultural heritage, its investigation and up – dated inclusion in active circulation of culture as the cultural process unites the cultural heritage and creation of new values in live circulation, it unites the past and the present providing continuity and development of culture in the future (Basic Trends of Latvian State Cultural Policy/ Ministry of Culture, Republic of Latvia. – R.: Elpa, 1996. – 56 pp.).
Since the implementation of the study programme has been started in the academic year 2003/2004, the first students will graduate the programme at the end of the academic year 2005/2006. Therefore it is impossible to carry out the traditional employers’ survey on the suitability of the study programme graduates to the requirements of labour market. Hovewer, already since the development of the study programme there had been established and maintained the collaboration with the employers, as well as taken into consideration the assessment and suggestions expressed by them:
during the seminars, where the quality of the study programme is assessed,
concerning the ensuring and evaluation of pedagogical practice,
the members of state examination commission evaluated the students’ Bachelor Papers and their defence in the academic year 2005/2006, as well as expressed their opinions concerning the future graduates’ competence – readiness for the teacher’s work - on the basis of this evaluation.
The main conclusions of employers:
there is still shortage of household teachers (especially those, who could teach optional technologies II – woodworking, metal-working, etc.), as well as the teachers of information technologies;
the combination of home environment and information technologies in one programme enable the students to have a full-time job at rural schools, where there are no parallel classes mostly;
the diversity of study courses included in the study programme is positive, because the graduate will have extensive knowledge, therefore it will be easier for him/her to adapt to the school environment, to be flexible towards different responsibilties, as well as take an active part in the ensuring of interest related education by offering pupils something new and attractive;
the supervisors of practical training at schools acknowledge that the students mostly have sufficient knowledge and skills to teach the subjects of household and information technologies;
the students are good at information technologies and integrating them into the subject of household, using them for the development of teaching/learning aids, as well as students have the creative approach to the teaching of information technologies, trying to vary methods and to rouse pupils’ interest;
the supervisors of the practical training suggest to pay more attention to the development of students’ insight concerning the educational aspects or teacher’s work at school already before the students start their practical training, as well as suggest to plan the practical training during the 4th study year so that the student already at the beginning of the academic year in collaboration with the teacher-supervisor of practical training would prepare all the documentation, necessary for the organization of teaching/learning process. These suggestions had been taken into consideration, when planning the organization of study process for the next academic year;
teachers–supervisors of the practical training point out that there exist different levels of students’ motivation;
the chairperson of the state examination commission writes in the opinion regarding the work of the commission: “The defended Bachelor Papers are significant examples of research, which could be continued in the Master Papers. The candidates for a diploma have acquired the skill of clear and logical presentation of their works using the appropriate language. As a positive feature should be pointed out the use of technical equipment, incl. data projector etc., for the presentation.”
7. The evaluation of the study programme
7.1. The aim and objectives of the study programme
The teachers of household/home economics and information technologies with the developed professional, social and reflection competences, who would be able to solve the educational problems and who are aware of the significance of their professional activities for the development of pupils’ personalities, particularly in the rural environment, as well as the importance of lifelong education.
Objectives: to ensure the provision of the study programme content, academic staff, methodological, material-technical, scientific and favourable study environment for the achievement of the aim of the study programme in order the new teacher could show his/her pedagogical competence as a result of studies:
is able to organize the teaching/learning and educational process for the achievement of pedagogical aims within the household/home economics subjects and the subject of information technologies in the framework of elementary education;
knows, understands, can evaluate, explain and creatively implement the curriculum of household/home economics and information technologies at elementary education level on the basis of regulatory documentation and the insight regarding the significance and developmental perspective of these subjects;
can develop relations with pupils, their parents, colleagues full of respect in order to help the pupils to adapt to the school environment, thus facilitating the development of values acquisition by pupils, their self-realization and self-discipline;
can analyze and evaluate him/herself and his/her professional performance and draw conclusions to improve it;
can substantiate and solve the problems in the field of his/her studies/research; obtain and use relevant data in order to reflect on the significant social, scientific and ethical issues concerning the development of pupils’ individualities;
understands and is aware of the necessity of lifelong education, can substantiate it, as well as to provide pupils with the information on the possibilities to choose their future profession and career according to pupils’ interests and abilities.
The aim and objectives of the programme were defined more exactly according to the accreditation experts’ recommendations and the basic approaches of the EU Qualifications in the European higher education space 2000-2004.
The fulfillment of the objectives of the study programme is evaluated within the framework of each respective study course by evaluating students’ achievements, knowledge and skills; during the discussions with students and by evaluating the survey results; at the seminars of the study programme quality evaluation.
Whether the aim and objectives of the programme are achieved, is determined by evaluating the students’ achievements during the practical training, as well as assessing students’ Bachelor Papers.