Young Women's Christian Association - Ramallah

Empowering Youth - Promoting Equality

VTC

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Background:

The YWCA of Ramallah was mainly a camp site for summer programs before evolving into a full fledged association with its own general assembly and board of directors. It was in the early 90s when and for a period of a year or two it hosted and administered a translation program, as well as a variety of short courses in computer skills, languages, sewing, and food production. Members of the board of directors took an active role in the day to day management of those programs with the help of one staff who was employed as a secretary or office administrator. The first Program Director, as was called then, was employed in 2000 or 2001 (those of you who have better memory correct me please).

The vocational training in secretarial duties and office management started in 2001 following the second Intifada. The basic idea behind starting such a program in Ramallah was to accommodate those students who could not pursue their studies at the VTC in Jerusalem due to the imposed closure. It is worth noting that the number of students from Ramallah and the district comprised 22% - 30% of the total number of the VTC students in Jerusalem.

The same program was adopted for the Ramallah center and even some of the courses were taught by the Jerusalem VTC teachers. As the number of students increased in the following year, the Ramallah program employed a whole new teaching/ training team, which was independent of the Jerusalem VTC but partially supervised, (for a short period of time) by the Jerusalem VTC director. Course review and changes when applicable were done equally in both centers.

Admission was based on an English Language and Math assessment tests and followed by an intensive course in English and computer prior to the beginning of the school year in Mid September. The purpose of the intensive course was to bring all students with differing educational backgrounds and experiences to a closer level in those skills.

The vocational training program in Ramallah has been running successfully with an employment opportunity for its graduates at many of the reputable organizations and offices in Ramallah. Employment rate has, so far, been 70-75%. Every year, an assessment session takes place to review the program for the purpose of tracking its development and controlling its problems. This year when such a review was conducted, some concerns were raised about the curriculum and the practical application to all skills learned when students did their training, and the degree and nature of follow up needed to maximize the students’ experience. It was clear to the board members the need to invite specialists in the field of vocational education, to help in a process of assessment and recommend proper development of the program.

There are a number of issues that need to be addressed:

  • English language in terms of: number of teaching sessions; how the language is used in the secretarial skills needed for office work; and how it is taught in order to reach those objectives. (The same applies to the Arabic Language course).
  • Computer skills: application of the various programs needed for office work such as: filing, finding information from the internet, writing and communication, use of spread sheet to manage simple accounts, use of power point for a graduation project.
  • Secretarial duties: How this course is used to help students have a hands on experience and practice of all skills they acquire through the course of their study and training. What specialization should the teacher who gives this subject be of?? Now it's the English teacher who is doing that?? A suggestion was made that someone with administration is better to give the course.
  • The market demand to skills of the graduates, any additional or obsolete skills? Does the structure of the course suits now a day demand? Does it need upgrading?
  • Cultural Studies / Life Skills: How and why is this course important to the students; what in its content is useful for the graduates as they go into the work life, and life in general. What is the proper approach to raise awareness on life issues? What is the approach to helping students acquire those skills?
  • Teaching / Training staff: Qualifications of staff members in vocational education / training. How to promote an interrelated approach? Role of staff members in following up students during the placement period?
  • Period of study and how it can translate into study / training hours. What is the importance of extending the period of study to two years? While the diploma is authorized from the Ministry of Labor, what does it take to achieve an authorization from the Ministry of Education and Higher Learning? Why do we need this? What level does YWCA want to graduate women at? And why? And whom does it serve?
  • The physical set up of class rooms and other facilities in hindering or enhancing a proper learning environment. (Although this one will be taken care of once the new building is finished, until then how can we help to achieve optimum benefit?)
  • The evolving need in the business world and how can the program address those needs?
  • Extending this program to students with a university degree. What type of modules could be developed that can offer training in specific skills to produce executive secretaries, office managers, and the like. Also extending the program to students who have less capabilities that the ones we're getting. What special program can we make for these??( already discussed with the continuing Education –Birzeit University)
  • An academic committee to be a point of reference for reviewing the program for the purpose of upgrading and developing it.
  • The administrative structure of the “VTC”: relationship between the executive director and the VTC Manager; relationship of the academic committee and the board, and the academic committee with the ED and the VTC Manager.
  • All rules and regulations , procedures and requirements involved with the work of the VTC – concerning students, teachers and staff working
  • Suggesting a few Courses that can be given according to market demand ( preparing for conferences A-Z , Public Relations and Public Speaking , writing different types of Reports & minutes of meetings …etc

The vocational training in Secretarial duties and Office Management started in Ramallah in 2001 following the second Intifada. The basic idea behind starting such a program in Ramallah was to accommodate those students who could not pursue their studies at the VTC in Jerusalem due to the imposed closure. Students from Ramallah comprised 22% - 30% of the total number of the VTC students in Jerusalem.

Admission was based on an English Language and Math assessment tests and followed by an intensive course in English and computer prior to the beginning of the school year in Mid September. The vocational training program in Ramallah has been running successfully providing employment opportunities for its graduates at many of the reputable organizations and offices in Ramallah. Employment rate has, so far, been 70-75%. 
The Table below shows the number of the YWCA/Ramallah graduates during the past 10 years.

Scholastic year                            

# of alumni

2001/2002

20

2002/2003

39

2003/2004

41

2004/2005

40

2005/2006

52

2006/2007

60

2007/2008

44

2008/2009

27

2009/2010

47

2010/2011

47

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



 

 

 

 

Starting 2011, YWCA upgraded the VTC structure and content thus changing the secretarial specialization into “Office management”, which is more market driven and gender sensitive. Accordingly, the 10 month program was divided into three phases as follows:

  • The basic phase (lasts for 2 months) includes: Arabic language, Basic English language, life skills, computer applications, safety and business environment, keyboard Mastering.
  • The integration phase (lasts for 3 months) includes: Correspondence Arabic language, technical English Language, computer applications, work ethics, accounting, keyboard Mastering, Computer Maintenance and Management
  • The specialization phase (lasts for 4 months) includes: Correspondence English language, computer application, office management duties, accounting, MIS (Management Information System), Public relation and Professional apprenticeship.
  • The internship phase (lasts for 1 month): training in one of the allocated institutions and organizations for one month.
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