Towards re-visioning the technical and vocational curriculum of a selected Zimbabwean juvenile correctional training centre: a program evaluation.
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This study was designed to evaluate the Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) curriculum offered at a selected juvenile offender correctional training centre in Zimbabwe by exploring the quality of the TVET curriculum, in terms of its effectiveness, relevance, value and its ability to produce employable youths or youths endowed with self-help skills. Specifically, the study aimed to identify the strengths and weaknesses of the TVET curriculum offered at the selected juvenile correctional training centre through a SWOT analysis of the technical courses being offered at the centre to proffer solutions to any possible challenges impeding programme implementation. An overview of the methodological approaches and qualitative case study research design selected for the evaluation of the curriculum were provided in which perceptions of stakeholders were also investigated. The study was undertaken at a mixed group state-assisted juvenile correctional training centre in Zimbabwe and was based on Stake‟s Countenance model. Research participants were selected using purposive sampling. The theoretical framework of this study is entrenched in the principles of curriculum evaluation and was developed by adapting the critical approaches to curriculum review framework theories proposed by Vygotsky (1978) and Freire (1972). The theoretical frameworks were used to answer research questions and design the data collection instruments. Relevant curriculum documents were analysed, questionnaires, semi-structured interview schedules and an observation schedule aided in collecting data during tuition activities. The most significant finding of this study is that the TVET curriculum of the selected correctional training centre was failing to empower juvenile offenders with employable and self-help skills. This is because of several impediments that were discovered to beset the TVET curriculum implementation processes emanating from institutional, infrastructural, curricula, pedagogical, policy issues and other associated barriers. Based on these findings the study recommends that the TVET curriculum for the selected juvenile offender correctional training centre be revised and rebranded to respond to current socio-economic demands, adopt a problem-solving approach with the ability to apply scientific, and technological concepts, and be aligned to employment opportunities and self-help projects. This recommendation is in line with the changing needs of the industry which increasingly demands creativity and innovation rather than just mastery of specific craft skills that would soon be outmoded due to technological advancements, spurred by the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) revolution that has engulfed all sectors globally. Additional policy and practice recommendations are also proposed as possible corrective measures.