Skills for Life Day II

On Tuesday, April 8, 2014 Skills for Life entered it’s second and last day, and though I was tired the night before and needed to wake up early, I Googled the organization and found out that Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah of Jordan is an international voice for cross cultural dialogue, an outspoken philanthropic advocate, and a promoter of advancing health and educational opportunities in Jordan and across the globe. Her Majesty established the Jordan River Foundation and serves as UNICEF’s first Eminent Advocate for Children and the Regional Ambassador of INJAZ Arabia. She is also the World Health Organization Patron for Violence Prevention in the Eastern Mediterranean Region and the head of the National Council for Family Affairs (NCFA). Queen Rania is on the Board of Directors of the World Economic Forum (WEF); the United Nations Foundation (UNF); the International Youth Foundation (IYF); the Foundation for International Community Assistance (FINCA); and the GAVI Fund, which seeks to provide children in poor countries with access to life-saving vaccines. And she is one of the board of directors of this organization.

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The agenda for Day 2 is as follow:

DAY 2
A Framework for Implementers: Effective practices for quality life skills programs

08:30 – 09:00 Registration and Coffee
09:00 – 09:30 Presentation of Day 2 Agenda and Technical Sessions: MORNING THEME: A FRAMEWORK FOR IMPLEMENTING LIFE SKILLS

09:30 – 10:00 Introduction

Taking a practical approach to exploring the main elements of a quality life skills program, this interactive session will present “Strengthening Life Skills for Youth: A Practical Guide to Quality Programming,” developed by IYF with World Bank support to provide practical guidance on successful life skills interventions with young people. Facilitators will share key elements from the Guide and engage participants in a thoughtful discussion of “what works” when designing content, program structure, and training methodology for life skills training programs.

  • Facilitator: Sarabecka Mullen, Director, IYF Life Skills Programs

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10:00 – 11:45 Breakout Session A: Best Practices in Life Skills

Participants will discuss approaches for broader impact and sustainability, including avenues for certification and accreditation and possible
mechanisms to encourage standardization of life skills approaches across the region, including the potential for regional framework for minimum standards.

In small groups, participants will delve deeper into best practices in life skills programming. Two 45-minute sessions will allow the opportunity to explore two out of the following three topics:

  1. Topic 1: Essential life skills competencies and engagement of stakeholders
  2. Topic 2: Creating an environment conducive to life skills learning
  3. Topic 3: Monitoring and evaluating life skills programs.

This session is intended for all stakeholders including donors, new and seasoned life skills trainers, and employers or educational institutions who are looking to provide life skills training to youth.

  • Facilitators:
    – Ruba Musleh, IYF Palestine Program Specialist
    – Rami Abass, IYF Master Trainer, Egypt
    – Angela Venza, IYF Program Director
    – Katie Raymond, IYF Program Manager

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10:00 – 11:45 Breakout Session B: Continuing Education for PTS Life Skills Professionals

This session will provide an opportunity for Passport to Success ® life skills trainers to come together as a community of practice and reflect on specific learnings and areas to enhance their teaching skills. Feedback from master trainers and coaches indicates an urgent need for tailored professional development programs to enhance their technical skills, including facilitation skills and a deeper knowledge of core life skills topics such as critical thinking, health issues, and youth development. Discussion will also include how to implement strong quality assurance systems, including models for structured coaching and follow-up support; training content quality; and the sharing of useful resources and materials for evaluating life skills programs.

  • Facilitators:
    – Mays Al Shakanbeh, IYF Capacity Building Manager and Senior Trainer
    – Sarabecka Mullen, Director, IYF Life Skills Programs

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11:45 – 12:15 Morning Wrap-Up
Reflecting on the morning’s conversations, participants from all of the breakout groups will reunite to talk about takeaways on paths forward to
stronger, more effective life skills programs.

  • Facilitators:
    – Angela Venza, IYF Program Director
    – Katie Raymond, IYF Program Manager

12:15 – 12:30 Coffee Break

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12:30 – 14:00 AFTERNOON TECHNICAL SESSIONS
TRACK ONE: PUBLIC SECTOR MODELS AND POLICY REFORM
Building Quality Life Skills Programs in the Public Sector 

This session will look at effective models for institutionalizing life skills in public sector systems, both at the national and municipality level, including the role of policy reform to ensure systems-based approaches and long-term sustainability. The first half of the session will highlight two successful examples of pilots in Morocco and Jordan that have been taken to national scale. In the second half of the session, participants will explore the challenges and barriers to the widespread integration of life skills into nationally mandated curricula, especially in the TVET sector. Key considerations to ensure the long-term institutionalization of life skills,

including the role of trainer incentive schemes, the development of life skills training units within ministries, and certification and continuing education for life skills trainers will be discussed. Together, the session participants will develop a framework for recommendations and action steps that can be taken to government policy makers to advocate for reform.

  • H.E. Majed Al-Habashnah, Director General, Vocational Training Corporation Jordan
  • Nawal El Haouari, Advisor for Training to the Minister of Tourism, Morocco
  • Abdulsalam Wail Y. Alsulaiman, Director, Child and Youth Programme, Arab Urban Development Institute
  • Mohsen Ben Touati, Deputy Director, General Directorate for the Promotion of Employment, Ministry of Vocational Training and Employment, Tunisia
  • Facilitator: Nadia Guerch, IYF Country Director

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TRACK TWO: RESPONDING TO EMPLOYER NEEDS
Sector-Specific Approaches to Life Skills

Educators and employers agree that there is a growing gap between the skills that companies expect from their entry-level employees and the skills that these young people possess. This session will examine the effectiveness of sector-specific life skills models and how educators, government and businesses can work together to define the soft skills requirements for entry level jobs in specific sectors to enhance employment outcomes for youth. The session will highlight successful models that integrate life skills into sector specific employment training programs in the hospitality sectors in Jordan and Morocco. Speakers from the region’s leading vocational training institutes will share their experience and specific design approaches, as well as discuss obstacles to overcome in order to maximize training outcomes for employment.

  • Senator Michael Nazzal, Chairman, Jordan Hospitality Association, Chairman, Jordan Hospitality and Tourism Education Company
  • Rachid El Faqir, Department Head, Pedagogy Supervision and Management, Ministry of Tourism, Morocco
  • Stuart Skinner, Senior Business Development Manager, City & Guilds
  • Dr. Ghassan Abu-Yaghi, General Director, E-TVET Fund
  • Nadera Al Bakheet, General Director, E-TVET Council Secretariat
  • Facilitator: Rana Al Turk, IYF Jordan Country Director

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TRACK THREE: LIFE SKILLS AND CONFLICT SITUATIONS
Helping Jordan’s Host Communities Respond to the Needs of Vulnerable Youth through Life Skills 

What can be done to diffuse tensions and reduce conflict among vulnerable youth in host communities? This session will discuss the challenges and opportunities that donors and civil society face working with Syrian refugees in Jordanian communities, particularly in the current working environment with limited work permits available for Syrian youth. This session will explore the role of life skills to empower youth at risk as positive change agents, as well as the role of key personal competencies such as problem solving, self-confidence, listening skills, and conflict resolution and negotiation skills to manage conflict in host communities. The session will also draw from best practices elsewhere in the region and will also highlight service learning and citizenship as a way to activate the role of marginalized youth in local communities.

  • Michele Servadei, Jordan Deputy Representative, UNICEF
  • Dalia Khalil, Executive Director, Egyptian Association for Educational Resources (E-ERA)
  • Maen Rayyan, Senior Project Manager, Questscope
  • James Orlando, Vulnerable Populations Specialist, USAID
  • Facilitator: Dr. Mohammad AlMbaid, IYF Palestine Country Director and MENA Regional Director

14:00 – 15:00 Buffet Lunch

15:00 – 15:30 Honorary Ceremony for Youth for the Future and Regional Life Skills Trainers

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15:30 – 16:00 CLOSING SESSION

The conference’s final session will reflect on key messages and learnings from the two days and will outline the takeaways for action to build momentum and greater regional capacity for life skills programming.

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Thinking about all I heard and learned in these two days, here are my thoughts on specific matters and other points I liked. Ms. Angela Venza talked about how people with a certain field of experience should choice for the youthful people the best environment to evolve a certain skill, which I 100% agree with. She stressed on the fact that for a fair learning experience for both tutor and student that there shouldn’t be more than 15-25 students if possible, so that there would be interaction and a sense of conduct learning.

I might add that there should be space, with good parents/school interaction, and maybe they should meet some role models of people who made it in a specific field that one day they would aspire to become involved in.

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Mr. Michael Nazzal talked in length about tourism and how important it is to Jordan and its future. He gave us a number (26,000 of hotel rooms) in all of Jordan, he suggested that every room employees at least 5 people, with 28,000 archaeological sites in Jordan alone to move the economic mobility to its next stage. But stressed the fact that Jordan lacks professional youth that are clean and presentable, talk fluently in two languages, punctual and know how to use a computer.

He predicts more than 70,000 job opportunities in Jordan with more than 10,000 hotel rooms built and ready in 5 years. So he pointed that he expects from such a program a trained group of workers for a life of style in hotels. He added that the International Organization is the responsible educator of such youth, and the job of making the education higher is to train the youth in labor markets.

I don’t remember who said this statement but I liked it very much: “Private sectors hires based on technical skills and separates based on life skills.” which is so true! Learning and education alone doesn’t count, a persons manners and experience is what makes you bloom in the labor markets.

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As a late answer to Samir Hulileh’s speech on the panel, I would like to say that I think differently, I think education must get better in Jordan for sure, but when a teacher doesn’t get paid enough and has no insurance of any kind, you are creating more problems by minimizing them and make others lose their jobs. We all know that a teacher’s salary isn’t enough, especially if that teacher is in the head of family, and we all know that part time jobs suck in Jordan, and I talk of experience. They are not worth it.

As for Lee Cohen, I liked what you said, creating different types of education is a great answer. Because every student is different. If one student is really good in art and another is very athletic, I think they both should get a minimum general education and than go and study the skills they posses and make them bloom.

In my opinion, education and technology are not related per-ca; I think most of our youth don’t know who they are, which makes the gap between the youth and adults wildly huge. The political ferment, and the Arabic Spring, changed street and internet education. I think the current educational system isn’t keeping up with the current quick event, though it should. We should stop the “Should” policy and give the youth a say, I’m aware of how much they know but can’t express correctly. I think education should stop being about studying but about learning. It shouldn’t be a forced boring task, but a privilege adventure. And one more thing: I HATE discrimination between genders.

Well, that’s all about I remember from April. Hope you enjoyed my reflections dear readers.

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Strive to know more. x

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