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Practice & internship programs PDF Print E-mail

IMG_00471_1The Partnership is working with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and USAID – Georgia to strengthen the Gori HPE curriculum by adding practice elements to foundation and specialty courses, culminating in an internship in the last semester of work. Once up and running, the program will be self-supporting since it relies on monies contributed in student fees as applied to the practice and internship credits earned. The most important feature of the practice program is the connections that are built between students and employers during the first year of study in the student’s specialty, i.e., the first stage of practice tied to subject matter courses. The second important feature is the capstone internship which deepens the student’s linkage with a potential employer and starts up a “life style” model whereby employees acquire needed workforce skills “on the job” and employers gain new information to efficiently and effectively operate their business by participating in the college’s practice and internship program.

Project activities in 2010-2011 can be grouped under four main goals:

  • Create a common practice/internship methodology and curriculum designed to cover the four current and any other future business administration specialties: construction management, small and medium enterprise management, hotel & restaurant management, and agricultural business.
  • Start-up work with teachers & businesses
  • Operate the practice and internship program on a pilot basis through graduation of the first two classes of students; and
  • Start-up of an electronic information bank where 1)employers can access student CVs and 2)graduates can access information about area businesses for seeking internships and jobs.

The tasks in this project are indicative of the specificity of the Partnership’s workforce focus.

  • Draft a common practice program for all four specialties which meets the requirements of enterprises and the organisations in Shida Kartli.
  • Present the program to the appropriate Advisory Committee, local businesses, and teachers. Revise the program according to the recommendations and advice received.
  • Coordinate the program with the Department of Programs and Assessment of Ministry of Education and Science and the National Council of Accreditation.
  • Develop curriculum materials for the internship.
  • Prepare training materials for Advisory Committee, local business representatives, teachers of subjects (theoretical and practical) and instructors from enterprises.
  • Determine the geography of internship placements and draw up contracts with enterprises.
  • Select and train Career Center instructors and the instructors in the enterprises.
  • Textbook authors, teachers, Career Center staff, and practice instructors from business modify subject syllabuses.
  • Develop criteria for assessing internship results with input from U.S. college experts.
  • Develop rules – both requirements and assessment – for the students’ internship reports (both intermediate and final) in coordination with representatives of enterprises and organizations.
  • Develop and test a financial maintenance scheme to carry out the practice activities in connection with senior university leaders, deans, and the university kanceller.
  • Develop a scheme for graduate’s job-seeking and subsequent employment through collaboration with local enterprises.

Gogeliani leads the core group of Georgian collaborators in this project, including the program’s career center coordinator, the quality assurance officer, and members of the existing Gori College business advisory committee. This group will be assisted by teachers in the four specialty subjects, representatives from businesses, who will become instructors in practice and internship topics, and key officials of Gori University with whom the program has strong relations. Among other duties, Gogeliani’s professional and technical staff in the Tbilisi-based CCID office will organize needed training, prepare curriculum materials, provide logistical and technical services, and facilitate the preparation of accreditation materials.

The main technical approach follows MES accreditation rules. Subject-matter practice is the first stage and takes place through firm visits or activities on campus with visits from firm representatives under the direction of the teacher and following from the textbook and other curriculum materials. Out-of-class work of this kind will be arranged according to contracts developed with specific Shida Kartli businesses.

These practice activities provide students immediate and practical opportunities to evaluate and apply what is being presented by the teacher on topics required while students are taking the specialty courses. An additional benefit of including practice work at this stage is that it provides students and companies opportunities to get to know one another before the internship described below. This stage of practice involves activities specified in 6 courses which students take during the second and third years. The total amount of credit hours is 40 for this subject-oriented practice.

The second stage is internship activities in business enterprises during the third year. The internship is developed according to contracts with specific enterprises. The internship will be worth 225 hours or 15% of the total program curricula. The total number of credit hours corresponds exactly to the requirements defined by the Ministry of Education and Science (MES) for accrediting higher professional educational programs. Practice coordinators, who work as staff of the Career Center and whose salaries come from the student fees available to the college are responsible for carrying out the internship activities in each specialty. Both the firm and the Career Center coordinators receive partial salary from the fees generated by the credit hours students spend on these tasks. Both types of coordinators receive special training for their internship work and for learning and applying the program’s assessment methodology, i.e., how to evaluate student on-the-job learning. In addition, we expect other people from the firms offering the internships to take part in the students’ assessment besides the coordinators in each stage.qobuleti_-_9.03.10

Thus, the increasingly deep connection which develops during the three-years while the students are enrolled in the CCID model of a HPE program in Georgia implements one of the basic strategies of this internship/practice program, i.e., both sides get full information about each other before the student graduates and the hiring process begins. As a result, enterprises get the opportunity to help create competent human resources for their enterprises at the same time that graduates get a worthwhile education in their specialty combining: 1)needed theoretical and practical knowledge; 2)concrete knowledge about the expectations of managers and specialists in firms in their specialty; and 3)information about how these companies actually operate. Thus, carrying out professional practice in parallel with the in-class educational process provides future-focused motivation for both sides – employer and employee – and should yield real results for business and workforce development in Shida Kartli.

A final mutual benefit to both enterprises and students should also be noted. This innovative internship/practice system exposes businesses to new ideas by their close connection with the program’s educational side. Similarly, it eases the entry of students with new ideas into the company after graduation and strengthen the permanent connections between business enterprises and the college through the participation of the former students as current employees.

Having a sustainable practice program is as essential to the success of the program – and its potential dissemination into other Georgian regions – as the sustainability that comes from MES’ commitment to pay the salaries of the Gori program’s teachers and administrators. Our goal is to design a practice program that will run on its own after the two-year phase-in period. The schedule allows time to develop and embed the new practice curriculum into the ongoing curriculum in the four specialties, expand and deepen connections with our Shida Kartli business partners, orient teachers and students to it, and run the complete practice and internship program on a pilot basis. Thereafter, it can run on the financial support given in Georgian law and regulations given by the Ministry to support practice programs out of student fees.


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