Evaluation of Student Learning Outcomes in the Renewable Energy Technology (RET) subject, NC(V) Level 2 in 2015
In 2015, the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) introduced the subject Renewable Energy Technologies (RET) in the National Certificate (Vocational) Electrical Infrastructure and Construction programme (EIC). This new subject is the latest addition to the vocational specialisation options offered in Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges and was developed for students who want to learn more about renewable energy generation and its related technologies, as well as energy and resource efficiency.
The overall goal of the RET subject is to increase relevant skills for a green economy labour market and thus students’ employability. Under the auspices of the DHET and supported by GIZ on behalf of the German Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the Skills for Green Jobs (S4GJ) programme drove the process of developing this new subject, including curriculum- and training material development, as well as training of TVET college lecturers on the subject matter content and on new didactical training equipment. The latter can be considered as part of continuous professional development for the lecturers, so that they can teach the new subject in a practical and progressive manner.
First results are now available and seem promising. Six TVET colleges offered the new subject in 2015, with an additional three colleges coming on board in 2016. In addition to these nine colleges, another six colleges will offer the subject in 2017. Student numbers are growing accordingly, from approximately 300 students in 2015 to 600 students in 2016 to just over 1000 students projected to study Renewable Energy Technologies from 2017 onwards. With 15 colleges and 3 levels, student growth is projected to reach a plateau in 2019 with around 2000 students.
The pass rate for the RET subject Level 2 in 2015 was 81% on average. The pass rates per campus ranged from 58% to 96%. The 81% average makes it the second highest scoring subject in the EIC programme after the subject “Life Skills”.
As an overall assessment of the first year of implementing the RET subject in 2015, it can be said that it has been successful - it shows success and achievements on the side of the lecturers as well as the students.
The various sources of data collection (lecturer survey, student survey, site visits, lecturer questionnaires for training workshops etc.) reveal general satisfaction with the implementation process of the new subject. The RET students perceive an improvement in their technical and mathematical skills as well as their soft skills (group work dynamics, problem solving etc.). The majority of the students feel that the subject has been helpful for their career orientation and the practical work of the subject is appreciated. It can be stated that the students’ learning outcomes for the 2015 intake have been achieved and that the continuous professional development of RET lecturers does generate positive results in student achievements and lecturer satisfaction.