The effectiveness of co-operative education programmes for developing students’ awareness of the importance of generic competencies

Bajunaid, Mohammed M (2008) The effectiveness of co-operative education programmes for developing students’ awareness of the importance of generic competencies. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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The research problem of this study was based on the existing skills gap between education and employment in Saudi Arabia. The Institute of Public Administration like other educational institutions has established Co-operative education programmes (Co-op) in order to build a partnership with the private sector. Co-op was one of the objectives of the state’s sixth development plan (1414 – 1420h), (1995 – 2000) and is used to increase education sufficiency and improving its quality. It is argued that, to meet the future demands for appropriately skilled managers and workers, ongoing collaboration and consultation with industry is required to ensure the goals of all primary stakeholders - students, educators and industry employers - are met (Walo, 2000).

The primary objective of the study was to explore the effectiveness of the Co-operative education programmes, which are provided by private sector companies and some government agencies under the supervision of the Institute of Public Administration, in developing the students’ awareness of the importance of generic competencies required for IPA’s Post-secondary Diploma degree for graduates entering the workplace.

Through a quantitative and qualitative study, this research compared the perceptions held by employers, teachers and students (before and after particpating in the Co-op) about the importance of the generic competencies required for IPA's post-secondary graduates entering workplace today, and employers’ and teachers’ perceptions of the most important competencies required to be developed in the graduates. A survey questionnaire adapted from the research tool used in studies by Hodges and Burchell (2003) and Lin (2005), based on Spencer and Spencer’s work (1993) was administered to 38 of IPA’s eastern province’s organisations which participated in IPA’s Co-op programme in the last 3 years, 38 teachers from IPA’s Dammam branch, and 99 students from IPA’s Post-secondary programmes (before and after particpating in the Co-op). Employers were interviewed as a further qualitative component to give more depth to the study. The frequency distribution, independent samples t-test, one-way ANOVA plus post-hoc Seheffe, Kruskal-Wallis test plus post-hoc Mann-Whitney, and ‘Direct Ranking’ statistical methods were used to identify the differences between the participant groups. The findings revealed that there is a good agreement between the four groups on the importance of a broad range of competencies.
The study has revealed the impact of Co-operative education programmes. This was clear for example when students (after particpating in the Co-op) joined employers in ranking English language (writing), English language (speaking), and English language (overall) among the ten most important competencies, and their awareness of the importance of competencies remained high across a broad range of competencies. This study has also shown the importance placed on ethical competencies by educators and industrial professionals.

The study has also shown that employers’, teachers’, and students’ perceptions of the importance of competencies were affected by their different demographic characteristics. The study showed that all groups perceived both hard and soft competencies as important, and there was consistency between the four groups in favouring soft competencies over hard competencies. The results showed that there was an agreement between employers and teachers in the need to improve IPA’s Post-secondary graduates’ performance in the competency of English language (overall), as a priority as well as some ethical competencies, and the hard competency of computer literacy. The study showed that Post-secondary Programme (PSP) was ranked in first place as the most important source that developed students’ awareness of the importance of competencies, whether in an individual area or under the two categories hard and soft. Second was home/family/community, third came the Co-op Programme, fourth was school, and self-taught came in the last rank

The study clearly reflected the effectiveness of IPA’s Post-secondary Programmes in developing students’ awareness of the importance of competencies, and the impact of home/family/community in this objective. The study also asserted that Co-operative education programme was effective as well; based on its short-term impact in comparison to the long-term influence expected by other sources. The study revealed a lack of effort in schools directed to developing students’ awareness of the importance of competencies. The results in general revealed the positive impact of Co-operative education in developing students’ awareness of the importance of competencies to be closer to the requirements of employers.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Co-operative education, Generic Competencies.
Subjects: L Education > L Education (General)
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education
Colleges/Schools: College of Social Sciences > School of Education
Supervisor's Name: Matthew, Professor Robert and Gunn, Dr Vicky
Date of Award: 2008
Depositing User: Mr Moahmmed Bajunaid
Unique ID: glathesis:2008-489
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 27 Nov 2008
Last Modified: 10 Dec 2012 13:19

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