Saskatchewan Polytechnic brings new education program to Colombia

Instructors teaching map and scale. Image credit: Saskatchewan Polytechnic
Instructors teaching map and scale. Image credit: Saskatchewan Polytechnic

Education for Employment program brings new and relevant mining curriculum to rural community

March 29, 2016 - A dedicated team from Saskatchewan Polytechnic has returned from an opportunity to share knowledge and ideas on applied teaching and learning and test new curriculum in a rural Colombian community.

In partnership with Colombia's National Training Service (SENA) and funded by Global Affairs Canada through the Education for Employment Program, this project set out to revise and renew relevant mining curriculum to add practical and applied training in the areas of prospecting, exploration, and mining of gold and minerals. Also introduced were mechanisms for quality assurance of curriculum design, teacher training, as well as a way to monitor graduates to determine the impact of training and its ability to address economic and national needs.

"The project is transferring Canadian know-how and experience in developing relevant training programs for the mining sector," says Angela Wojcichowsky, director of International Projects. "Training is tailored to meet the needs of participating communities and particularly vulnerable youth in the economically disadvantaged areas of Bolívar and Antioquia in Colombia."

Sask Polytech faculty experts worked with 12 youth and 25 Columbian instructors to pilot the first course, Map and Compass, as part of a new Prospector program. The Sask Polytech team included Wojcichowsky, and two Sask Polytech consultants, Sharon Hopkins and Les Erikson.

"It was a great opportunity to see the curriculum we developed come to life. Observing the instructors' interaction with the students and watching the students learn and apply new concepts was truly rewarding," says Wojcichowsky.

In addition to delivering the course, Sask Polytech donated 82 school kits and soccer balls to the local elementary school as a way to say thanks to their host community.

In May, a group of eight instructors from SENA will visit Saskatchewan Polytechnic to learn more about the Canadian education system and participate in technical training through our Mining and Engineering Technology program.

Saskatchewan Polytechnic serves 27,000 distinct students through applied learning opportunities at campuses in Moose Jaw, Prince Albert, Regina and Saskatoon, and through extensive distance education opportunities. Programs serve every economic and public service sector. As a polytechnic, the organization provides the depth of learning appropriate to employer and student need, including certificate, diploma and degree programs, and apprenticeship training. Saskatchewan Polytechnic engages in applied research, drawing on faculty expertise to support innovation by employers, and providing students the opportunity to develop critical thinking skills.