Using Skills Training in the Built Environment to bridge the Literacy and Numeracy gap in Low Income Countries.
Integrating technical skills
DTC research group has collaborated with Engineers Without Borders (EWB) Ireland to promote self-supply at the household and community level with their innovative “Village Technology Education Centre (VTEC)”, teaching practical water and sanitation technologies.
A VTEC centre was started in Genedema, Sierra Leone, as part of an EU funded project to support infrastructure development in Sierra Leone.
Low Income countries are characterised by a skills deficit which is accentuated by illiteracy and innumeracy amongst youths. This project is aimed at integrating practical skills training into the educational system, at primary, secondary and vocational levels.
We call this approach a Village Technology Education Centre (VTEC).
Each VTEC centre has a technology portfolio of working modular, standardized plug and play demonstration systems with solutions based on proven scientific and engineering technologies. These serve as tactile teaching units where participants learn how to design, construct, operate and maintain the technologies, such as: i) Rainwater Harvesting, ii) Solar Water Disinfection Systems, iii) Natural Wastewater Treatment & Reuse Systems, iv) Agricultural Water Systems, v) Low cost water quality testing.
TU Dublin have developed curriculum modules which use innovative pedagogical approaches to bypass the traditional literacy challenges, using comics, audio visual lectures suitable for village settings and hands on demonstrations.
The innovative and practical, visual teaching methods a good model for low income countries, providing existing tools that can be replicated.
DTC Research Group was established for the promotion of Resilient Environmental, Water and Sanitation Technologies. It is part of the Water Innovation Research Centre within the Environmental Sustainability and Health Institute (ESHI) at TU Dublin. It is supported by the School of Transport and Civil Engineering, TU Dublin.