Training amid the coronavirus pandemic – from a film studio to e-learning

Across the globe, COVID-19 has forced schools to close and created challenges for education systems. But new forms of learning are allowing trainees in Armenia and Serbia to stay on course.

The dual vocational training system is a top German export. Countries that are introducing this dual system with support from the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH include Armenia and Serbia. At a time when coronavirus is forcing schools to close, GIZ is now helping to ensure that trainees can continue their vocational education. 

GIZ has been working in vocational education in Armenia since 2017 on behalf of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). Together with a remote learning organisation, GIZ is developing and implementing various e-learning sessions. Armenia enforced a nationwide lockdown in response to the coronavirus outbreak and closed schools. The project responded swiftly by bringing forward a training course for vocational teachers and trainers that was originally scheduled for the end of the year. In March, 150 participants completed this training course, which focused on designing specially adapted e-learning content and expanding teaching methods. Special online courses that allow vocational students to develop their entrepreneurial skills were also rolled out sooner than planned following the school closures. Thanks to the knowledge that trainees have gained online, they now have more options following their apprenticeship: they can stay on in their current company as an employee or start up their own business. 
In Serbia too, GIZ is supporting the Serbian education ministry with its efforts to continue lessons while schools are closed. In Belgrade and Subotica, two classrooms have been turned into film studios with GIZ’s support. Here, in-company trainers and vocational teachers now record lesson units in Serbian and Hungarian. The rooms can also be used to record general school lessons and are equipped with new interactive whiteboards, projectors and interactive screens. Trainees and students can download the units from the state-run e-learning platform. The lesson units are also broadcast daily on national television for the benefit of trainees that do not have access to the internet. 

The teachers' new skills and technical equipment allow teaching to continue even amid the coronavirus pandemic, and this is also set to continue in the long term to support innovative teaching and learning.

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