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Core element of the Dual Apprenticeship System is the combination of practical training in companies (training on the job), and theoretical, yet practice-oriented lessons in vocational schools. The training master plan determining the practical trainings and the curriculum governing the lessons in the vocational school are harmonized, hence the trainees acquire theoretical knowledge and practical skills in one particular field or subject in a company and in-class alike.
Since the year 2020, the Association of Microfinance Institutions in Burundi (RIM) and Sparkassenstiftung have made the development of a dual system training program for Burundi’s microfinance sector a priority within their cooperation. A decisive commitment was marked during the information workshop for members of the microfinance sector in Burundi which took place in Gitega in January 2020. As a result, members of the sector agreed on the next steps of setting up the Dual Apprenticeship System Programme in Burundi.
An exchange done together with all stakeholders for the Dual Apprenticeship System in Rwanda allowed the Burundian team to understand the dual system approach in greater depth. Members of the sector saw a use case for the existing modules in Rwanda and decided to adapt them to the Burundian context. The team of expert evaluators of modules for the academy will be extended with additional staff to facilitate this work in the upcoming months.
RIM (Réseau des Institutions de Microfinance au Burundi) in partnership with Sparkassenstiftung plan on starting the program within 2021. In the meantime, short modular training courses are offered periodically to members of the sector by the RIM (Réseau des Institutions de Microfinance au Burundi) Academy of Microfinance.
The Dual Apprenticeship System is a combination of workplace learning and supplementary vocational instruction. Its competence-based curriculum covers learnings from several microfinance institution (MFI) departments: Cashiering, loans, finance and accounting, marketing and internal audit. The objectives of the 12 months professional training program are to develop practical working skills and employability skills of young adults, close existing skill gaps within the sector and to reduce youth unemployment to ultimately enhance professionalism within microfinance institutions and improve the microfinance sector performance. The Dual Apprenticeship System strongly focuses on practical training and skills application: all apprentices spend one day per week at the training academy (20% of the overall training period) and immediately apply their learnings in their respective MFIs during the rest of the week (80% of the overall training period). In Rwanda, the Dual Apprenticeship System in the microfinance sector officially started in 2017, and is currently implemented by the Association of Microfinance Institutions in Rwanda (AMIR), the Rwanda Institute of Cooperatives, Entrepreneurship and Microfinance (RICEM), Rwanda Development Board (RDB) and through the support of Sparkassenstiftung.
Sparkassenstiftung in Tanzania supports its partner organisations to transfer the German Dual Vocational Training Approach to the Tanzanian Finance sector by developing the Dual Study program “BA in Microfinance”
In the upcoming months a survey will be undertaken to allocate the demand on academic staff in SACCOS, especially related to microfinance. After that, strategic partnerships with one or more universities, SACCOs, related associations and governmental bodies will be founded. A fundraising structure will be developed and proposals for supporting the complex infrastructure and staff training demands for the Dual Study Program will be submitted to diverse donors.
Together with an international consortium of experts, the curriculum for the “BA Microfinance Expert” will be developed. Additionally, preparing the study environment for the regional spread study locations inclusive the preparation of teaching / training staff and supervising staff inside the SACCOs is important for the success of the projcet.
After recruiting the first intake, undertaking monitoring and evaluations during the first “test run” of the Dual Study program, a strategic plan will be developed to spread and further improve the Dual Study Programme in Tanzania´s microfinance sector.
Also, national and international accreditation and international partnership structure for student and staff exchange. are future perspectives in the professionalization of the Dual Study Programme.
The time horizon to complete all objectives is set to a duration of 4 to 6 years.
The Dual Apprenticeship System in Uganda is still in its initial stage. However, several milestones have already been achieved in this regard. All partners are very excited and ready for the roll out of the Dual Apprenticeship System for the Microfinance Sector in Uganda. The milestones can be summarized as the following:
Uganda Co-operatives of Savings and Credit union (UCSCU) Training Academy has been set up with the support of Sparkassenstiftung to prepare for the roll out of the training programs
UCSCU vocational & commercial training modules have been developed to prepare for the operationalization of the academy
High level meetings with the Association of Microfinance Institutions of Uganda (AMFIU) and member microfinance institutions were held to introduce the Dual Apprenticeship System concept to partners which was highly welcomed
A Microfinance Apprenticeship Program named “MAP” was agreed to be the pilot training program for the microfinance sector
Modular and flexible training modules have been developed for the “MAP” with relevant technical content to support a more practical and relevant theoretical training.