TECHNICAL EDUCATION – CINDERELLA IN A TECHNOLOGY-BASED SOCIETY?
Constantine the Philosopher University in Nitra (SLOVAKIA)
From the development point of view the present-day society has been characterised as an information one or as a knowledge-based society. The information society is defined as a one with a high level of information intensity in the everyday life of most citizens, in most organisations and workplaces. The knowledge-based society is defined as a one which generates, processes, shares and makes available to all its members knowledge that is used to improve conditions of the human`s life. A common feature for both these societies is the key role the ICTs play in them in all spheres, whether it is production, economy, education, culture, etc. Globalisation and new information and communication capabilities create a platform for further sustainable consumption and development. The capacity for information transformation into knowledge is represented by the ability to convert available information into scientific and technological values used in everyday life. In this respect technology infrastructure is a significant driving force for economic and social development and consequently both of the mentioned societies can be characterised as technology-based societies. In such a society one would expect a great interest in technology, whether on the labour market or at schools. Paradoxically this is not true and technical education becomes a Cinderella within the system of education what is very visible already at primary and secondary schools. Natural science and to technology related school subjects belong to the group of unpopular disciplines, time allocation for their teaching is altogether coming down and also the interest in further study of technology and natural sciences is very low.
Dealing with the above-mentioned problems related to technical education at schools some kinds of research were carried out and the paper will present the main results of them. One research was aimed at identification of the impact of a curricula school reform on teaching technology (school subjects which can be considered to be an integral part of technology education) at schools, assessment of the use of so-called disposable lessons to support technology education, and monitoring of the ways and appropriate conditions for teaching technology at primary and secondary schools. There were two groups of respondents in this research. One group consisted of schoolmasters and the second one of technology teachers. As the research findings showed, only 22 % of the schools support technology education by means of additional lessons. This result is given to the relation to the other findings and results of this research. The other research was aimed at the performance of a technology teacher profession. Personal interviews with a research sample of the technology teachers were focused on possibilities of their further education, barriers and motivation to take part at the further education, ways and teaching materials they use in their practice, their satisfaction with the content of the State educational program. The research showed that the character of technology teaching differs significantly from one school to another one and pointed out also some reasons of it. As the most important result of the research the identified barriers demotivating teachers to participate in offered forms of further education can be appointed.