Railway Transport College has opened as part of the US Millennium Challenge Fund’s grant compact. The vocational school offers students to attend various dual academic programs.
We have interviewed Manana Moistrapishvili, Railway Transport College quality management officer, about the first students and priorities of the vocational school.
-First of all, why have you decided to found Railway Transport College?
-It is noteworthy that over the past 20 years we face a lack of training courses for professional staff in railway sector and we face natural aging process in this sector. Therefore, by initiative and with the support of JSC Georgian Railway, we have decided to set up Railway Transport College. The mentioned initiative was supported by Ministry of Education and LEPL Georgian Technical University. The project was financed as part of the US Millennium Challenge Fund’s grant compact and today we can call this project – Railway Transport College.
-The profession of railwaymen is one of the oldest professions. According to our information, since foundation of railway, professional staff was trained-prepared at vocational schools. And do we today still need to set up a vocational school?
-In Georgia training of railroad technical staff started in 1878 and this process was tightly interconnected with the production process. Regretfully, as noted, since 1990s this system ruined and specialized educational facilities lost function and the staff’s professional level extremely worsened.
We know that the educational system , which does not follow the labor market requirements, loses function. As a result, the state economy bears losses. Deficit of professional staff hampers a development of companies and after a certain period it becomes necessary to train staff by alternative methods.
-After the Government fostered foundation of similar schools, a lot of vocational schools appeared on the market. What aspects differentiate Railway Transport College from other schools, what are its priorities and privileges?
-First of all, it should be noted that key priority was to ensure academic process on the ground of European experience, which provides ideal methodology. This signifies our objective was to prepare professional technical staff with high public conscience for railway sector. And new professional staff would ensure painless replacement of aged personnel and continuous development of the sector. Thus, this idea of college has collected a strong team of motivated persons, which obtained a grant of 2 291 900 USD from Millennium Challenge Fund. At the same time, Georgian Railway has allocated 1 829 141 USD for the college development.
-The college building construction works have been finished. What equipments have been installed at the vocational school?
– We have provided tireless job to rationally distribute the grant resources, even more so there were a lot of preparatory works to perform. In practice, we have started works from zero: the amortized building was fully rehabilitated, training spaces were arranged and equipped, a railroad was arranged in the college yard for training purposes, a modern simulator for managing locomotives were also installed, as well as alarming system, centralization and blocking training equipment.
-We have learned that you have introduced dual training methodology in the college. How have you selected teachers and what does this method imply?
-We can take pride that our curricula was developed with the assistance of DB E & C, German Railway training center, the partner with best experience in dual training. Training-introductory tour was held in Germany, where teachers, managers and program directors were trained. With the assistance of German partners, examination materials for the college, training-methodological literature and demonstration materials were prepared. Moreover, our staff was trained in labor and health safety issues with our second partner Iowa State University.
– As reported, Railway Transport College has successfully passed authorization. What specific courses does the college offer to students?
-Yes, we have successfully passed authorization and agreed with National Center for Education Quality and approved 4 framework documents at the sectoral board, which comprises 8 key railway professions: third-level professional program for building railroad, third-level professional program for railway monitoring, fourth-level professional program for electricity supply to railway, fourth-level professional program for locomotive driver, fourth-level professional program for wagon fleet, fourth-level professional program for railway transporter, fourth-level professional program for centralization of alarming system and blocking in railroad transport and fourth-level professional program for railway electric train.
-It is interesting, what privileges will the college graduate enjoy?
-Objective of Railway Transport College is to provide guaranteed employment of all graduates. To this end, we will permanently cooperate with Georgian Railway. Our team has ambition to become the region’s best college. Consequently, the management will provide permanent monitoring over academic and management process. Objective of this monitoring is to, based on analysis of supervision results and changes in needs of Georgian Railway, introduce continuous development process, replenish pedagogic resources and enhance material-technical basis.
We also plan to arrange Campus and ensure healthy environment for our students. However, key objective of Railway Transport College is to popularize railway profession and make our modest contribution to Georgian Railway development and strengthening our economy.