Project management in schools: two case studies

Last week, I wrote about the work of the PMI Educational Foundation. PMIEF’s mission is to develop project management skills in teachers and young people, better equipping them for the future. How does it do this?
Two volunteers spoke at the PMI’s EMEA Leadership Institute Meeting, Dublin in 2011, about their involvement with local schools.
The Polish Experience
Photos from the Project Management WorkshopsMagorzata Kuşyk, PMIEF Liaison in Poland for PMI’s Chapter based in Gdansk, spoke about their Project Management At Schools’ project. The Chapter has conducted three pilots using the Project Management Toolkit for Youth.
They had to first translate the Toolkit into Polish. They used the Toolkit as the basis of a 12-hour course in project management. Six lessons each lasting two hours were then taken. The course covered mentoring, materials and templates as well as group exercises. To help students see how the skills they had learned translate into the real world of work, a project manager from a real company was invited to at least one session.
One of the pilots was part of a summer camp for girls at an orphanage. The course was attended by eight girls, ranging in age from 14 to 19. Their task was to organize four hours worth of activities for the 40 girls who participated in the summer camp.
The girls created a work breakdown structure, project charter, schedule, and budget. The teachers, other children, and camp organizers were included in their stakeholder list. They created a communication plan that included daily briefings to all camp members about the progress of the plans. The result was a quiz and some sporting activities.
All this was for the following reason:
To increase awareness about project management in Poland as it is currently low.
To encourage students to use project-management techniques on a daily basis
To encourage students to be productive at school and outside school
To promote the Chapter
To teach volunteers how to manage projects.

The pilot programs were successful, so the Gdansk branch will continue to do it again this year. Now, the plan is to train more teachers and hold more workshops in schools using a train the trainer’ model so that the materials are available to a wider audience. A shorter course is also being developed for 10-13-year-olds.
Schools in Jordan
Dr Hazem Zitoun, President of PMI Jordan Chapter spoke about the work his Chapter is doing to promote project management at schools.
Jordan has a population of 6 million people. There are 1000 PMPs and 200 PMI members. Jordan’s income is a third from people who work outside the country and send it back home. This means that there is little money left for education.
He spoke about Queen Rania’s Madrasati initiative. This initiative is designed to bridge the gap between school and community, transforming schools into community hubs. It aims to improve learning experiences in 500 public schools. They need high-quality learning tools and project management skills to implement this initiative locally.
Summary of the Madrasati Project Jordan Chapter decided to partner with an established initiative because Madrasati already has connections with the education sector and has experience dealing with bureaucracy. Partnering with Madrasati will help build trust and open doors for individual schools to offer project management training sessions.
The Chapter is still far from fully participating. There are many administrative hurdles to overcome. They have presented to the Ministry of Education, and are currently waiting for the outcome. Ministry support is crucial to be able access teachers and use the same “train the trainer” model as Poland.
Both the Jordanian and Polish initiatives