We should Prioritize Technical Vocational Education and Training

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Illustration: UNESCO 2016 [1] 


Education and training are central to the 2030 Agenda.

The international community has set an ambitious 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. It calls for an integrated approach to development which recognizes that eradicating poverty in all its forms and dimensions. Education and training are central to the achievement of the 2030 Agenda. The vision is to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.

Youth unemployment

One challenge is the rising of youth unemployment.  At least 475  million new jobs need to be created over the next decade to absorb the 73 million youth currently unemployed and the 40 million new annual entrants to the labor market.

Prioritize TVET

According to UNESCO we should prioritize Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET):

  1. TVET can equip youth with the skills required to access the world of work, including skills for self-employment.
  2. TVET can improve responsiveness to changing skill-demands by companies and communities, increase productivity and increase wage levels.
  3. TVET can reduce access barriers to the world of work, for example through work-based learning, and ensure that skills gained are recognized and certified.
  4. TVET can also offer skills development opportunities for low-skilled people who are under- or unemployed, out-of-school youth and individuals not in education, employment, and training.

Mismatch between the supply and demand for skills

One reason for high youth unemployment across the world – and particularly in developing countries – is a growing mismatch between the supply and demand for skills. In most African countries there is an oversupply of social science and business graduates but an undersupply of engineers, scientists, and technicians. Domestic skills shortages mean that countries rely on foreign labor to fill high demand for technically-skilled personnel. [1]

Developing countries can minimise skills mismatches

Developing countries could minimise skills mismatches by placing greater emphasis on TVET. Vocational education tends to result in a faster transition into the workplace, and countries that have it at the core of the curriculum – such as Germany, Switzerland, Austria and the Netherlands – have been successful in maintaining low youth unemployment rates. Yet by contrast few African governments, for example, allocate adequate funding to this. [2][/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_column_text]

The trend

The trend report from ILO (2017) shows the same picture. The report tells among other that Sub-Saharan Africa’s unemployment rate is around 7 percent. However, poor-quality employment  –  rather than unemployment – remains the main labor market challenge. This problem is compounded by rapid population growth, a specifical growth of the working-age population. For example, an additional 12.6 million youth in the region will enter the labor force over the next four years. As such, the region risks forgoing any gains from the potential “demographic dividend” unless sufficient productive opportunities are provided for young people.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”4283″ img_size=”full”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

The lack of productive opportunities

Across most of sub-Saharan Africa, the lack of productive opportunities for youth and adults alike means that 247 million people were in vulnerable employment in 2016, equivalent to around 68 percent of all those with jobs. While a marginal decrease in the rate of vulnerable employment is anticipated over the next two years, due to growth in the working-age population, the number of people in vulnerable forms of employment is expected to increase by 14.6 million. The outlook is particularly challenging for women, who are more likely to be in vulnerable employment, largely as contributing family workers. The share of female workers categorized as contributing family workers, at 30.6 percent, is more than twice the rate for their male counterparts, at 14.0 percent, with women additionally over-represented in informal non-agricultural employment.[3]

Green economies and climate resilient societies

Across all development sectors, there are tremendous and dynamic skills needs. Each country will need to set context-specific approaches and priorities to ensure a sustainable national development path. However, climate change represents an urgent and potentially irreversible threat. Therefore, there should be a priority for the transition to green economies and climate resilient societies.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1509831986340{margin-top: 100px !important;}”]Sources:

  1. Strategy for Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET), (2016-2021); UNESCO 2016
  2. Gita Subrahmanyam in The Guardian, Wednesday 15 January 2014
  3. World Employment and Social Outlook: Trends 2017,  International Labour Organization 2017


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