Technical and vocational learning in the spotlight |16 July 2019
Technical and vocational education and training (TVET) is in the spotlight this week as stakeholders meet to develop a framework for quality assurance in the TVET qualifications process across Eastern Africa.
The three-day regional workshop is being conducted by the Ministry of Education and Human Resource Development, in collaboration with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco).
The workshop, which is being held at Savoy Seychelles Resort and Spa, is being attended by representatives from 13 member states under the Unesco Regional Office for Eastern Africa, representatives from international development agencies, as well as local officials from various sectors of government and private organisations.
Over the course of the three-days, delegates will discuss the development of a regional framework for quality assurance of TVET qualifications which will serve for the development of guidelines adapted to regional context and aligned with international trends.
Developing a quality assurance TVET qualifications process is increasingly becoming more important as the Eastern Africa region moves towards greater socio-economic integration and mutual recognition of qualifications and certificates including TVET certificates.
In her address to officially open the workshop, the Minister for Education and Human Resource Development, Jeanne Simeon, highlighted the importance of TVET in enhancing the competencies of youths to enable them to contribute towards the sustainable socio-economic development of Seychelles.
“Indeed, this forum comes at an opportune time for Seychelles as we are in the process of institutionalising a culture of achievement and excellence, so as to better provide for the diversity of needs of all learners within the context of a dynamic national and socio-economic landscape,” she said.
Mrs Simeon made reference to the Unesco Education 2030 Framework of Action and the African Union, the Continental Education Strategy for Africa 2016-2025, the Unesco TVET Strategy 2016-2021 and the Shanghai Consensus, all of which are guiding Seychelles’ efforts to strengthen and continuously improve the image and enhance the quality of TVET and Entrepreneurship Education.
Mrs Simeon also noted that there is a need to change the perceptions of TVET which are often associated with individuals with learning difficulties.
“Our target for education transformation should be for employability rather than merely employment. The gap between the current system of education and the skills required by employers in a fast-globalising world remains a major challenge,” she said.
“We are also mindful of the need to change the mindset regarding the perception of TVET. It is important to recognise and adopt a more holistic approach to TVET as the driving force of the economy in any country. This calls for reinforcement of the existing partnerships between public and private sectors in the context of ‘Education- a shared responsibility’,” Minister Simeon concluded.
Yesterday comprised three sessions and several presentations by representatives of Unesco, member states and other participating organisations.
The focus of the first session was to provide an overview of Unesco’s strategy in relation to TVET as well as a review of the actions taken by the Nairobi Regional Office in the different countries since the last Mahé meeting in 2016. The other two sessions also consisted of presentations aimed at developing a common understanding regarding key concepts related to qualifications and quality assurance and using country reports to develop an outline of a sub-regional framework for quality-assurance of TVET qualifications.
Director of Unesco’s Multi-Sectoral Office in Nairobi for East Africa (Kenya), Anne Therese Nddong-Jatta, also spoke of the importance of TVET being responsive to market needs stating that the curriculum and education system must be developed to be more skills-oriented.
“In that respect, if you look at what is happening in general, we tend to think that TVET is for those who are not capable. That’s the contrary, we want to consider TVET as the pathway to technology, innovation and creativity and therefore from Day 1, young people should be exposed to competencies that are relevant for their future employability. Yes you need knowledge, you need also skills and competencies and attitudes so all of that is important in the workplace. The tendency to say that they are capable or not capable is the result of a system that labels young people and once there is labelling, there is a preferred option which shouldn’t be the case,” said Mrs Nddong-Jatta.
Similarly to Minister Simeon, Mrs Nddong-Jatta emphasised the partnership of the private sector in order to be able to determine the labour market needs and to help young people make choices.
“When you look at it closely, the labour market attracts to a large extent foreign labour and this foreign labour creates a situation which is not always very positive for government. Either the population will rise against the foreign migrant labour or they would be part of the movement to overthrow government. So I believe we should be a little wiser today to expose young people to knowledge and to skills that are relevant based on their talents,” she concluded.
The workshop will continue for a further two days.