Scientific, Technical and Vocational Education
Worldwide Action in Education


  • Scientific and Technological Literacy
  • Science and Technology - Project 2000+ Education for All
  • Technical and Vocational Education
  • UNEVOC - Involving the "Wider Civil Society"
  • Information Technologies and Modernization of the Curriculum

  • Scientific and Technological Literacy

    In today's increasingly technological society, sustainable development and an improved quality of life are to a large extent dependent on our ability to understand and utilize science and technology responsibly, respecting ethical values and protecting the systems on which life itself depends. Hence, UNESCO is placing strong emphasis on science and technology education as an essential component of basic education, paying special attention to the promotion of scientific and technological literacy for all in both formal and non-formal settings. The thrust of the programme is to ensure that every individual acquires an understanding of those aspects of science and technology which are essential for a full life in any particular social, economic, political, cultural and natural environment. This thrust is put into effect by Project 2000+, initiated as a follow-up to the World Conference on Education for All, but which also responds to the concerns expressed by the Earth Summit held in 1992 in Rio de Janeiro.

    Programme actions pursued in co-operation with other agencies and non-governmental organizations include, inter alia, the organization of regional and sub-regional training and development workshops for specialist groups, expanding the data bank of innovations in science and technology, including the use of informatics in science, technology and mathematics teaching, supporting the development of national task forces in science and technology education, and promoting greater participation by girls and women in school science programmes.

    These activities are being backed up by strengthening networks for exchanges of curricula and resource materials for science and technology education, including informatics. The International Network for Information in Science and Technology Education (INISTE) continues to be used to strengthen co-operation among various associations and institutions, and is improving its services to Member States through its emphasis on information exchanges and development of data bases.

    Science and Technology
    Project 2000+ Education for All

    Project 2000+ seeks to:

  • clearly identify ways of promoting the development of scientific and technological literacy for all;
  • put forward educational programmes (both formal and non-formal) in such a way as to empower all people to satisfy their basic needs and be productive in an increasingly technological society;
  • provide guidelines for the continuous professional development of educators;
  • support the development of a wide range of projects that aim to improve the quality of life and productivity in society.

    Project 2000+ is about effective learning. Old methods of putting forward facts are inadequate in the computer age. It is about educating for the future and about promoting human development, about relevant plus affordable science and technology. Project 2000+ is for all countries at all stages of development, regardless of different cultures and differing views on issues such as sustainable development, population control and the role of women.

    Project 2000+ addresses six major areas of educational concern for scientific and technological literacy:

    1. Its nature and justification;
    2. Its relationship to development;
    3. The teaching and learning environment;
    4. Teacher and leadership education;
    5. Assessment strategies and evaluation programmes;
    6. Non-formal and informal development strategies.

  • Technical and Vocational Education

    In this area, where close co-operation is ensured with ILO, FAO and UNIDO, UNESCO's action has concentrated on building national capacities for the development of general polytechnic, vocational, technician, teacher and instructor training.

    Technical and vocational education is going through a period of intensive change and reorientation. A multiplicity of national models, forms and structures have emerged in an effort to cope with rapid technological advances and the changing needs of the labour market. Nevertheless, the need for closer collaboration between education and the world of work has yet to be fully recognized. Effective liaison with industry, agriculture and business enterprises should be further developed.

    The application of new technologies by the world of work is a major challenge for the whole education system, and for technical and vocational education in particular. Curricula now emphasize multi-skilling, interfacing education and productive enterprises, entrepreneurship and continuing education. Further, courses on offer need to be adjusted frequently to cater for innovations and changes in work requirements.

    Involving the "Wider Civil Society"

    UNESCO launched in 1992 a new International Project on Technical and Vocational Education. The UNEVOC project is designed to create more effective working relationships between UNESCO and such UN specialized agencies as ILO, regional organizations, NGOs, public and private funding sources and, last but certainly not least, the private business community. A project implementation Unit has been established in Berlin (Germany). The initial phase, from 1992 to 1995, will be devoted to promoting the exchange of information and experience among the Member States in order to make technical and vocational education better articulated with national education systems. The overall aim of the project is to network policy planners, teacher training and technical institutes, teachers, schools and students throughout the world, in a bid to assist in reducing the gap between North and South in building human resources for development. UNEVOC is an example of new thinking pointing towards the involvement of the "wider civil society".

    Information Technologies and Modernization of the Curriculum

    The increasing use of computers in education is giving rise to far-reaching changes at all levels of teaching, as well as in the quality of training. But while the computer is bound to become an integral component of learning in general, it presupposes a harmonious interaction between hardware, software and teaching personnel development.

    UNESCO supports two International Research Studies: the ITEC project (Information Technology in Education of Children) focuses on the psychological and social consequences for children of the application of information technologies in education, while the USEIT project (Use in Systems of Education of Information Technologies) aims at creating a databank to assist Member States in decision-making and contribute to identifying country's needs.

    A UNESCO seminar held in Moscow in 1991, promoted the development of a mechanism for European co-operation in connection with the introduction and application of IT in existing education systems and structures.

    In an endeavour to introduce the teaching of informatics in science and in technical and vocational education at the secondary and post-secondary levels, regional training seminars are being organized and pilot projects implemented in the developing countries. Based on the experience gained, the book Education and Informatics Worldwide: The State of the Art and Beyond, looks at the current use of information technology in education, and reviews developments to date, basic strategies and applications, current limitations and the prospects for international co-operation.

    INFORMAFRICA - the regional co-operation strategy aimed at developing computer use and introducing computer science into educational systems - is part of the Priority: Africa Programme.

    Previous Page Back to the INDEX Next Page

    edweb @

    Better Education Today for a Better World Tomorrow