The Second International Congress on Technical and Vocational Education is being held to present UNESCO's Member States with a forum to redefine technical and vocational education (TVE)1 policy to address the employment and other socio-economic challenges of the early years of the twenty-first century. The redefinition of TVE policy would take into consideration the technological developments and social phenomena likely to characterize this era, and would involve many sectors of the community as responsible partners in the development of TVE.

The Seoul Congress is expected to generate a set of recommendations on the most relevant and effective directions that TVE would need to take to help people in developed and developing countries to improve their employability and enhance their personal development. While these recommendations are intended to benefit the field of TVE as a whole, they will also form the basis for UNESCO's global strategy in TVE.

The UNESCO Secretariat has developed six themes to guide the discussions. These themes are based on the issues considered likely to have the most immediate relevance to TVE in the early years of the twenty-first century. They were arrived at after extensive consultations with the TVE authorities in UNESCO's Member States, and concerned international organizations, institutions and specialists. A further special theme will review the experience of the Republic of Korea in the field of TVE during the past several decades.

This document, which expands on the six themes of the Congress, is intended to provide the background to the discussions. The information it contains is a synthesis of a series of essays on the topics listed under the six themes, written by experts drawn from TVE institutions, government, universities and the world of work. While this document discusses the major issues likely to confront TVE in the early years of the next century and the innovations that may be needed to address them, it does not claim comprehensive coverage of all aspects of the field. Rather, it attempts to present a variety of views on specific issues in TVE in order to provoke thought and provide cues for debate during the Congress.


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