UN agencies join forces to better support TVET in West Africa
The process of revitalizing technical and vocational education and trainig (TVET) continues in West Africa. This week a team of UN agencies and national experts will look into the question of implementing qualifications frameworks at regional and national levels.
"The objective is to harmonize qualifications within countries and across the region," says Ann Therese Ndong-Jatta, Director of UNESCO’s Regional Office in Dakar.
The UN team which is better known by its acronym IATT (Inter Agency Task Team) will meet in Dakar, Senegal from 03-04 May 2012 at the premises of the African Development Bank.
The Task Team was established in 2010 and is composed of some ten partner organizations including the International Labour Organization, UNDP, UNESCO and the African Development Bank.
The main objective is to revitalize TVET which for years suffered disastrous marginalization in national education systems. Meanwhile, across West Africa, millions of young people leave primary and secondary education without the knowledge and skills necessary to integrate the world of work.
Source of instability
"Governments increasingly recognize that the lack of opportunities for young people is a source of social and political instability, not to mention the challenges it causes in families," adds Huot-Marchand.
In 2009, the Ministers in charge of TVET in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) included TVET among the five priorities in the field of education.
The Abuja process
This resulted in the establishment of IATT, set up to support the fifteen ECOWAS member states in developing a vision of regional integration. This is now known as the “Abuja process”, named after the Nigerian capital in which the 2009 meeting took place
The IATT regularly consults with ECOWAS. In April 2011, for example, a meeting validated a roadmap for the implementation of the ECOWAS action plan on TVET.
"An important part of this plan involves the implementation of qualifications frameworks, the theme of this week's meeting," says Huot-Marchand.
More funds needed
A document has been prepared to inform this week's discussions. The aim is to agree on a final version of this document to be presented to governments at high level in the ECOWAS zone.
But this is not enough.
"We will also ask participants to develop a strategy to mobilize funds that will allow countries to actually implement activities such as the harmonization of qualifications,"says Hervé Huot-Marchand, responsible for TVET at UNESCO's Regional Office in Dakar.