Regional Technical and Vocational Education and Training Teacher Training and Greening TVET Forum opens in Lilongwe
The Southern Africa Regional Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Teacher Training and Greening TVET Forum opened in Lilongwe, Malawi on 10th April 2017.
73 delegates, mainly government representatives, private sector, academics and TVET experts from the nine countries covered by the UNESCO Regional Office for Southern Africa (Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe) are in attendance. Experts from UNESCO Headquarters in Paris, France and UNEVOC Centre in Bonn, Germany are also participating in the Forum.
Officially opening the Forum, Malawi’s Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Labour, Youth, Sports and Manpower Planning, Mr. Luckie Kanyamula Sikwese stressed that Technical, Entrepreneurial and Vocational Education and Training (TEVET) teachers are key to skills development in all countries.
“Today, in many countries, private sector is complaining that TEVET institutions are producing artisans who are irrelevant to them. One may want to know the cause of this mismatch. It is obvious that there could be a number of reasons, however quality and quantity of teachers available in the institutions also play a crucial role in this equation,” he said.
The Principal Secretary saluted the Forum organisers for having tabled a discussion on Greening TVET.
“It is a known fact that environmental changes are negatively affecting all of us. It is therefore, prudent that we all need to take care of the environment if we are to avert catastrophes caused by environmental degradation,” he added.
Speaking at the same event, UNESCO Regional Office for Southern Africa Director and Representative, Professor Hubert Gijzen reminded the participants that “the Forum on TVET Teachers was being held in the second year of implementing the new global agenda, the 2030 Agenda for Global Action and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which represent the most ambitious and comprehensive commitment the international community has ever made to achieve 3 extraordinary things in the next 14 years: to end extreme poverty; to fight inequality and injustice; and, to protect our planet”. In Africa, this agenda he said, is further guided by the visionary AU Agenda 2063 and its aspirations.
Professor Gijzen said the focus on skills and TVET is of strategic importance because skills are vital for poverty reduction; for private sector development; for job creation, and self-employment; among other benefits.
He reminded the meeting that the Africa Union adopted the theme “Harnessing the Demographic Dividend through investments in Youth” for 2017 so as to address issues of youth unemployment and skills development.
Prof Gijzen bemoaned low TVET enrolment rates in the region, particularly for girls and young women. He said there is need for stronger TVET policies and systems; improved quality of TVET programmes, and therefore investing in quality teacher training.
Three publications have been launched at the forum. The first publication is on the TVET Forum held from 5-6 December 2016, the second one on Guidance and Counselling in Malawi schools and the last one is the UNESCO-UNEVOC global tool on Greening Skills.
The Forum is being held within the framework of the Skills and Technical Education Programme (STEP) managed by UNESCO and funded by the European Union (EU).
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