Reinforcing Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET)

Globalization, technological advance, demographic pressure, social inequalities and the quest for sustainable development are creating rising demand for TVET policies and programmes that respond to labour market demands, support youth transitions between education and the world of work, and promote poverty reduction, social inclusion and gender equality. UNESCO's strategy for TVET in Africa integrates policy experience, monitoring and evaluation, research, international dialogue and partnership.

Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) is an important tool of public policy as it supports economic growth and poverty alleviation, facilitates the transition of young people to decent work and adulthood and promotes social inclusion (UNESCO, 2013). A study by UNESCO (2013) maintains that almost all countries in the Southern African region have at least begun developing TVET National Qualifications Framework and there is also commitment to developing a regional framework.

The TVET workshop held in Zimbabwe in 2015 acknowledged that the nine countries covered by the UNESCO ROSA have infused TVET with broad social objectives, including solving youth unemployment, relieving demographic pressure on higher education institutions by imparting relevant technical and vocational skills and diverting student aspirations and serving academically less able students. It was further elucidated that a working plan for SADC, the Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP) already functions to improve access, quality, efficiency and relevance of education and training at all levels which aligns with UNESCO activities in TVET. Viewed in this light, TVET is a platform to promote sustainable development and economic empowerment.

 The concept and implications of the initiative “Greening TVET” (GTVET) were widely discussed during the 2013 Regional Forum on TVET in the Southern African Development Community (SADC), and subsequently, UNESCO’s TVET and Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) sections have decided to jointly develop a flagship activity around ESD and TVET launched at the end of DESD Conference in Nagoya, Japan, in 2014.

The UNESCO Regional Office for Southern Africa focuses its efforts towards:

  • TVET Teacher Education
  • Public-Private Partnership
  • Dissemination of innovative practices
  • Capacity building for skills improvement and enhanced employability
  • Increasing information to ESD information in relation to TVET
  • ESD research and project development 

Particular emphasis is given to the inclusion of the concept and objectives of Greening Technical, Vocational Education and Training (GTVET) in existing TVET policies across the region. TVET plays a significant role in the roadmap towards a Green Economy, and has deep-rooted effects on economic, environmental and social sustainability. Key issues around the re-orientation of TVET to Sustainable Development (SD) include legislation, policy and administration; curriculum development; pedagogy; TVET facilities, equipment and materials; TVET Teacher, Instructor and Trainer Education; and Training of Administrators, Managers & Policy Makers. There is a growing importance of staff development, including development of TVET teacher training institutions and systems. The office therefore will assist in supporting National Training Authorities towards improving trainers' education and training frameworks. Further, TVET Management Information System (MIS)will also be given a special focus as in many countries they need strengthening;

The partnership and collaboration with the SADC Secterariat in advancing the TVET agenda in Southern Africa is instrumental in implementing the above indicated activities of the office.

The office will also also seek to reinforce partnerships with other regional communities (such as ASEAN and OECD), for peer learning and exchanges of experiences on critical issues, such as qualification frameworks, as well as apprenticeship schemes.

Through funding from the Republic of Korea, UNESCO also implements the Better Education for Africa's Rise (BEAR) project in the Southern Africa Region. This project aims at implementing sectoral programmes in the selected countries through public and private partnership and improving the knowledge base and capacity of TVET systems to develop evidence-based TVET policies. For more information on this project, click here


 UNESCO (2013) The status of TVET in the SADC region: Assessment and Review of Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) in the Southern African Development Community Region and of the Development of a Regional Strategy for the Revitalization of TVET. Paris: United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization,

 UNESCO (2015) Regional Conferences on Education Post 2015: Outcome Statements. 

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