22.05.2012 - UNESCOPRESS

Building skills for work and life

Transforming technical and vocational education and training

The development of technical and vocational education and training (TVET) should be a top priority in the quest to build inclusive and greener societies and tackle global unemployment, concluded participants at the 3rd UNESCO TVET Congress that ended in Shanghai on 16 May. More than 500 representatives from 117 countries attended the Congress, which looked at ways of transforming TVET to make it more responsive to the needs of 21st century societies.

“Across the world, governments and the private sector are realizing the importance of TVET for sustainable and equitable development. Many new policies have been introduced aimed at improving the image of TVET and, most importantly, enhancing its quality,” said Qian Tang, UNESCO’s Assistant Director General for Education, at the closure of the Congress.

“The financial crisis has sparked a new wave of unemployment. Youth joblessness (…) has skyrocketed in many countries. Although the root of the crisis lies mainly outside the education and training sector, the inadequacy of many TVET systems in responding to these challenges has attracted criticism,” said Mr. Tang.

The participants called for deep transformation and expansion of TVET and identified several areas of action to address these issues. These include enhancing stakeholders participation in governance, improving the relevance of TVET; expanding access to it and improving quality and equity; adapting qualifications and developing pathways to TVET that provide young people with skills that are relevant to the labour market; increasing investment in TVET and diversifying financing; and advocating for TVET  to make it more attractive for learners, families and all other stakeholders.

In their final declaration and in recognition of UNESCO’s leadership role in this domain they called on the Organization to further strengthen its efforts to promote international debate on TVET and ways to transform it, especially through its UNEVOC Network. They also requested the Director-General to further enhance the partnership with other international organizations active in the field and to explore the possibility of setting up an international task force to develop guidelines for recognition of qualifications and quality assurance in TVET.

“A rethinking of the nature and roles of TVET in contributing to more equitable and sustainable patterns of human development is now underway. This rethinking marks a shift in focus from short-term to longer-term development needs, from expansion of systems to their transformation, and from contributing to economic growth to an added concern for social equity” said Yusuf Alide, Executive Director, TEVETA Malawi, and Rapporteur General of the congress.

Hosted by the Chinese Government, the 3rd TVET Congress was organized by UNESCO with support from the International Labour Organization (ILO), the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), The World Health Organization (WHO) and the European Training Foundation (ETF).


More information: http://www.unesco.org/en/tvet/

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