TVET is defined by UNESCO as “those aspects of the educational process involving, in addition to general education, the study of technologies and related sciences and the acquisition of practical skills, attitudes, understanding and knowledge relating to occupation in various sectors of economic life”. TVET thus equips people not only with vocational skills, but with a broad range of knowledge, skills and attitudes that are now recognized as indispensable for meaningful participation in work and life. TVET is also incorporated in SDG4, particularly in Target 4.5 aiming at equal access to vocational training for all including the vulnerable such as minorities, disabled and deprived children and adults. UNESCO thus has been promoting quality vocational training opportunities for all to be productive citizens in their own nations.

UNESCO convened a regional Forum, in Mahe, organized with the Government of Seychelles in March 2016, to address the problem of youth unemployment in the region. The TVET Sub-Regional Forum for Eastern Africa on the theme “Skills for Youth Employment and Entrepreneurship” brought together key stakeholders within the Eastern African region (including ministers from 12 countries) to identify and share potential promising practices and successful innovations in skills development programmes for youth in the region. The Forum participants formulated the following six (6) key recommendations that make up the “Mahe process”, an initiative to strengthen TVET in the region: (i) developing quality assurance mechanisms; (ii) enhancing the quality of TVET teacher training; (iii) strengthening the teaching of entrepreneurship, basic and generic skills in TVET; (iv) facilitating transition to self-employment; (v) developing and strengthening partnerships with the private sector; and (vi) developing and strengthening funding mechanisms for youth enterprise start-ups.

The TVET strategy for the Eastern Africa Region consists of implementing the Mahe Process which seeks to strengthen the TVET systems in the region. As agreed with the countries comprising the region, three areas for system strengthening and building will be addressed by the UNESCO Office for Eastern Africa during the 2018-2019 Biennium: (i) enhancing institutional capacities to promote employment intensive growth; (ii) enhancing youth skills and competencies for employability, entrepreneurship and business creation; and (iii) promoting job creation and enterprise development through public-private and private-private partnerships.

In order to respond to the first recommendation of Mahe Process asking for the development of quality assurance mechanisms and to launch the Process, UNESCO is conducting a regional research on quality assurance of qualification systems in the 13 Eastern African countries with the view to producing guidelines for better quality assurance in TVET qualifications. Methodological workshops were held in most countries of the region in July 2017. A network of experts on quality assurance of qualifications in the sub-region was established for future technical cooperation and peer learning including regarding the production of national reports. National reports are being undertaken in most of these countries and a regional meeting in 2019 will consider the development of a Regional Quality Framework for TVET qualifications based on these reports.

One important project that will facilitate the implementation of TVET strategy in Eastern Africa is the BEAR II project , supported by South Korea (US$10 million). The project covers five countries (Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Tanzania and Uganda) out of the 13 countries that comprise the region.

Related Links:


The Mahe Process on the roll, Eastern Africa is uniting to strengthen its TVET systems

Regional Methodological Workshop on the Research Framework on Quality Assurance of TVET Qualifications in Eastern Africa

Validation workshops in five Eastern African countries for "Better Education for Africa's Rise" (BEAR II) project


UNESCO Une meilleure éducation pour l'essor de l'Afrique II, Promouvoir et transformer l'EFTP en Afrique de l'Est

UNESCO Better Education for Africa's Rise II: Promoting and Transforming TVET in Eastern Africa

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