Developing Technical & Vocational Skills in Africa
Political will, vision and leadership at the highest level are necessary conditions for formulating and implementing TVSD policies. Many reforms started with repositioning TVET within the framework of educational reform.
In Ghana, for example, a Presidential Committee on Education was established in 2006, and a Council for TVET bill was passed by Parliament which emphasised the objective of providing people with employable skills, as well as training driven by industry needs and entrepreneurship. The function of the council is to co-ordinate technical and vocational skills provision across the formal and informal arenas and to harmonise skill strategies across ministries. Senegal provides a similar example. The majority of African countries engaged in reform have formulated or are in the process of preparing a sectoral policy and an action plan for TVSD which summarise the objectives, and aligns the plan with available human and financial resources.
Despite the importance given to TVSD by many governments, the training system in Africa is largely underfinanced. Generally, the provision of technical and vocational skills and especially formal TVET is expensive, since facilities, material, equipment and maintenance costs are high.
On average, only about 2 to 6 per cent of educational budgets are devoted to TVSD, and in many countries, it is mainly channelled toward formal TVET. Limited public-sector budgets have seriously constrained the ability of governments to provide adequate and stable funding to public sector training institutions. In parallel, training budgets are accorded little priority in many enterprises, resulting in under-training by firms.