Adopting a Clear Vision
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. A major challenge for countries in this phase is to build up and strengthen their own capacities to formulate reform policies, not just capacities to implement policies supported by donors.
Progress has been made in creating specific training authorities charged with the central role in national skills development, such as the Botswana Training Authority, and the Vocational Education and Training Authority in Tanzania. Yet, in many cases, it remains difficult to identify the leading institution. In Tanzania for instance, it is not clear how the Ministry of Education and Vocational Training interacts with the Vocational Education and Training Authority. In other cases, the competent ministry, or the training authority, lacks responsibility in decision making or control over resources allocation, in other cases the institutional/technical capacity is low. Without a capable institution to take the action plan forward, implementation may be challenging. To respond to the changing skill needs of the economy, and to be proactive in regard to technological and industrial change, national authorities need to be more independent from line ministries. Reforms of vocational education and training are successful and sustainable if policy development, formulation and implementation are firmly based on broad ownership and if one institution is entrusted with a clear mandate and authority over resources.