Improving the quality of TVSD
In line with international best practices, recent reforms have witnessed a switch from a provider-driven training model, where people received training without the assurance that the training was aligned to an identified need in the labour market, to a demand-driven one45. In Mozambique, South Africa, and Ethiopia (see Box 24) TVSD reforms, for instance, emphasis has been put on designing flexible competency based training programmes46, to adapt to the changing structure and evolution of the demand for competencies in the labour market. In South Africa, the sector education training authorities (SETAs), set up by the 1998 National Development Act, are in charge of preparing skill development plans, aimed at identifying the skill needs of industrial sectors (including skill shortages and gaps), as well as constraints to the effective utilisation of skills in relation of the objectives of the National Skills Development Strategy. All training initiatives in the enterprises, which include learnerships (which combine institution-based learning with workplace-based learning) are competency based, depending therefore on the specific competences required by the world of work. In some other countries (Algeria and Morocco), curricula implementation initiatives are still at an early stage and in some cases not embedded in a wider reform programme (Algeria and Egypt).
In the context of demand-driven systems, many countries, including Botswana, Egypt, Ethiopia, Mauritius, Namibia, South Africa and Tunisia (see Boxes 25 and 26), are developing pilot initiatives which involve establishing new TVET national qualifications frameworks (NQF) with occupational standards for sectors experiencing employment growth and skill shortages. The NQF typically seeks to provide a framework within which all education and training achievements are recognised in the broad perspective of lifelong learning. Design and implementation of NQF differ widely across countries.
Although an NQF is normally tailored to a country’s profile, it is important to link up NQFs with regional frameworks. This process could promote credit transfers, mobility and simplify the recognition of qualification of competences. Ultimately by increasing the portability of technical skills qualifications across national frontiers, TVSD could foster regional integration. Recognising this, the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Conference of Ministers of Education in 2006 requested Member countries to develop as soon as possible national quality assurance and qualification frameworks which will be used as a basis for the development of a SADC sub-regional framework. UNESCO is supporting this programme by assisting SADC Member States to develop national qualifications/quality assurance frameworks.
Promoting demand-driven TVSD is not a sufficient condition to ensure the quality and relevance of training. Complementary policies are needed to improve the qualifications and dedication of teachers. In general, teachers in formal TVET programmes have relatively low formal qualifications; they are poorly remunerated, lack motivation, and suffer from low social status and poor career prospects. In many cases, vocational teachers lack practical skills in the trades that they teach and have difficulties to impart skills that meet the occupational standards. This is the result of a training system that for a long time overemphasised theoretical knowledge at the expense of practical skills. International good practices highlight the need for vocational instructors to be well-qualified as practitioners and certified in the trades that they teach. In addition, close links should be established between TVET and the educational institutions which train vocational teachers in order to adapt the content of teacher training programmes to the needs of TVET. The remuneration levels and the social status of vocational teachers should be on a par with other teachers. Some countries are putting in place a series of incentives, including the provision of housing allowances, allotment of bicycles, or other benefits.