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19 July 2023

World Bank, ILO, UNESCO release study on TVET reforms in developing economies

WorldSkills Champions Trust representative Shweta Ratanpura spoke at the report launch event ahead of World Youth Skills Day.

A new study by the World Bank, the ILO, and UNESCO brings together global knowledge on Technical Vocational and Education Training (TVET) reforms to create guidelines for low and middle-income countries.

The “Building Better Formal TVET Systems: Principles and Practice in Low- and Middle-Income Countries” report is considered the first rigorous global analysis of TVET challenges and reforms in developing economies.

Despite TVET’s potential to curb alarming global youth unemployment rates and promote sustainable development, the report says that TVET systems in many low and middle-income countries are unprepared for the forecasted rise in demand. The report outlines how large skill mismatches between labour market needs are derived from globalization, technological progress, demographic transformation, and climate change.

TVET systems often underperform due to difficulties facing learners, unsupported teachers, and weak incentives for training providers. Based on lessons learned from TVET reforms and the COVID-19 pandemic, the report offers three fundamental transformations to create better TVET systems.

It encourages TVET providers to move “from striving for recognition, to striving for excellence,” and suggests providers take a client-oriented approach towards both enterprises and learners, prioritize foundational skills, and impart relevant technical skills, and promote an integrated ecosystem that allows flexibility, fosters quality, and engages teachers.

The report also recommends a focus on end results, which translates into strengthening the government’s role in quality assurance, empowering enterprises and learners to use their client power, and realigning TVET funding to reward reforms and results. Finally, it calls for governments to increase data collection so that decisions and systemic reforms are driven by evidence.

WorldSkills Champions Trust takes part in report’s launch

Launched on 12 July through a virtual event – “Building Better Formal TVET Systems” – aligned with celebrations around World Youth Skills Day.

The report was published live by the World Bank Vice President for Human Development, the ILO Assistant Director General for Jobs and Social Protection, the UNESCO Assistant Director General for Education, and representatives from government, TVET institutions, and youth.

It was then followed by a presentation of the key messages, and a panel discussion under the title “Lessons on TVET reforms in L/MICs.” WorldSkills Champions Trust representative for Asia, Shweta Ratanpura, from India, participated in the panel alongside policymakers from Ecuador, Ethiopia, and the Philippines.

Shweta shared her experience in pursuing a TVET career in India. While explaining how TVET is perceived as a second-tier track, along with societal and gender biases, she stressed the need for more awareness of the career opportunities, pay scales, and work conditions in TVET careers. This information, she said, is scarce and hard to obtain.

“Enrolling in extracurricular courses and external classes helped me build my skill over the years. That’s why I think it’s important that vocational training is included in the education system early on. If it’s part of the system more and more people would be encouraged to do the same,” she said as she highlighted the effect of role models to engage more women in TVET.

“In short, the most important takeaway is to bring change. Whether as a student, or as a parent, educator, or policymaker, we all hold the power to contribute to raising awareness, countering biases, and strengthening our education system,” she concluded.

A recording of the event and related information is available on the World Bank’s official event page.

Download the full report “Building Better Formal TVET Systems: Principles and Practice in Low- and Middle-Income Countries”. It will be available in French and Spanish in the near future.