Five African countries including Uganda are set to benefit from the second phase of a United Nations project which seeks to strengthen national technical and vocational education and training, TVET, systems and boost youth employment.
The project dubbed Better Education for Africa’s Rise (BEAR) to be officially launched end of November is being spearheaded by UNESCO, and its beneficiaries include Uganda, Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar and Tanzania. The countries, according to reports, have been organizing validation workshops to conclude the planning phase at country level, and agree on concrete actions to strengthen the national TVET systems.
The workshops attracted UNESCO experts, representatives from ministries, TVET authorities and institutions, vocational training centres and enterprises to agree on how to achieve relevance, quality and improved perceptions of TVET.
According to a statement from UNESCO, the project will address specific interventions for TVET in a chosen sector.
“Interventions will focus on specific sectors that are carefully chosen in each of the beneficiary countries for their potential to create formal jobs,” part of the statement reads.
The project supports efforts in updating curricula, training teaching staff and engaging employers and enterprises to help create more effective TVET systems which will be linked to global efforts for implementing the UN’s Education 2030 Agenda, the Continental Education Strategy for Africa 2016-2025, and the UNESCO TVET Strategy 2016-2021.
Borhene Chakroun, UNESCO’s head of the Section of Youth, Literacy and Skills Development, said : “The overall objective of the BEAR project is to support national authorities together with the private sector through capacity building efforts to improve the relevance, quality and perception of TVET.”
Chakroun said the focus on TVET relates to the capacity to equip young people and adults with the skills required for employment, decent work, entrepreneurship and lifelong learning.
“The common issue identified in BEAR countries is that of a mismatch of skills supply and labour market demands, in addition to a general lack of demand for technical and vocational programmes among the youth,” he said.
In this regard, the BEAR project identifies the key need to improve the relevance, quality and perception of TVET in select beneficiary countries through specific sector interventions over a period of five years.
Chakroun noted that the major activities planned include in-depth labour market analyses for the chosen sectors, the development of updated curricula serving labour market needs, training of TVET trainers, development of career guidance structures and organising skills competitions at national levels.
The BEAR project, according to Chakroun, will be implemented in the beneficiary countries over a period of five years from 2017-21 in three phases: formulation phase (2017); inception and implementation phase (2017-20); and closure and scale-up (2020-21). At this stage, he said, we are nearing the end of the formulation phase.