The African Development Bank and the Association for the Development of Education in Africa (ADEA) have called for stronger links between technical and vocational education and training and industry to equip young people with the skills they need to boost technological advancement, trade and growth in Africa.
A Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) sector Scoping Study Workshop, financed through the Bank’s Japan Trust Fund, drew more than 50 delegates from 13 African countries, representing international organizations, academia and the private sector, to the Bank’s headquarters.
The continent has made substantial progress in economic development. However, skills mismatch, weak industry linkages, resource constraints, and poor implementation of policies are making it difficult to sufficiently respond to the current and future industry needs.
“Quality skills development for youth employability will help Africa leapfrog and accelerate its path towards inclusive and sustainable development,” the Bank’s Acting Director for Human Capital, Youth and Skills Development, Pierre-Justin Kouka, told participants during the opening session.
The workshop’s main objective was to share the findings of a TVET scoping study that researched the TVET landscape in Africa and its linkages with the private sector. Organizers also set the stage to discuss the design of a TVET mapping study with the aim of providing an evidence-based picture of TVET in Africa and its links with industry to guide interventions and investments by the African Development Bank and other stakeholders.
Workshop attendees emphasized the need for targeted investments in skills and training, with proper alignment to Africa’s priority areas of development. They agreed that more in-depth study was needed to help ensure holistic and well-informed interventions.
“The findings of the preliminary scoping study show that there are gaps in skills development for employability in Africa. A number of studies have been undertaken in the past; however, there is a need to dive deep into the TVET ecosystem and derive evidence-based priority areas of skills development,” Hendrina C. Doroba, the Bank’s Manager for the Education and Skills Development Division, said during the workshop.
The experts agreed there was an urgent need for appropriate investments in technical and vocational skills, given Africa’s growing youth population. They also said appropriate tools need to be designed for the in-depth TVET mapping exercise.
Sharing ADEA’s scope of work in the TVET sector, Mr. Shem Bodo, ADEA’s Senior Programs Officer, said there is a need for innovative financing schemes to strengthen technical and vocational skills development systems for sustainable socio-economic growth in Africa.
The workshop participants agreed on steps for collaboration in the TVET mapping study and for contributing to the mapping framework. Participants also called for active stakeholder participation and partnership in the process.
ADEA is a key network of education ministries. It plays a significant role in the education space as a convener, knowledge creator and forum for policy dialogue, working through its Inter-Country Quality Nodes and the Task Force on Education Management and Policy Support.