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Lucubrate Magazine, Issue 31, July 6th, 2018
Different international organizations like ILO, UNESCO, EU, British Council are pointing out areas for improvement of the Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET). In this article, we will follow up on that kind of recommendation. We will look into the UNESCO’s recommendation concerning TVET from 2016 and find that the recommendations are pointing towards quality development.
Recommendation concerning Technical and Vocational Education and Training
The UNESCO’s recommendation concerning Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) provides guidance on five important areas
- policies and governance
- quality and relevance
- monitoring and evaluation
- research and knowledge management
- international co-operation.
It calls for an integrated approach to education and training which can provide people with a broad spectrum of knowledge, skills, and competencies for work and for life and empower them to contribute to the transition towards sustainable development. 
UNESCO writes that this new instrument will serve as a useful point of reference for decision-makers, education practitioners, social partners and civil society as they seek to transform TVET systems for their populations and promote employment. With its holistic approach to TVET reform, it is also fully in line with Sustainable Development Goal 4, namely to “ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all”.
We will look at those recommendations and follow them up with the new recommendation from other organization.
Policies and Governance
A policy is a statement of intent and is implemented as a procedure or protocol. Policies are generally adopted by a governance body within an organization. Policies can assist in both subjective and objective decision making.
Governance is all of the processes of governing, whether undertaken by a government, a market or a network, over a social system and whether through the laws, norms, power or language of an organized society. In our context, we mainly use governance related to the government.
In a document published by the British Council, we can find the recommendation on TEVET governance . The British Council is the United Kingdom’s international organization for educational opportunities and cultural relations. The recommendations are built on knowledge from a survey. The recommendations may be useful for many countries.
Devolved TVET governance with decision-making located at the most appropriate levels should lead to a number of significant enhancements. The document gives seven key recommendations for policymakers:
- Help TVET leaders to take advantage of the increasing devolution of TVET governance
- Help TVET leaders to prepare for greater institutional autonomy
- Support TVET leaders with greater freedoms around funding
- Provide leadership training and support to help TVET leaders (and their stakeholders and Boards) to be responsive to local needs
- Provide both incentives and practical support for better partnership working at local and regional levels
- Enhance the provision of information on the labor market and on the impacts of TVET delivery
- If seeking to support greater autonomy there is a need to boost financial and staffing autonomy.
Quality and Relevance
In manufacturing, a measure of excellence or a state of being free from defects, deficiencies and significant variations. It is brought about by a strict and consistent commitment to certain standards that achieve uniformity of a product in order to satisfy a specific customer or user requirements.
Quality is about making organizations perform for their stakeholders – from improving products, services, systems, and processes, to making sure that the whole organization is fit and effective.
The TVET institutions need to flexibly meet the market needs and the needs of the poorer and disadvantaged groups. A quality-assurance system should be introduced in TVET. Qualifications and curricula should be reviewed and new ones for new skills should be proposed to become demand-driven, modular and competence-based enabling the industry to benefit from better-trained graduates, while regular students and underprivileged groups, such school drop-outs, and low-literate women should get access to recognized skills training. The following can be a part of this component:
- Developed Qualifications Framework
- Developed or revised skills standards for occupations in selected economic sectors
- Developed courses and curricula based on the skills standards
- An enhanced quality-assurance mechanism in TVET
Monitoring and Evaluation
Monitoring is a continuing collection and analysis of data of an ongoing development intervention. Its aim is to provide indications of the extent of progress and achievement. It should cover activities, outputs, the use of funds, indications regarding the achievement of the objectives, and some indications regarding unexpected effects or changes in the environment of the development intervention.
Evaluation is the assessment of an ongoing or completed development intervention. It should cover the rationale, design, implementation, and results of the intervention. Evaluations should be as systematic and objective as possible. The aim is to determine the relevance and fulfillment of objectives, development efficiency, effectiveness, impact, and sustainability.
Photo: Christina Morillo
In a guide for practitioners, we can find a list of purposes for monitoring and evaluation . This list is not a complete list. However, the list can give us some indications on why monitoring and evaluation is a good idea. Monitoring and evaluating policies, projects and any other kinds of interventions serve several purposes:
- Steering: by keeping track of what is being done, checking whether progress is being made with regard to pre-established objectives and – if necessary – proposing measures for improvement
- Accountability: by providing empirical evidence of the effectiveness of an intervention to legitimate it; by assessing the performance of different actors involved in an intervention and thus making them accountable to each other and the wider public
- Learning: by drawing lessons from experience to continuously improve the relevance, effectiveness, efficiency, impact, and sustainability of our work
- Organisational development: by appropriately involving all members of an organization in the M&E process and sharing the responsibility for M&E and the lessons to be learned from it.
Communication: by providing numbers, facts and ‘stories’ that help explain what we do and how we are contributing to achieving certain development goals.
Photo: Noelle Otto
Research and Knowledge Management
Research is the systematic investigation into and study of materials and sources in order to establish facts and reach new conclusions.
Knowledge can be looked upon as full utilization of available information and data on ideas, concepts, experiences, insights, relationships etc. for the development of TVET.
Knowledge management is a discipline that promotes an integrated approach to identifying, capturing, evaluating, retrieving, and sharing all of an enterprise’s information assets. These assets may include databases, documents, policies, procedures, and previously un-captured expertise and experience in individual workers. Knowledge Management is the process of capturing, distributing, and effectively using knowledge. 
With this in mind, in the modern organization, it’s essential to ensure that this integrated approach is taken if it’s to maintain an agile, productive and innovative working environment. Happily, the technology that’s required to do so is now easily assessable, more affordable than ever before and simple to deploy. Databases, documents, policies: all of these are assets that an organization is accustomed to managing. The same can’s always be said about an organization’s employees though and for those that have thus far not seen them as business assets, it’s time to ensure that they do.
There are several reasons why knowledge management is important:
- It ensures all relevant information and resources can be accessed by employees when they need it
- Important knowledge is kept within the business even after employees move on from the business
- It avoids duplicated efforts
- Take advantage of existing expertise
- Standardised processes and procedures for knowledge management
This all leads to faster and more effective decision making and easier collaboration. More importantly, it stimulates innovation and growth. Knowledge management is the tool to efficiently connect those who know with those who need to know. For an institution, knowledge management means to convert personal knowledge to institutional knowledge. For the global community, knowledge management means that knowledge available in countries and international organizations is being converted into globally available knowledge.
Facilitating access to knowledge is crucial for reducing the gaps between developing and industrialized countries. This is increasingly acknowledged by international organizations and development agencies. This brings us to the next issue.
Picture: Artem Bali
An international cooperation between the North and South, as well as between countries of the South can renovate and sustain technical and vocational education and training (TVET). In that co-operation following can be included:
- a need for developing countries to take ownership of the TVET and increase their budget for this sector of education
- efficient coordination, within any given country, of international assistance activities
- enhancing the sharing of intellectual property, including through research and development, for the benefit of learners in all countries and situations
- recognition by all stakeholders, including international financial authorities, of the contribution of technical and vocational education to the maintenance of peace and stability and to the prevention of social dysfunction, and the need to incorporate support for this sector of education in their assistance to recipient countries.
- Different countries can take special measures to make TVET accessible to foreigners.
Picture: PhotoMIX Ltd.
Quality Development in Technical Vocational Education and Training
In this article, we have looked at different recommendations related to the development of the Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET). The support element in the TVET is different aspects related to quality development.
Quality development is a co-production between learners and their learning environment. This means that the educational process can only be influenced and optimized through participation and not steered externally. Quality strategies cannot, therefore, guarantee a high quality of learning processes but rather aim at professionalization of the educational process.
The educational system and the policy can be a tool to improve the quality development or on the other hand, it may be a barrier to getting such a development.
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References UNESCO launches brand new strategy for TVET (2016)  THE ROLE OF INSTITUTIONAL LEADERS TVET GOVERNANCE, British Council MARCH 2018  Monitoring and evaluation for TVET-related development interventions. A guide for practitioners. GIZ 2011  Davenport, Thomas H, Saving IT’s Soul: Human Centered Information Management. Harvard Business Review, March-April (1994)  Spiros Panetsos et al. Quality Development in Education. Springer 2009