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Lucubrate Magazine, February 2nd, 2023
Education plays a pivotal role in empowering young people to transform their lives and become positive, contributing citizens in society.
Social and Economic Challenges in Developing Countries
The reality of this message is perhaps even more compelling in less developed countries that may experience unstable governance, deeply entrenched less than scrupulous activity by some in positions of power (read corruption), along with volatile periods of civil unrest not helped by random natural disasters such as earthquakes, tsunamis and flash floods.
These countries often encounter major social, cultural and economic challenges that need to be addressed including not least:
- The preservation of traditional cultural practices by youth who are turning their back on the ‘old’ ways.
- High incidences of malaria and infant mortality.
- Increased rates of alcoholism and illicit drug taking.
- High levels of domestic violence and gender bias.
- Increased urban migration of unskilled youth with accompanying rising unemployment levels and crime linked to youth unemployment.
Educational Challenges in Developing Countries
When it comes to education, unlike many of us who are more concerned about ensuring that our children go to a top school that will support them to get into a top university, in these less developed ‘poor’ countries, parents worry about whether they will have access to a school for their children, that there will be teachers to staff the schools and that the teachers will regularly show up to teach their children.
Where there is access to primary and secondary schooling, the quality of the teaching is largely inferior and resource materials and equipment badly out of date. Even for those who do make it to the end of primary or complete secondary schooling, a large number do not transition to any further education that would help prepare them with skills for the world of work.
TVET is one Critical Factor in Developing Countries
There is much that needs to be done to improve school level education, however, just as important perhaps is education at the other end, that breaks the cycle of unemployment and poverty and helps build the skill base of youth in developing poor countries and so contribute to the social development of the society. Successfully progressing and supporting Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) is one critical means of improving the social and economic future of these countries.
For this to successfully occur, TVET priorities must be effectively reflected in national policies, regulatory frameworks and structural reforms. There must be clear pathways available and known to young people from school to TVET and further study. Both men and women should be encouraged and supported to participate in TVET programs.
TVET programs on offer must be relevant to both youth needs and in meeting market requirements. They must include practical work opportunities and be supported by industry and employers and lead to employment.
Developing TVET can Improve the Social and Economic Future of Developing Countries
There is a great deal of support made available by various international organizations and countries to improve the lot of education in developing countries. It is a difficult struggle to achieve real and sustainable improvement given the social, political, cultural and economic context in some of these countries, but it is important to persevere.
While there is still some way to go before TVET consistently delivers contemporary programs underpinned by work-based experiences that are delivered in engaging ways that prepare highly sought after employees who will have high societal impact it is one fragment of the education sector that must continue to be given proper attention.
Lucubrate Magazine February 2023
The photo on the top of the article: Adobe Stock