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TVET is understood as comprising education, training and skills development relating to a wide range of occupational fields, production processes, services and livelihoods [1]. As a component of lifelong learning, TVET can take place at secondary, post-secondary and tertiary levels. It includes work-based learning, continuing training and professional development that may lead to qualifications. TVET also includes a wide range of skill-development opportunities attuned to national and local contexts. Learning to learn, the development of literacy and numeracy skills, transversal skills and citizenship skills are integral components of TVET. TVET is associated with training in public and private educational establishments or other forms of formal or informal instruction aimed at providing access to lifelong learning resources to all segments of society.

TVET increasingly focuses on preparing knowledge workers to meet the challenges presented by the transition from the Industrial Age to the Information Age, with its concomitant post-industrial human resource requirements and the changing world of work.

In many countries, distinct systems of TVET and academically-oriented education operate side by side, often with different rules for quality assurance, funding, staffing, credits and qualifications. At the programme level, it is often harder to distinguish between TVET and academic education, as they both employ similar approaches to teaching, with the same generic aims and methods. Thus, the International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED) recognizes that the traditional definitions used for ‘vocational’ and ‘general’ education at European Qualifications Framework levels 1 to 5 may have limitations. ISCED, therefore, suggests that at the tertiary levels of education, a move towards the terminology ‘professionally oriented’ and ‘vocationally oriented’ may be preferable. Nevertheless, ISCED does not currently provide definitions for these terms, explicitly leaving them open to future definition.

For example, a professional programme can be located within an academically oriented institution and vice versa. In fact, programmes such as medicine, which are developed in close collaboration with the profession and involve long and involved internships, include significant numbers of external lecturers, where much research feeds directly into the industry (such as the pharma industry). It is hard to argue that these programmes are not ‘professionally oriented’, despite having been located within universities for centuries.

Within TVET, strategic collaboration between institutions, students and enterprises are considered the core identity of the educational model. Such collaboration is operationalized in the form of technical training for students, scientists’ secondment to companies, joint courses, research chairs and consultations. Other activities can include contract research and development (R&D) and commercialization activities, such as licensing and incubation, investment in start-up companies, knowledge and technology transfers, and taking R&D outputs to market. All are legitimate activities relating to partnerships.

References

[1] The text is from “The Digitization of TVET and Skills Systems” ILO 2020

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Lucubrate Magazine highlights trends in education and development. Development in this context can be technological, educational, individual, social or global, and everything related to education.
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