Consultation 2012 – Skills development: enhancing opportunities for the marginalized

The 2012 Education for All Global Monitoring Report will focus on skills development, emphasizing strategies that increase employment opportunities for marginalized groups. This is an important opportunity to address a neglected issue on the Education for All agenda – and to fill a gap in the Global Monitoring Report’s coverage of the goals set at the World Education Forum in Dakar in 2000. The Report will draw lessons from programmes that have succeeded in supporting the development of economically dynamic and socially inclusive societies.

This note (français | español) outlines key themes to be covered in the report.

The consultation is now closed. Many thanks to everyone who has contributed. The responses have been impressively diverse, substantial and interesting – and hard to summarize! Despite this, I have tried to pick out what I saw as some of the major recurring points that came up.


A number of major questions that the GMR needs to address were raised, including:

Relevance and connection with labour markets – The GMR needs to consider how labour markets are changing and how skills development can connect with labour markets. Several respondents called for skills development to be more relevant to local conditions and labour markets, and to be ‘demand-driven’, while others stressed that it should also include life skills, basic literacy, and transferrable skills, taking into account that young people change jobs and migrate.

Access, especially for people from poor households, girls and women, and disabled people.

Cost-effectiveness and finance – skills development is often more expensive than secondary education. Making sure the costs don’t fall too heavily on the learners is a challenge. It could be made more cost-effective, for instance by making greater use of facilities, and there were suggestions of how to finance it, including pay-roll taxes.

• Changing mindsets where TVET is less valued as a career path

• Articulating TVET with other parts of the education system, as well as with employers

• Lack of adequate management information systems, evaluations and research

While several welcomed the focus on the marginalized and emphasized “second-chance” education or the need for skills development to extend to informal and agricultural work, others argued that skills training is more of an issue for those who already have basic education (who are less likely to be the most deprived groups) and for those who have the networks and resources to enable them to get jobs.


45 Responses to “Consultation 2012 – Skills development: enhancing opportunities for the marginalized”

  1. 1 Stuart Cameron (moderator) March 2, 2011 at 17:18

    Swisscontact, the Swiss Foundation for Technical Cooperation, have kindly shared several key documents with us:

    Capability Statements of Swisscontact:

    Vocational Education and Training (VET)
    Non Formal Training (NFT)

    Albania: Concept Coaching Approach
    Bangladesh: Skill Mark Project document
    – Uganda: Presentations Need Assessment and Workers’ PAS January 2011
    Tanzania: Annual Report 2010 (including the training scheme)
    SAF Mali/Niger: Presentation January 2011
    Niger: Annual Report 2010
    El Salvador/Guatemala: Short description 2008

    Swisscontact has more than 50 years experience in supporting Vocational Education and Training (VET) in developing and transition countries. Until the 1980s, Swisscontact projects provided comprehensive support to selected local VET providers. In the early 1990s, projects became more focused, addressing existing bottlenecks in VET systems by training instructors, school managers and curriculum development specialists. Since the late 1990s, Swisscontact has widened its focus further implementing projects that support the reform or expansion of VET systems. Among others this includes in particular an increased emphasis on the link between education/training and employment and marginalized groups.

  2. 2 Laura Montanaro March 2, 2011 at 16:22

    Desde Fundación UOCRA para la educación de los trabajadores constructores de la Unión Obrera de la Construcción de la República Argentina (UOCRA) enviamos nuestras ideas y comentarios basados en nuestras propias experiencias, esperando sean de utilidad para el debate y la posterior publicación del Informe de Seguimiento de la Educación para Todos en el Mundo de 2012.

  3. 3 claire noronha February 25, 2011 at 19:27

    Comment for GMR consultation 2012

    We are in agreement with the comments by Guy Bessette, CIDA and by Thomas Berhards, Don Bosco on the basis of a qualitative study done by CORD (Collaborative Research and Dissemination), as part of the RECOUP research consortium (Research on Outcomes of Education for Poor Communities The study was in 2007 in two districts, one in Rajasthan and one in Madhya Pradesh, India and looked at access, process and outcomes issues relating to training, both formal and informal. The study has thrown up some important issues which we feel should be taken on board for skill development discussions, especially in the context of marginalized and vulnerable communities.

    Access issues
    Inadequacy of available formal training facilities, public and private, and the high cost of some of these together with educational requirement of at least secondary level for specialisations which are valued tends to keep many disadvantaged communities out of the skill net.

    The training mode that dominates is the informal ‘learning by doing’, involving zero or negligible fees and relatively long training periods. The long training period has its own opportunity cost. What is more access to training generally works through kin networks. For dalits (comprising disadvantaged social groups in India who are at the bottom of the societal ladder, both economically and socially) who lack in these informal networks in skilled occupations, both the opportunity cost and the lack of networks work as exclusionary factors particularly in rural areas.
    Informal training appears most rigorous for the traditional crafts but in more contemporary skills such as those of auto mechanics and electricians certification and standards would help industry – and help disadvantaged youth.

    Outcomes issues

    A massive expansion of training facilities is underway in India at present but policymakers must watch out for the following areas:

    a. mapping out skills requirements in the labour market to avoid further saturation of skilled workers.
    b. incentivising job creation since employment opportunities for decent livelihoods in the small formal sector are very limited.
    c. ensuring employment support whether in terms of loans, credit or further training where needed
    d. the research also shows much as Claudio Jacinto and several others have pointed out that there is no use harping on skills training for very low education levels. The best strategy is as he says , is to ‘reinforce incentives for young people to remain in school and to promote the reintegration of dropouts in to the education system’. A minimum of secondary level education appears to be necessary in the Indian context for a sporting chance of a ‘decent livelihood’ if one belongs to a group marginalised on many parameters.

  4. 4 Igor Besson February 25, 2011 at 19:16

    No need to insist here that agriculture is a key sector for employment and livelihoods, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa, with a contribution between 50 to 85% of GDP in many countries. But what about TVET for agricultural and rural populations, a massive part of national populations, but a marginalised one in terms of education and training?

    EFA programmes are crucial but we have to admit that TVET for agricultural and rural populations are almost inexistent. TVET generally concerns between 5 and 10% of the number of students in school and amounts to a budget in similar proportion, therefore about 1% of national budget allocation… Moreover, the role and impact of vocational training of farmers, of women, of girls, is generally not taken into account in national and local development policies although it should be a priority with the prospect of economic development.

    In many countries, TVET does not even provide the minimum of skill competences for basic agricultural professions and business (plant and animal productions, farm management, transformation, commercialisation, credit…). So how, as a second step, could it help governments in strengthening social cohesion and developing rural areas, without neglecting the dimension of fighting against rural exodus?…

    There is an urgent need for reforming the existing agricultural education systems, generally outdated in both term of training objectives and curricula, and in term of needs (systems scaled for a few hundreds or thousands of seats when needs are nowadays in tens or in hundreds of thousand of trained people per year).

    Cameroon or Madagascar are very interesting cases with on-going or starting programmes of large-scale reform in their national agricultural education systems. Generally speaking, political will seems to exist in several countries (Burkina Faso, Senegal, Togo, Benin, Mali, Niger…) aiming at increasing the intake of students in TVET from 10 to 50% during next decade. The cost of such ambitious reforms is not known and their funding is problematical considering the budgetary constraints of global education sector.

    Once agricultural and rural development policies are defined at national level, the urgency is above and before all to build a national strategy for TVET in agriculture with the main stakeholders, especially representatives of farmers and parents.

    The FAR (Agricultural and Rural Vocational Training) Network ( acts with national representatives in 12 countries to raise awareness among decision makers about the issues and conditions required for setting up vocational training for rural populations. It helps initiating and conducting studies, analyses, working groups and workshops to develop and exchange ideas about the issues surrounding vocational training in the rural context. It is as well a network for exchanges of “good practices” and develops the skills of the various actors in charge of reforming and managing education and training systems.

    Igor Besson
    Project Officer, FAR Network , Montpellier SupAgro, France

  5. 5 Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) February 25, 2011 at 16:57

    We welcome very much the report’s distinctive focus on skills development for marginalized youth and adults, with an emphasis on employment and livelihoods. As the recent events in the MENA-Region prove, this is a very timely concern.

    In addition to the issues raised in the “Note on the 2012 Report” GIZ recommends a consideration of the following questions:

    • How can formal and non-formal TVET programs become more relevant?
       –  Are there sufficient research capacities to keep occupational standards and curricula up to date?
       –  Are occupational standards widely accepted among employers? If not, how can this be changed?
       –  How can technology transfer and Know How transfer between the world of work and the world of education and training be accelerated?
       –  How can the quality of apprenticeships (formal and non-formal) be improved?
       –  Are there institutions connecting employers and training providers?
       –  Are teachers, trainers and instructors able to teach what is really needed on the labor market?
       –  Are there institutions able to anticipate future skills needs?
       –  How to solve the constant dilemma between quantity and quality in TVET provision?
       –  How to develop and sustain low-cost quality assurance systems ?

    • How to make TVET more cost-effective?
       –  Workplace-based training programs can reduce the costs of education significantly. To which extend is that happening?
       –  Is the education of TVET teachers, trainers and instructors cost-effective?
       –  How can public TVET institutions become more cost-effective?
       –  Is the budget spent on TVET appropriate?

    • How can the access to TVET programs be increased?
       –  Are national policies focusing on lifelong learning?
       –  How can the informal economy be used to provide training?
       –  Are there mechanisms to recognize skills acquired in the informal sector?
       –  Is the transition from general education to TVET/Skills Development programs addressed appropriately?

    • What should be the respective role of the government, the private sector and civil society in TVET and how can effective TVET programs be sustainably financed?

    • How can a change of mindset in regard to vocational training be stimulated in countries where TVET is still a less valued and less socially appreciated career path?

  6. 6 BMZ February 25, 2011 at 16:41

    Imke Gilmer, BMZ division on eductaion, provided this reaction after a discussion with German stakeholders:

    The German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) very much wel-comes the report’s distinctive focus on skills development for marginalised youth and adults, with its emphasis on employment and livelihoods. As recent events in the MENA-Region prove, this is a very timely concern. In addition to the issues raised in the “Note on the 2012 Report” the BMZ recommends consideration of the following points:

    Germany considers education to be a key strategic area for poverty reduction and social develop-ment and supports educational projects in developing and transforming countries which work to-wards attaining the human right of “Education for All”. For this reason, amongst others, the BMZ is formulating a new education strategy. Our aim is to strengthen entire education systems. In the future we will not only be promoting individual aspects of an education system, but improving and supporting the development of linkages within systems. BMZ therefore would appreciate if the GMR 2012 a) could demonstrate the extent to which skills development is an integral part of an education system; and b) were able to address the transition from general education to TVET/skills development programmes as well as to higher education.

    We know that smart and inclusive growth depends on action throughout the lifelong learning system, designed to develop key competences and quality learning outcomes in line with labour market needs. We consider that this involves extending and broadening learning opportunities for young people in general, as well as supporting the acquisition of skills through non-formal educational activities. BMZ therefore recommends that the GMR 2012 outlines strategies indicating how access to TVET programmes can be increased:

    – Are national policies focusing on lifelong learning?
    – How can the informal economy be used to provide training?
    – Are there mechanisms to recognise skills acquired in the informal sector?

    Even though the private sector is rather weak in a number of countries, its involvement in vocational training is crucial in more ways than one: it ensures the focus of training programmes on those skills needed by the labour market through taking part in professional profile development; it enhances quality through on-the-job training, offering a real work environment using current on-site equipment; it adds credibility to certificates via participation in examinations; and it reduces costs through levy or in-kind contributions. We therefore recommend that the GMR 2012 focuses on examining systemic mechanisms in place to ensure the active involvement of the private sector.

    – What should be the respective roles of the government, private sector and civil society in TVET?

    In this regard, it will be interesting to focus on how formal and non-formal TVET programmes can become more relevant.

    – How can the quality of apprenticeships (formal and non-formal) be improved?
    – Are there institutions linking employers with training providers?
    – Are there institutions able to anticipate future skills needs?
    – Are teachers, trainers and instructors able to teach what is really needed on the labour market?
    – Is there sufficient research capacity to keep occupational standards and curricula up to date?
    – Are occupational standards widely accepted among employers? If not, how can this be realised?
    – How can technology and know-how transfer between the world of work and the world of education and training be accelerated?

    Quality requires financial resources. Quality education in all its forms needs qualified staff, modern approaches, sufficient facilities and a great deal more. The financial burden needs to be borne by all those who benefit: the public, enterprises and individuals. Therefore, BMZ would welcome if the GMR 2012 could address the question of how to make TVET more cost-effective and how effective TVET programmes can be sustainably financed.

    – Work-based training programmes can reduce the costs of education significantly. To what extent is this happening?
    – Is the education of TVET teachers, trainers and instructors cost-effective?
    – How can public TVET institutions be made more cost-effective?
    – Is the budget being spent on TVET appropriate?

    While capacity to steer development in the right direction to implement such policies on a political/ macro level (education system) is important, it is also required at meso and micro levels: Building up educational management capacity within vocational training institutions is a key factor in ensuring that interventions such as curriculum development, teacher training, training programme design, implementation and evaluation have a lasting effect within those institutions. BMZ therefore recommends that the GMR 2012 include randomly selected institutions in its analysis and come forward with recommendations relevant to micro and meso levels.

    As SMEs constitute the backbone of economic growth and development, a highly skilled labour force is indispensable in every country. This contrasts with the situation in many countries, where blue-collar jobs have a poor reputation and academic courses are given priority over vocational training at all costs. The vicious circle of poor quality training, students choosing TVET as a last resort and poor output reinforces this negative image. The de-stigmatisation of TVET and its promotion as a true alternative to academic education is as necessary as improvements to the quality and relevance of TVET itself. BMZ suggests that the GMR 2012 outlines ways in which the reputation of TVET is linked to economic development and how a change of mindset in regard to vocational training can be brought about in countries where TVET is still a socially undervalued career path?

    Development cooperation seeks to monitor its impact. While other sectors can demonstrate empirical results in a shorter time span, education in general takes longer to bear fruit since it is an investment in the future. So far, no internationally accepted indicators to measure the impact of TVET programmes at micro, meso and macro levels have been devised. It would be very interesting to see which indicators the GMR 2012 proposes to use in order to measure impact. Due to the nature of TVET, such indicators need to reflect achievable outcomes in the short, medium and long term.

    For BMZ, vocational education and training is a key strategy to enable individuals to acquire, retain and develop the abilities, skills and attitudes they need to achieve employment and earning power. Key qualifications obtained here allow people to shape their lives and work.

    We are delighted at this opportunity to cooperate with the GMR 2012 team and, where our experience is relevant for the GMR 2012 process, we will be extremely happy to share knowledge, experience and information.

  7. 7 Santosh Mehrotra February 25, 2011 at 16:07

    Dr Santosh Mehrotra, Director-General, Institute of Applied Manpower Research (IAMR), Planning Commission, Government of India. IAMR is the only research institute of the Planning Commission, and is engaged in work on skill development in India for many years. Below we try and answer questions raised in the presentation made by GMR staff in its consultation in early Feb in Paris.

    • How can the GMR make a distinctive contribution?

    GMR would make a contribution if it presents good practices, based on international experience, in addressing the needs of those who work for low wages in the informal sector.Informal employment accounts for 60% of all employment in Latin America, 60% in East Asia and about 70% in South Asia. In Africa that proportion would be even higher. With drop out rates from school education being very high after age 14, this trend towards informal employment is not likely to fall. This makes skills for those in the informal sector, to be provided through the school system, as well as VET outside schools, should be a global prioritity.

    • What types of skills programmes can help to break cycles of disadvantage faced by marginalized young people?

    The focus on the informal sector would automatically result in including the marginalized. No special focus on the latter is necessary.

    • What roles can schools, industry and government play in providing and financing job skills for young people?

    The World Bank has long argued that vocational education in schools is not a good idea; a good secondary education in schools will suffice and that VE is a waste of govt resources. This position is debatable, and should be discussed by a UN agency like UNESCO.

    • When are ‘soft’ skills vs. vocational training most appropriate?

    Always. This is an unhelpful question.

    • How can governments define priorities among alternative approaches, e.g. improving general education, providing second-chance education, reviving literacy programmes, developing formal TVET or strengthening traditional apprenticeships?

    These are not alternative approaches, but complementary ones. The need, and demand for skill development is so great, and the scale of unmet need for skills so large, that each of these approaches is indispensable.

    • What are the roles of governments, formal firms, informal sector workers and employers, trade unions, civil society organizations, communities, etc. in promoting skills development for the informal sector?

    Formal sector firms undersupply vocational training for their own needs; to expect them to get involved in training for informal sector employers is unrealistic. Informal sector employers themselves cant afford the cost of providing training. Hence, formal sector firms will have to be required through the tax system to contribute to training requirements for themselves, as well as for the informal sector (see later on financing)

    • How has TVET been financed in various countries and regions? What are the implications for the role of different actors (governments, beneficiaries/students, non-governmental and private), financial sustainability, and equity?

    First, the experience of South Africa and Brazil in regard to tax based contributions to a Fund to finance training needs in the economy should be examined. General taxation alone will not be enough. Second, expecting poor beneficiary students to pay for training, when they cannot even afford to continue in general secondary schooling on account of its financial cost and the opportunity cost of not being in a job, is unrealistic. Third, private training providers could be reimbursed partly for training by the government, if the VET providers guarantee placement to trainees in industry (which in turn requires that industry is willing to engage with VET providers to assist during training with internships and curriculum development for courses).

  8. 8 Quirin Laumans February 25, 2011 at 15:13

    SNV Netherlands Development Organization (in East and Southern Africa) develops Vocational Skills programs (VOSD) as integral part in the sectors in which we work (Agriculture –incl tourism value chains-, Water Sanitation and Hygiene –WaSH- and Renewable Energy). The 9 SNV/ESA countries currently have over 30 examples of sector programs with VOSD activities. See below an excerpt from our programmatic framework as a contribution to the Consultation on Skills Development.

    Rationale for programme

    Increasing productivity, employability and entrepreneurship lie at the heart of pro-poor growth, competitiveness and subsequently poverty alleviation. Investment in vocational skills development, which supports the growth objective of social service sectors and competitiveness of agricultural value chains has the potency to increase individual as well enterprise productivity, which in turn creates room for new employment (for the unemployed) and higher value employment( for the working poor). Guided by this conviction, SNV interest to invest in vocational skills development programme has four main premises.

    · Vocational skills development as an avenue for upgrading production technologies for surplus creation, and effective market participation to reap the benefits of higher production ( potential for new and higher value employment)

    · Vocational skills development as a strategy to increase productivity ( both individual and enterprise) and competitiveness by improving returns on total factor investment, including labour ( potential for new and high value employment)

    · Vocational skills development as an avenue to unlocking entrepreneurial capacity for increasing number and successes of enterprises through value creation and value addition ( potential for new employment)

    · Vocational skills development as a tool for transition from informal, poorly paying enterprises ( working poor) to the formal enterprises reaping the benefits of formal services for growth and competitiveness ( potential for high value employment and new employment)

    SNV aims to develop and implement a Vocational Skills Development programme, located for the time being within agricultural value chains and social services sectors such as WASH and Renewable energy. The need to locate Vocational Skills Development in these three sectors is explained below.

    Boosting production upgrading and entrepreneurial capacity in Agriculture

    Agriculture, which is one of the biggest sectors supported by SNV, is the backbone of the economies in East and Southern Africa. The sector contributes nearly 60% of the foreign exchange earnings while providing livelihoods for 70% to 80% of the people. Despite this potential, agriculture in Sub-Saharan Africa has not performed optimally. For example Africa is the only region of the developing world where the average food production per capita has been declining over the last 40 years. Livestock production, a major part of the agricultural system of Africa, has performed below expectations, despite considerable effort in some countries to improve it. Milk production is insufficient to meet the increasing local demand; therefore imports have increased six fold since 1996. These trends are attributed to a cocktail of issues ranging from disinvestment across agricultural sectors in most sub-Saharan countries; low access by smallholder farmers to financial services (only 15%); barriers to land ownership; low uptake of high production technologies (only about 2 per cent of sub-Saharan Africa’s arable land benefits from irrigation, compared with one-third in South Asia; Only an average of 11 kilograms (kgs) of fertilizer are applied per hectare of farmland in sub-Saharan Africa, compared with 69 kgs in South Asia, 71 kgs in Latin America and well over 100 kgs in the Europe); increasingly frequent droughts and floods. Productivity, quality and subsequently market performance of agricultural products is a function of many variables, key among them producer or entrepreneur skill level. Besides, the limited entrepreneurial capacity among the producers and business service providers limits creativity and minimizes opportunity for further job creation. This therefore calls for a concrete skill development programme in agriculture, if it is to benefit the rural masses and create jobs to alleviate poverty. Since 2007, SNV has worked with key stakeholders along series of agricultural value chains (Apiculture, horticulture, dairy, oil seeds, livestock, food commodity chains etc) to respond to some of the constraints raised above in order to boost productivity income and employment. However there is not much focus on skill development that will help sustain the gains made. Moreover, the localized successes evident in some key chains need to get to many small scale farmers and entrepreneurs in ESA.

    Enhancing efficiency and effectiveness in social service sectors

    SNV’s involvement in the public sector is increasingly being recognized and appreciated as one of connecting different levels of service provision and instituting market oriented solutions to some of the structural challenges in the sector. Social service sectors such as water sanitation and hygiene is dogged with lots of inefficiencies emanating from among others lack of entrepreneurial, technical and business skills required to sustain the facilities for quality service delivery. For example, there is growing understanding that access to WaSH is related directly to quality of constructions, rehabilitation and maintenance of facilities and sustainability. These functions can be effectively improved by having skilled human resources, well equipped to deal with the new challenges emerging out of a sector looking for new ways of doing business (sector under reforms in Kenya and a few other countries). The renewable energy sub sector is a new one, under development in many countries, and requires skilled manpower for its success. For such a sector, skills development is a precondition for successes. The subsector also commands huge potential for job creation especially for young people given that it is a new labour market not much explored, coupled with the subsector need for quality services. The biogas programme for example that utilizes wastes from agricultural production and transforming them into locally produced modern energy has such immense potential to create new jobs, especially for young entrepreneurs (also classified as green jobs). With the huge potential already indentified in ESA (8 million families qualify for biogas installations against the technical criteria), this subsector provides the required link between skills development and job creation, which is an objective for this programme. The VOSD programme will aim to build on successes in the sectors to bring sustainability, efficiency and effectiveness in the social services sectors while improving entrepreneurial capacity of service providers for quality services.

    Scaling up

    One of the main arguments that make VOSD attractive is its ability to reach many people inform of skills that sustains future productivity employment growth and competitiveness. SNV strategy to adopt VOSD to upscale its current successes to benefit more poor people is by far a commendable effort. Through this programme, SNV aims to reach 1 million poor producers, consumers, entrepreneurs, service providers in skills development aimed at replicating good experiences from different ESA countries, linking into external experiences that add value to our work and using the existing value chain and sector entry points to contribute to an educated population that is working towards own developmental sustainability.

    Quirin Laumans
    Country Director Mozambique
    SNV Netherlands Development Organization

  9. 9 RAJENDRA KR February 25, 2011 at 13:29

    This is an opinion note on the need for linkages between education, skill building and employment. The points are illustrated with a factual case story from an ongoing successful project by Leonard Cheshire Disability – South Asia Regional Office based on the same principles in the South Asia region.

    Globally today, 68 million children of primary school going age remain out of school and consequently remain out of the possibility of an education, of skill building and therefore of growth. The indelible link between education, skill building and employment is difficult to overstress and impossible to ignore. Skill building has been a core area of work even before the community based concepts of rehabilitation came into force in the development agenda.

    Any child who remains deprived of the basic right to education subsequently remains unexposed to a range of skills that would later help him/ her shape a livelihood. This does not of course immediately translate into a lack of work. With over 306 million children between the age of 4-17 years in work across the globe, it can be safely assumed that children are out of school because they are engaged in different forms of child labor. But the point of education is not just to open vistas for better employment, but mainly to help an individual access and ascertain the quality of life that they wish to lead.

    Vocational training and skill building has been a focus area with development practitioners for the past decades. But, as time has shown us, engaging people in stereotypical trades such as making incense sticks, tailoring workshops and soap and other personal items’ production have not been sustainable models. The market being as competitive as it is, demands high quality goods and the lack of high quality training has affected the quality of the final product. As a result, we have scores of persons trained in these trades but unable to make a living out of the same.

    The need is far more urgent when it comes to employment and skill building of persons with disabilities. Centuries of pre-conceived notions and biases ensure that persons with disabilities not only struggle to access trainings but also face severe discrimination when it comes to recruitment for jobs. As a result, there is an unemployment rate among disabled persons as high as 80 % in some countries and an average of only 35% of persons with disabilities having an employment opportunity .

    The need of the hour therefore is to identify the market primarily. The demands of the market are what must govern the direction on all skill building exercises. Once, the people trained address the market requirement, the following process shall naturally proceed. As a result, education, training, skill building, work and employment shall follow their natural fruition towards growth.

    Stated below is a brief account of the work done by a project in South Asia in the area of skill building and employment.

    The Livelihood Resource Center, pioneered by Leonard Cheshire Disability – South Asia Regional Office is a unique program for reaching access to livelihoods to persons with disabilities across the South Asia region. The project, funded by Accenture and functioning in five centers across South Asia, has been immensely successful in bridging the gap between lack of skills and employment opportunities. The project, started in 2008, has been successful in training over 1500 persons with disabilities and in placing 1050 in formal and informal work sectors in the past two years.

    The project has identified the need to provide adequate skill training based on personal assessment of the candidate and on interest of the candidate. The project has a regular footfall of persons with disabilities, skilled as well as unskilled coming to them in search of jobs. The project follows a step by step and thorough process to ensure that candidates not only get a suited employment opportunity but also find fulfillment in the process.

    The first part of the process is to identify and assess the candidate based on individual needs, existing skills and interest. Post this, the candidate is compulsorily enrolled into a foundation course which addresses basic aspects of work life such as work ethics, work culture, grooming, presentation and basic computer skills. This has been identified as a very important and specific need since in many cases, candidates have dropped out of successful placements as they were unaware of the requirements of the workplace.

    Once the candidate has undergone basic training, the specific areas of skill training requirements are identified. Some trainees are in desperate need for a job and, with this basic training, are ready to take up some unskilled employment. But there are many who come to with a specific interest such as in the computer, hospitality, retail or other specific industries. In such cases, the organization links the candidate with the specific training. LRC helps link the candidate with the specific training institute and ensures that the institute is adequately prepared for the enrolment of a disabled candidate. This apart, LRC is conducting in-house training programs in retail and hospitality sectors apart from the regular computer classes.

    The USP of the above mentioned trainings are the fact that LRC conducts these trainings in close links with well-established corporate houses working in that specific sector. This ensures that the candidates are job-ready, get a hands-on experience of the work and their training has a market value. The other important aspect of all trainings is the provision of on-job training opportunities. These opportunities are very crucial in giving the candidates a clear understanding of the work and in bringing them at par with industry work demands. The end result is also often that, the corporate houses who train them also hire them since the candidates are trained well and have the required skills. Thus the conversion rate of these skill trainings into placements is very high.

    As a part of the skill building trainings, LRC also identifies a number of additional stressors which may often impact the completion of the training by the candidate. Simple aspects such as lack of funds to travel to the training, inability to pay for the training courses, lack of resources to find safe accommodation facilities during training and the first month of employment often lead to a successful and interested candidate giving up on a prospective employment/training opportunity. LRC has identified this need as well and has instituted systems of stipends, scholarships and part payment of fees to ensure that an interested candidate is able to tide over these initial hiccups.

    Overall, the project has worked extensively to ensure that work and training environments are accessible and in-tune with the rights of persons with disabilities. Before placing any student for employment or training, a thorough assessment of the premises of the organization is done to ensure that reasonable accommodation is maintained. This apart, the LRC team invests time to assess the organization’s culture and trains the immediate supervisors of the placed candidate to ensure that there is a conducive environment for the person to function.

    LRC has been very successful in building the bridges between the lack of skill training and the non-availability of employment for persons with disabilities. Illustrated below is the story of three of the successful candidates from LRC Bangalore that further corroborates the point. The story not only illustrates the effect of the intervention on individuals but also on institutions.

    Three persons with hearing impairment, Mr Ravi, Mr. Mallappa and Mr. Hanumanthappa aged in their twenties, completed their tenth grade in a specific school for the hearing impaired at Laxmishwara village situated in northern Karnataka, India. After the completion of school, they idly spent their time in the village and were often being misused by the family and community to do hard labor. The community had no training opportunities and neither were the families financially equipped to send the candidates for any skilled training.

    The project intervened at this stage and got in touch with their alma mater to conduct a career guidance workshop. The school principal referred the above mentioned candidates to the project for rehabilitation. A thorough assessment of the candidates’ skills was conducted along with basic counseling for them and for their family members. Once the candidates came to Bangalore for further training, the following interventions were carried out –

    • Basic arrangements were made to accommodate them in Bangalore
    • Skill training in the hospitality sector was provided to them as per their skills and interest
    • Prospective employers were sensitized to hire persons with hearing impairment in the laundry department of the hotel
    • One month placement support fund was provided to the candidates.
    • Safety and security measures for the candidates at the workplace were provided through accident insurance coverage to the candidates as per company policy.
    • Once the candidates were placed, post placement follow-up was done to ensure continuity in the activity. The employer provided feedback that he was immensely happy with the quality of work put in by the candidates. The employer stated that their work output was more when compared to other non-disabled persons employed in the laundry department and he felt positive about hiring more persons with disabilities in future.

    As on date, after almost six months of the placement, the candidates have acquired a decent living in the city, have opened bank savings accounts for the first time and are contributing to their family income. Their health and presentation has considerably improved and they are today considered role models in their village communities for having successfully found good jobs and for being a support system to their parents.

    The intervention has also had two other desired impacts. The employer, who is a premier five star hotel in Bangalore, has become very sensitive and is keen on hiring more persons with disabilities. This apart, the principal of the specific school for the hearing impaired in the village has taken keen interest in setting up market based skill building opportunities for the other candidates in his school.

    Thus, this one intervention has helped to fill a crucial gap and has ensured that the link between education, quality skill building and employment is built and a growth is ensured for those who go through this circuit. This is but, just one example to illustrate the importance of this linkage. More work done in this regard, shall ensure that in the coming decades we are able to churn out well trained candidates ready to access good quality employment opportunities in a competitive market.

  10. 10 Magali Chelpi-den Hamer, University of Amsterdam February 25, 2011 at 12:25

    There are several points to take into account if we want to do the topic of skills development justice.

    1. Skills training does not solely concern marginalized groups (this seems to be implied in the title and abstract of the consultation). In fact, once the person is trained, the cost of installation is quite high and people have to tap into their social network to find sufficient financial means to be able to ‘install’ themselves (buying the necessary equipment to work autonomously; eventually paying an exit fee, …). This holds I think for most of the crafts. Sadly, the most ‘marginalized’ ones always have trouble continuing in the craft learned as they lack financial backup. They are therefore likely to do something else in the end to be able to earn a living. Far from ‘deviating’, they just exercise the room of maneuver they have to navigate between low paid work possibilities.

    2. On this particular question, given the structural conditions in many developing countries, I would tend to think that not many youths in fact continue in the craft they learned all their life. It will eventually depend on the opportunities faced during the course of their lives. Understandably, if more lucrative opportunities emerge elsewhere, they are likely to step in (while perhaps placing someone skilled in their craft to manage for them) and if they are affected by some kind of shock (workshop destroyed or looted for instance), they might have no other option than reconverting into another domain. Somehow, this (hyper)mobility of youth has to be taken into account in the report.

    3. Informal skills development is not reduced to informal apprenticeships. There are also private informal institutions (which sometimes work under the umbrella of a local NGO) providing a structured training in a particular skill. In Côte d’Ivoire for instance, in Man (but this probably also holds in other settings), I came across the case of the UAP, a local NGO involved in several activities, which provided training in electricity to young people. Trainees were paying a fee and the programme lasted 2 or 3 years with a combination of theory and practical work. When ‘detached’, the trainees were usually self-employed, working in construction. Some were employed by the national electricity company on contractual work.

    4. This link between informal skills training and employment in formal structures (not self-employment) is worth investigating in my opinion.

    5. On informal apprenticeships, there are different modus operandi, which widely vary depending on to the craft itself and the boss’ way of seeing/doing things. Examples were already given during this consultation. I think we must empirically explore the question of reproduction of such system. To what extent is it exploitative? To what extent does transfer of knowledge really occur (knowledge of the craft, but also knowledge of self-discipline and professional ethics)? For whom? One way to do so could be to look at the learning steps of the apprentice through the years (1) from the discovery of tools to basic practice; 2) practice outside the workshop when acting on behalf of the boss; 3) practice outside the workshop when acting on his/her own behalf; 4) the managing of a boss’ subsidiary when very skilled; and 5) for the lucky ones, the ‘detachment’ into his/her workshop and the use of his/her own apprentices…). Another way to do so could be to look at incentives exchanged through the cycle, from the boss, trainees and clients. What is paid, how long, when? What happens financial commitments are not honored? How many ‘detach’? There is indeed a multiplicity of patterns which calls for a very nuanced approach in a general analysis.

    6. On ‘second-chance’ education and international humanitarian/development assistance: there is the tendency to ‘favor’ certain crafts and to push for ‘group forming’ when the costs of the basic equipments are judged too onerous to settle someone individually. ‘Beneficiaries’ are also expected to continue in the craft learned, regardless of the changes in their lives, and should they follow some other path, they are usually badly perceived by the program staff. They are considered a ‘failure’. I think this approach is fundamentally wrong because contextually detached and not paying enough attention to lucrativeness notions.

    7. In terms of primary sources, I could collect data from Côte d’Ivoire on informal apprenticeships in general and on ‘second chance education’ specifically targeting ex-combatants. I attach a publication in French for the second topic. The first topic has not yet been analyzed.

    8. I am not sure the recent financial crisis has affected the practice of skills development in any country. If stated in the report, I would suggest to support the claim with empirical evidence.

    In sum, more ‘micro’ studies are needed to explore the complexity of these processes and to strengthen the empirical grounds.

  11. 11 Stuart Cameron (moderator) February 25, 2011 at 12:23

    Education company Pearson have kindly sent in this submission detailing research in over 25 countries, and a summary of their Effective Education for Employment Research. (The full report is available here.)

  12. 12 KWEKU OFORI-BRUKU February 24, 2011 at 16:03

    During our pre-Independence days,(before 1957) the Village Craftsman (The Blacksmith, Carpenter, Mason, Fitter, Goldsmith, Baker, Seamstress, Shopkeeper, letter writer (stenographer), etc) was the distinguished elder/a highly respected opinion leader in the village or town comunity.

    Who; most parents send their young men and women for Apprenticeship in all forms of trades such as Masonry, Carpentry, Blacksmithing, fitting/automobile repairs, Tailoring/Seamstressing, Food preparations, Goldsmithing, Shopkeeping, letter writing (steno graphing) Book keeping, etc, etc.

    In most cases as is practiced even today within the non-formal apprenticeship sectors in Ghana, the young apprentice has to live with his/her master or mistress and serve the master or mistress and their family both at work and in the master’s/mistress’s home during the apprenticeship training period..

    Customary Training Fees.

    This is usually in the form of Money, foodstuff, livestock and local drinks are charged before the apprentice is accepted for training. The training period was usually four to five years.

    On graduation, the trained craftsperson had to serve his/her master/mistress for another period of between two to three years as a Master Craftsperson during which period he/she is taught Entrepreneurship and Supervisory Management to enable him/her gain enough knowledge and experience in the entire purview of the trade as he/she would be expected after the final graduation ceremony, to move out with the benevolent assistance of the master/mistress to set up his/her own workshop in another village/town or in other part of the town. But, for as long as the graduation ritual is not done, the craftsperson remained an apprentice.

    Present Challenges

    1. Perception of TVET is highly on the decline in comparison to grammar school to University education.
    2. TVET had been highly production centered.
    3. Obsolete training equipment
    4. Obsolete Instructions both material and knowledge
    5. Dumping of cheap and inexpensive goods from China
    6. Etc. etc.


    1. Every parent whose ward could not continue his/her education to the high school or even university after high school, would do whatever in his/her power to train the ward in a trade such as hairdressing, catering, clerical duties, carpentry masonry etc.
    2. So, my advise is that we should find a happy medium between the traditional apprenticeship system and the neglected formal technical education system.
    3. By registering all informal apprentices in order to give them part time theoretical education either in the evening or on part time basis to give them the theoretical aspects of the trade that they are learning.
    4. While the full time formal Technical students are also allowed to have as much as 3 to 6 months industrial training together with their Instructors per year, depending on the trade, to keep them abreast with industry.
    5. Skill acquisition in all field of endeavor such as engineering, science, marketing, law, negotiation, etc. must be highly emphasized as the Chinese can mimic and reproduce anything much cheaper and in larger quantities.
    6. So skill training for Engineers, Technicians, Craftsmen, Lawyers. Marketers, Bankers, Administrators, and all Graduates must be emphasized to enable us compete favorably in the present world economic system.

    Kweku Ofori-Bruku, Accra, Ghana

  13. 13 Melanie Hoppe February 24, 2011 at 10:36

    The central challenges, such as the match between skills programs and employment, addressed by the 2012 Education for All Global Monitoring Report should refer to existing best practices world-wide. In order to capture such best practices, sound data and well established research based information systems are needed for decision makers in TVET. Due to the dual training structure of the German system, BIBB (Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training) is highly aware of the significance that informal and non-formal learning have for competence and skill development and the role of work as a mediator of learning processes.

    BIBB is highly interested in an exchange of ideas, instruments and concepts on an international scale that acknowledge this need for information.

    The German TVET system needs to adapt continuously to the changing world of work as well as economic, social and environmental changes. This happens not least based on such mechanisms of monitoring that have been established and institutionalized in order to assure evidence-based policy making in Germany. The expertise of the German VET system is often demanded when other countries develop their TVET systems and respective monitoring systems. Worth to be mentioned are the following instruments:

    1. The annual Data Report on TVET that complements the TVET report of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research. Political measures and initiatives are formed by the findings of this work. Data Report: (in German language only); German TVET report in English language:

    In addition there is a range of research and development projects that are carried out by BIBB, e.g. on costs and benefits or the quality of vocational education and training.
    On the other hand sometimes such instruments and information needs are very specific to the German TVET environment. In order to learn about developments in TVET in other countries and their ways of monitoring the progress of systems, BIBB engages in various international monitoring mechanisms:

    2. BIBB is involved into CEDEFOPs Refernet. BIBB is collecting the relevant information on the German system and delivers an overarching view on recent political developments and reform projects addressing the most urgent needs for the country.

    3. Another monitoring instrument which supports donors to decide on the necessity and ap-propriateness of interventions in particular countries is the International Handbook on TVET which is edited by BIBB. It provides detailed information on labor market issues, education system structures and TVET legislation and underpinned concepts of TVET.

    4. Last but not least in 2009 an international expert workshop has been conducted in Bonn. Experts discussed methods and instruments for the evaluation and monitoring of VET systems. A follow-up session is planned.

    For the design of VET systems and practices a solid basis of information is needed on the state of TVET systems as well as the concepts that shape vocational education and training. The link between employment and technical and vocational education is not merely a matter of supply and demand of TVET graduates but also the societal space in which a lot of skills and competence development actually takes place. This is a central challenge to the instruments that are intended to provide the evidence needed for a sound decision making.

    BIBB appreciates the significance that is associated to TVET in the 2012 Education for All Global Monitoring Report and the relationship between skills development and employment. BIBB would be interested in sharing expertise on the concepts and instruments for the reporting as well as engaging in a further dialogue on this topic.

  14. 14 Randa Hilal February 24, 2011 at 08:47

    Contribution of TVET to MDG
    I would like to share experiences and lessons learned As a Palestinian Women Engineer that have worked in TVET for around 20 years, and introduced various models as apprenticeship model, outreach training and introduced women for the first time in non-conventional field of electronics and telecommunications in the year 1996, and a co-founder of VET-NGO League, a TVET consultant and National advisor for TVET national project.

    The Palestinian case of NGO and national effects:

    • Contribution to poverty alleviation:

    As a director of VET institutes for over 12 years, a TVET researcher, and following up various programs, it was evident that TVET has been a main contributor to poverty alleviation for many enrolled male and female youth over the years.

    Working in NGO lead VET institutes with main aim of selecting the underprivileged and refugees affected by the political and economic status we enabled youth to transform their lives from aid recipient to being employed and some-times employer that employed others. From various tracer studies done at these institutes it was found that employment rates of graduates was higher than national rates of youth at any point in time, it was found that institutes as LWF, YMCA and UNRWA has achieved high employment rates of its graduates between 70-90% within one year of graduation compared to 40% unemployment rates of youth same age of graduates.

    Modes of training have affected employment rates, and it was found the increase of internships and labour market relations has increased employment of youth.

    • Contribution to women access to labour market:

    Women participation in the labour force has been limited to 10-15.5% during the past few years, various factors have contributed to such fact including societal attitude towards women’s role, participation and contribution to the community, in addition to limited opportunities and protection at the labour market. Within such context women graduates of Vocational Training have increased their participation in the work force. I presented a paper during the second TVET conference regarding the impact of women in VET towards access to employment, results presented below in table 1, where women graduates became 4 times more active in labour force, and seven times more active in self-employment, graduates were working mainly in private sector and contributing to economy building.

    Limitations against spread of effects:

    • External effects
        – Hindered economy that limits opportunities for progress, affected by Israeli occupation policies of limited access to people and goods being in 500-600 checkpoints in the West Bank and the existence of Separation Wall isolating areas and zones and in isolation of Gaza from the outside world, such policies had impact on economy that had been documented and highlighted by international community including the World Bank.
    • Internal effects:
        – Attitudes of community have been towards higher education, regardless of abilities, interest and personality traits of youth in career choices. TVET is treated as a second chance for those unable to continue higher education. Higher education is given a better value. As a result 29% of youth did not continue their education or training.
        – Governance structures has been main hindrance towards progress, with first TVET strategy in the region that was adopted nationally in 1999 with action plans adopted nationally in 2003, but governance structure was unable to implement the strategy, even the revision of the strategy in 2009, has resulted in sustaining ineffective governance structure although effective structure was presented to decision makers.
        – Attitudes of policy makers have been a hindrance to TVET, as decision makers (outside the field of TVET) also deal with TVET as a second class education, therefore it’s not a priority. Development policies and strategies are not seen as a preference.

    Issue of concern that should be addressed:
    1. Effective governance for implementing and ongoing monitoring and enhancing based on real participation of stakeholders and right-holders.
    2. Modes of training that could address different marginalized groups and would lead to employment.
    3. Entrepreneurial ship training effectiveness in increasing self-employment opportunities.
    4. Documenting successful modes is of utmost importance for share of info and experience and most importantly to show the policy level that it works.

  15. 15 David Levesque February 23, 2011 at 14:21

    A few thoughts to add to what others have said.

    The debates around the effectiveness and efficiency of vocational and skills development have a long history. Are supply led programmes justified? What vocational skills should be taught in secondary school? What is the best way to pass on skills? Government or private sector funding etc etc.

    Given the opportunity that the GMR provides, perhaps it would be useful to take a little time to reflect on the assumptions and values that underpin these questions.

    Most of the debates assume that skills are for employment, economic performance and financial gain. Is this always true? Is a skill a unit of production? Is it valid that learning skills can also be for enjoyment and for enrichment?

    What is it that we value and is this different for donor countries that need to measure value for money for accountability and partner countries who may well be seeking to reduce youth unemployment for political reasons.

    Do we have sufficient evidence of what works well and if so is this generalisable enough that we can make recommendations for other countries to follow? Or does every country and every situation require its own specific response.

    What is clear is that there is a massive demand for useful employment across the world from governments and people but that the demand is not always matched by employment opportunities. While this imbalance exists there will be a constant call for supply led skills development as a solution.

    The GMR has an opportunity to clarify the issues, present the available evidence and to highlight ways forward.

    David Levesque
    Senior Education Advisor

  16. 16 kadiri shamusideen February 22, 2011 at 16:07

    The importance of skills development

    First, globalization is leading to increasing international standardization of educational challenges and systems.

    Second, international organizations increasingly emphasize a largely common program of competence development and lifelong learning.

    Third, the widespread adoption of international conventions that form the normative basis for the competencies.

    The rate of technological advance has accelerated at an unprecedented pace, accordingly, the development of skills through training should be the strategic response to technological change, globalization and other forces affecting labor markets.

    The new generation of technology, especially information and communications technologies and certain manufacturing processes has likely effect on productivity and on the demand for workers with higher-level skills and broader workplace competencies, who can command higher wages.

    The introduction of new technologies has reduced the demand for unskilled labor and raised the value of advanced skills and competencies in the industrialized economies.

    In the services sector technological change has created new categories of high-skilled occupations in health care, information processing, and finance and business services; in the goods-producing sector too, the emphasis is now less on physical strength and adherence to routine and more on workers’ behavior, flexibility and initiative.

    Work practices associated with increased employee involvement – such as the introduction of high-performance work organization involving devolved decision-making, and reliance on team-based systems – are perhaps the most important of the management practices affecting skill requirements. Self-managed teams in particular transfer management skills to front-line workers as they are exposed to the tasks other team members are performing.

    The pressure to sell off unrelated operations and to buy new ones as strategies change, to reduce costs, especially fixed costs, to shorten production runs and to make production more flexible all have a pervasive effect on employment, of which downsizing – permanent job reductions driven mostly by corporate restructuring – has received most attention. It is a process that differs significantly from the layoffs of earlier periods that were caused by recessions and were largely temporary. The job insecurity that has followed has often affected people in the traditionally most stable jobs in the “primary” sectors of the labor market.

    Employee turnover is an important measure of the extent to which employment relationships have changed. There is some evidence that occupational attachment is increasing even as tenure with a given employer may be declining, and this raises the whole issue of investment in continuous training.

    Another important labour market consequence of restructuring is the growth of non-standard forms of work, defined as part-time employment, temporary or contingent work, and self-employed individuals working as independent contractors.

    Enterprises face two basic pressures to expand non-standard work. The first is the pressure to shift labour from a fixed to a variable cost, particularly in countries where collective agreements increase the fixed costs of employment or when the labour legislation does not cover non-standard forms of work. The second is to shift work away from high-cost internal labour markets to more competitive, lower-cost external labour markets.

    Restructuring and the availability of qualified workers seeking better-paid jobs have also encouraged enterprises to recruit on the external labour market in order to procure new skills rapidly and meet increased competition. Non-standard work has increased in many developing countries as informal sector employment has grown. While the labour force in these countries has grown fast, little of that growth has been in the formal sector. The reasons are many and include faltering economic and productivity growth and an unstable political and macroeconomic environment that is not conducive to investment.

    Formal and informal education and training can greatly enhance incomes and living conditions in the informal sector, when linked to other measures to improve productivity, safety, working conditions and product quality. How national education and training policies’ programs can effectively reach informal sector entrepreneurs and workers and encourage them to make the necessary investment in terms of time, effort and resources is one of the issues that needs to be discussed.

    • 17 Stephen Vardigans February 23, 2011 at 14:26

      This contribution tends to relate to countries where there is scarcity all round, including jobs at whatever level, and looks very briefly at the issue from an individual employment perspective.

      It seems to me that most education and training agencies, whatever their shape and size, still fail to engage in a wider, world-of-work forum – which is inevitably political.

      Certainly the pre-requisites for a successful vocational training experience which is likely to lead to employment include, among other things, delivery agency accountability, the meeting of set standards, the carrying out of tracer studies and labour demand-side market studies and the upholding of the imperative to try to ensure that all vocational training offered leads to just that – a vocation. And of course it requires governments to take an interest in ensuring that public or private education and training provision touches all members of the population.

      But on top of all of that I think that agencies themselves must engage in the wider debate and address the more fundamental question of why there is a lack of work opportunities in the first place? (Not that there is a lack of work to be done.)

      Individual employment comes in three main shades – wholly waged employment, wholly self employment and a mixture of both.

      Waged employment only exists if an establishment is hiring – in which case those having the required skills have an opportunity. Self employment is, to say the least, a little more complex although to read some of the project and political hype one might imagine that everyone is a closet entrepreneur just waiting to pounce on an unsuspecting market with a product which can’t be resisted.

      Everyone is not a budding entrepreneur and I bet that most people debating this topic are not entrepreneurs – yet many will have suggested that one VET project or another will have as an output indicator that X number of trainees will become self employed individuals who will eventually employ a dozen others and save their neighbourhood from economic ruin in five years. (Nicely firmed up in terms of Quantity, Quality and Time, but with the hunch that a full evaluation in 5 years will likely not take place.)

      We are all at the mercy of the market and however perfect our education and training provision might be, if the job market does not exist then more bottoms on seats will not help. And I don’t think it is just a matter of trying to provide the level of skills to match the needs of employers since there is a crisis of employment opportunity.

      I think that we must keep asking the question why the jobs are not there, and engage in local and national debates to explore alternative approaches to facilitating their creation.

      This inevitably takes us out of the domains of education and training and into the rather less precise realm of corporations, chambers, stock markets and investment policies, business associations, local economic transactions, unnecessary scarcity, local resource mobilisation etc.

  17. 18 Wes Schwalje February 22, 2011 at 12:22

    I have completed one paper which is forthcoming on the Latin America region as well as a more macro theory based article on skills development which may be of interest to this project.

    The Emergence of Global Skills Gaps: The Need for a Twenty First Century Conceptual Model of National Skills Formation


    In many countries, firms have expressed concern that they face internal employee skills deficiencies that limit performance, a phenomenon that has been labeled as a “skills gap.” Based on data from the World Bank Enterprise Survey, it can be shown that skills gaps are widespread; the prevalence of firms indicating they face skills gaps is increasing across country income groupings and firms of different size; and many firms consider skills gaps the most pressing problem their businesses face. There is a critical need globally for sustainable national systems of skill formation to facilitate development and increase competitiveness in light of rampant market failure and intervening global macroeconomic and social trends. Such a skills formation system requires an updated, integrated conceptual model that accommodates the perspective of education practitioners, economists, sociologists, and political scientists. Integration of the concepts and structures from these disciplines will facilitate a new more relevant twenty first century model of national skills formation that stresses a systemic approach to aligning skills development within broader business and economic development measures.

    The Prevalence and Impact of Skills Gaps on Latin America and the Caribbean


    In Latin America and the Caribbean anecdotal evidence from business leaders, the press, and numerous government reports suggests many firms express a serious concern that they face internal employee skills deficiencies that limit performance, a phenomenon that has been labeled as a “skills gap.” This article explores the extent of national skills gaps; the importance of skills gaps relative to other business challenges; the industries facing the most severe skills gaps; and the prevalence of skills gaps by firm size. Based on international example, the article also discusses the ramifications of skills gaps on firms and regional competitiveness.

    I would be curious to hear your feedback.


    Wes Schwalje

  18. 19 Moustafa Wahba February 22, 2011 at 10:56

    There are few methodologies and strategies used to increase employment opportunities for marginalized groups and I personally prefer to move from these methodologies to the broader Competence-based Approach to Occupational Analysis and Standards. I would summarize the approach as follows:

    A. Competency Based Education & Training CBET

    1. One of the best trend to create labor competency standards in is the Competency Based Education & Training CBET in which the total curriculum is broken down into coherent parts known as modules or units and further down into elements or tasks, each of which can be separately learned, assessed and certificated. In this modular-based design, the integration of competency standards with their different components of competency (modules / units / elements / tasks), evidence of performance, performance criteria, field of application and assessment guidelines is the basis for designing Competency Based Education & Training CBET curricula and Training Programmes.
    2. Once the competency has been described and standardized for each job / occupation, the design of Competency Based Education & Training Frameworks and Curricula, simply known as Competency Development Frameworks CDFs for a particular job / occupation should be much more efficient and oriented towards the standard. This means that when training is geared to generate competencies that clearly correspond to existing standards, it will be much more efficient and will have a stronger impact than training that is totally unaware of the needs of the entrepreneurial sector.
    3. Some of the key competencies, those which are more required in the view of human resources management I.e. Personal / behavioural / attitudes competencies are not generated by knowledge passed on with teaching materials but rather promoted through the learning and training at work location. Accordingly these competencies have to be included in the CDFs as separate and dedicated Key Assessment Subject.

    B. Competency Development Frameworks – Basic Principals

    1. In order to implement a structured process for assuring competency across an industrial company or vocational institution, Competency Development Frameworks CDFs have to be established, related to real activities conducted in the work place and designed to meet the Required Minimum Competency Standards (Levels).
    2. In designing a framework, care should be taken that only measurable components are included. It is important to restrict the number of competencies required to be acquired for any particular role and arranging them into Modules or Units of Competency containing like (similar) topics to make the framework more flexible and accessible to the users (Modular arrangement). The framework should contain definitions and / or examples of each competency.
    3. The Module or Unit of Competency is formed by a group of Elements of Competency; it has a clear meaning in the work process and, therefore, it has value for the work itself. The Module / Unit not only refer to the functions that are directly related to the job’s objective, it also includes any other requirement connected with health and safety, quality and relationships at work.
    4. Element of Competency includes the competencies required to be acquired by a person in his /her occupational environment. Therefore, it refers to an action, a behavior or a result that a worker needs to demonstrate and, thus, it is a Task that is carried out by one individual. The Element of competency includes the description of a Task that should be carried out by a workers / trainees in their occupational environment. Therefore, it refers to an action that a worker needs to demonstrate and, thus, it is the ability to carry out a Task by an individual.
    5. A critical aspect of all frameworks is the degree of detail. If a framework is too general (containing only general statements), it will not provide enough guidance either to employees as to what is expected of them or to the assessors who have to assess the workforce against these terms. If, on the other hand, it is too detailed, the entire process becomes excessively bureaucratic and time-consuming and may lose credibility.

    C. Creation of Competency Development Frameworks

    1. Competency Development Frameworks can be developed in a number of ways. It is possible to draw on the competency lists with the support of National Vocational Qualifications. The Competency Frameworks developed in this way are often linked with progression towards recognized qualifications.
    2. Many organizations develop their competency development frameworks for their workforce and newly hired employees through an internal research programme, sometimes aided by advisers from an external consultancy or training provider. Methods of developing a framework range from importing an existing on-the-shelf package through to developing the entire thing from scratch. The best solution usually lies between these two extremes, namely internally generating a framework that builds in business relevance, but do this by customizing existing models that have already been widely used and have proved successful to your own requirements.
    3. The overwhelming proportions of frameworks were designed in-house or in-house with consultants. A very small proportion used frameworks produced and made available by an external organization (for example a trade association or government body). Yet many of the subjects that were included in the framework fell under expected generic headings.
    4. Many organizations develop a competency development framework with a view to managing performance and progression more effectively. However, many managers and individuals find it hard to use the frameworks to help achieve their goals and, therefore, the goals of the organization. The most common reasons for this is that people don’t see the benefit of the framework and aren’t trained adequately; there aren’t clear links to what the business is aiming to achieve and many frameworks are a mix of different concepts which make them impractical.
    5. The main benefits of utilizing competency development frameworks are:

    i. Employees have a set of objectives to work towards and are clear about how they are expected to perform their jobs
    ii. Clear link between organizational and employees objectives
    iii. Employee Career Development will become more effective
    iv. The processes for managing employees performance are measurable and standardized across the boundaries of the organization
    v. Development of Curriculum and Training Programmes are more easier and achievable
    vi. Personal recruitment and appraisals are fair, more open and effective
    vii. Training Needs Analysis TNA and training will be more effective

    6. The competency framework is developed in accordance to real activities conducted in the work place and should include all knowledge, skills and attitudes that workers / apprentices should acquire. Those are then translated into curriculum and actual teaching materials followed by developing appropriate assessment methods. The Managers / Directors of the TVET Centres have a major role in this regard and will be explained in detail in the section for the TVET Centre Mangers Responsibilities.
    7. Criticisms of competency frameworks are attributed to using poor practice in development of competency frameworks or lack of understanding of competencies. Such criticisms do not challenge the need and usefulness of competency frameworks; they highlight the need for care and understanding when developing and implementing competency frameworks.
    8. The National Vocational Qualifications and the Competency Frameworks give a clear indication to young professionals of what the industrial companies and vocational institutions expect to receive during their Performance Based Development Period in the company or the vocational training centre / institution. The Competency Framework also provides the framework for Monitoring & Evaluation M&E of the performance of the employees and support the effective development of direct hire and contracted staffs.

    D. Key Assessment Subjects & Duties

    The competency frameworks for a specified discipline / profession contain selected list of Key Assessment Subjects containing duties and competencies that the industrial company’s employees or vocational trainees (students) are expected to perform and acquire in their work assignments. The Key Assessment Subjects contain the following four sections:

    1. Section A: Core Competencies

    These are the most important specific technical competencies required to be acquired by a particular discipline as core competencies to carry out the roles covered by the Competency Framework.

    2. Section B: Support Competencies

    These are the specific technical competencies required to be acquired by a particular discipline from other disciplines’ competencies to carry out the roles covered by the Competency Framework.
    3. Section C: General Competencies

    These are the general non-technical competencies required to be acquired by all disciplines during their training and development period.

    4. Section D: Personal / Behavioural Competencies

    These are the non technical competences required to be acquired by all disciplines during their training and development period.
    The above Key Assessment Subjects are further broken down into a number of Modules / Units which further are broken down into number of Elements / Tasks outlining the actual things that employees / trainees will need to know about.

    E. Scales of Competency Standards (Levels)

    1. One of the main objectives and policies for different sectors of industry and TVET Institutions is to have a Competency-Assured Workforce and Trainees in accordance with agreed Competency Standards (Levels) and Performance Assessment Criteria.
    2. Training will be based on the Competency Standards (Levels) already developed on a national basis and in use by the industrial and business associations and federations such as the 4 occupational standards used in the Quality and Curriculum Authority (QCA) in England & Wales.
    3. In special cases, some sectors of industry and TVET Institutes and Centres which are not using the National Competency Standards (Levels) or not yet established the competency based training and assessment systems, can develop and establish their own systems, competency standards and Competency Development Frameworks using their own staff or via hiring the services of specialized training providers.
    4. In order to determine the Competency Standard (Level) Required which defines the standard (level) of competency that is required for each element of the job , the enterprise or TVET Centre / Institute has to use a certain type of Scales of Competency Standards (Levels) defining the Minimum Competency Levels Required LR.
    5. The following are the 4 Levels used in the Scales of Competency Standards (Levels) used when applying Competency Based Training CBT:

    i. Level 1: Awareness (A)

    a) Knows the basic, has awareness and can work only under supervision.
    b) Understand on basic level, identify, list, recognize, ask sensibly, know where to look for information and requires supervision

    ii. Level 2: Knowledge (K)

    a) Knows how to do and can work independently without supervision.
    b) Describe, participate, contribute, explain, work with guidelines, and know when to refer to guidance

    iii. Level 3: Skill (S)

    A) Skilled and able to train and coach others
    b) Plan and analyze, take accountability for own work area, deal with range of activities and tasks, find ways to increase own and others’ contribution, provide guidance and coaching to others, begin to take an external perspective and demonstrate competence to others

    iv. Level 4: Mastery (M)

    a) Expert and provide training and coaching to others
    b) Adapt, create, innovate, originate, conduct troubleshooting, provide guidance and coaching to others (as expert), challenges others thinking, define new standards, take a broad long term perspective, anticipate and plan ahead

    F. Performance Assessment Criteria

    1. Once elements of competency (tasks) have been defined, they need to be specified in terms of the knowledge required, the expected result, the quality that such result is supposed to show i.e. minimum competency level required and the evidence that proves competency.
    2. The Performance Assessment Criteria is a description of the expected result of each element of competency and the assessment statement of the quality to be achieved. In this way the performance criteria support the design of assessment material, specify what has been done and its quality and establish whether the worker can reach the result described by the element of competency or not i.e. is , or is not yet, competent.
    3. The Internal Assessor within an Enterprise or TVET Centre is generally assessing the different competencies acquired by the worker / trainer against the established standards and evidences provided. This assessment is either verified by the Enterprise or TVET Centre via appointment of an External Verifier from a recognized international body or Internal Verifier from the C Enterprise or TVET Centre.
    4. The assurance process (assessment & verification) assesses demonstrated performance for all acquired competencies including HSE–critical ones (critical tasks) against specified competency standards and performance assessment criteria. The success criteria for the Basic Training (Off-the-Job Training) are different from On-the-Job Training OJT. In the Basic Training, the worker / trainee is competent when he achieve a certain percentage while in OJT, he is competent when he passes all the tasks (or the critical tasks) included in the Competency Development Framework.

    Best regards
    Eng. Moustafa Wahba
    Competency Assurance & TVET Consultant

  19. 20 María Jesús Vitón de Antonio February 21, 2011 at 17:34

    María Jesús Vitón de Antonio, U. Autónoma de Madrid, ha enviado esta contribución (pdf).

  20. 21 Estela Silva Barba February 21, 2011 at 16:37

    En relación con el texto que posteamos en la consulta abierta, deseamos aportar, como un ejemplo práctico de una política de estado que integra el enfoque de competencias en una formación de calidad con criterios de equidad, destinado a poblaciones vulnerables, un documento curricular para la formación en servicios a casas particulares (pdf), trayecto formativo que promueve la jerarquización de la actividad.

    Estela S. Barba
    Formación para la Equidad y el Trabajo Decente
    DNOyFP – Secretaría de Empleo
    Ministerio de Trabajo, Empleo y Seguridad Social, Argentina

  21. 22 Mary-Luce Fiaux Niada February 21, 2011 at 11:46

    Je vous remercie pour la consultation online en cours concernant Rapport Mondial Education 2012 portant sur le theme « Expanding opportunities for the marginalized through skills development ».

    Le thème est crucial dès lors que les Etats et la communauté internationale sont de plus en plus conscients que l’Education pour Tous ne pourra pas être atteinte dans de nombreux pays, via les seules offres d’éducation formelle –également confrontée à d’énormes problèmes sur le plan de la qualité de l’éducation dispensée-.

    L’éducation et la formation non formelles commencent à être appréhendées comme un complément indispensable pour un grand nombre de personnes –enfants non scolarisés, jeunes descolarisés, jeunes scolarisés mais sans possibilités d’accéder à l’école secondaire, adultes analphabètes-.

    Le plus souvent, les innovations dans le domaine de l’éducation de base et de la formation (pré-professionnelle, professionnelle, qualifiante) sont développées par des ONG ou organisations socio-professionnelles. Il est indispensable que ces innovations soient conçues et mises en œuvre dans le cadre d’un partenariat avec l’Etat et qu’un dispositif financier assure leur extension. Ces aspects représente des défis dans de nombreux pays.

    En Afrique de l’ouest, la Coopération suisse (DDC) soutient précisément des partenaires qui ont développé des programmes d’éducation de base liés à des perspectives de formation professionnelle, notamment en milieu rural mais également en milieu urbain dans le secteur de l’artisanat. Ces programmes sont destinés à des enfants de 9 à 15 ans qui n’ont pas pu fréquenté l’école ou qui ont dû l’abandonner ainsi qu’à des adultes en activités qui ont besoin de renforcer leurs connaissances et compétences pour participer au développement local (sur les plans non seulement économique mais aussi social et politique). Dans ces pays, la DDC mène un dialogue politique régulier pour favoriser la validation de telles innovations et leur démultiplication au profit du plus grand nombre.

    Dans le fichier joint, je mentionne les noms de quelques organisations partenaires (non exhaustif) qui ont développé ces innovations en Afrique de l’ouest ainsi que leur site web et adresses mail. J’espère vivement que de telles expériences pourront être prises en compte dans le Rapport Mondial 2012 car elles représentent des alternatives nécessaires. Je vous encourage donc à prendre contact directement avec les organisations mentionnées afin qu’elles puissent vous livrer les infos complémentaires nécessaires.

    En Amérique latine, des partenaires sont également investis dans le secteur de la formation professionnelle ; j’espère que mon collègue, Simon, Junker, Point focal formation professionnelle à la DDC et présent à la réunion d’expert de Bonn, sera en mesure d’apporter un input sur ces expériences afin de démontrer l’importance de développer des offres diversifiées en fonction des contextes et groupes.

    Mary-Luce Fiaux Niada
    Chargée programme Education
    DDC- Division Afrique de l’Ouest

  22. 23 Estela Silvia Barba February 18, 2011 at 17:11

    Estela Barba, Coordinadora del área Formación con Equidad para el Trabajo Decente
    Equipo del Área: Agostina Vigna, Soledad Fernández
    Ministerio de Trabajo, Empleo y Seguridad Social – Argentina

    Deseamos aportar a este debate, algunos criterios que sostienen nuestra experiencia en las políticas de empleo y formación, desde el ámbito del Ministerio de Trabajo de Argentina, donde desarrollamos acciones destinadas especialmente a trabajadoras del sector del servicio doméstico.

    Las acciones de esta área buscan mejorar la empleabilidad de las personas de bajos ingresos y/o en condiciones de precariedad laboral, a través de la formación de calidad y en articulación con estrategias de orientación laboral y el apoyo a la búsqueda de empleo.

    Se busca abordar la complejidad de situaciones que presentan los sectores de población con los que se trabaja. Para ello es necesario poner el foco en las personas a fin de que ellas mismas reconozcan la diversidad de aspectos que facilitan o restringen sus posibilidades de desarrollar un proyecto laboral o formativo.

    En este sentido, las herramientas de política que se proponen no pueden ser neutras, sino que tienen que distinguir el punto de partida de las personas para no contribuir a la reproducción de las inequidades, adecuando los instrumentos a las características de la población y sus contextos.

    Las estrategias que consideramos esenciales para que los trayectos formativos sean de calidad son:
    – la articulación de trayectos de formación profesional con trayectos de finalización de estudios primarios y secundarios y con otros posibles trayectos formativos, en el marco de la promoción de una política de formación continua.
    – la transversalización de la perspectiva de género como metodología para poner en cuestión las relaciones de poder que se establecen entre los géneros, y para interpretar también otros mecanismos de discriminación o exclusión social que potencian los de género (pobreza, violencia, racismo…)
    – la implementación de estrategias para la remoción de las barreras que obstaculizan la participación y permanencia en los procesos de formación (apoyo para el cuidado de niños y niñas pequeños/as, pases para trasporte y acceso a la institución, adecuación de horarios a las posibilidades de las personas)
    – la promoción del enfoque de formación por competencias

    Acerca de este último punto, que es el que especialmente nos convoca, realizaremos un análisis de mayor detalle:

    El contexto laboral actual plantea desafíos a la educación en general y en especial a la formación para el trabajo. Los cambios y crisis del ámbito laboral plantean una concepción más amplia y dinámica de los contenidos del trabajo mismo, así como nuevos requerimientos a las y los trabajadoras/es. Cobran relevancia en el desempeño laboral las habilidades y competencias generales relacionadas con la gestión, el trabajo en equipo, la resolución de problemas, el accionar en contextos de incertidumbre, entre otras; es entonces insuficiente que la formación se centre exclusivamente en los contenidos técnicos. El enfoque de competencias, basado en el sujeto que aprende, recupera en sus trayectorias laborales y en sus experiencias, competencias que trascienden y atraviesan diversos desempeños a lo largo de su vida y en distintos campos y contextos ocupacionales.

    En este sentido, el enfoque de la competencia laboral es pertinente para describir, explicar y diseñar estrategias de intervención acordes a las transformaciones del mundo laboral.

    Hoy, todavía, la formación profesional se define, muy frecuentemente, por la oferta institucional. Pero por otro lado, y cada vez con mayor exigencia, a partir de una lectura del contexto productivo, e identificando necesidades de formación. Esto obliga a establecer, desde el campo de la formación, un diálogo permanente con la demanda y también con la población destinataria. Por ello se impulsa el criterio de doble pertinencia de la formación, que atiende a la vez ambos aspectos, tal como fue mencionado por Claudia Jacinto. Aquí interesa destacar un aporte del Programa Reto Rural de Ecuador, que desarrolló en su diseño el concepto de triple pertinencia, al incorporar, junto con los intereses y las necesidades de las personas, y las demandas de los sectores productivos, las particularidades de los contextos comunitarios.

    La competencia profesional se entiende entonces como un conjunto de conocimientos, habilidades, destrezas y actitudes, que un sujeto combina y utiliza para resolver problemas relativos a su desempeño profesional, de acuerdo con criterios o estándares provenientes del campo profesional. Desde esta área se sostiene que este enfoque es pertinente para promover la equidad y la inclusión en el ámbito educativo y de la formación.

    ¿Por qué?

    Porque reconoce la potencialidad del sujeto. Remite a sus conocimientos, habilidades, destrezas y actitudes que constituyen un conjunto de saberes. De esta manera no se trata solamente de conocimientos específicos provenientes de un único campo disciplinar, sino de una combinación de saberes que se ponen en juego en situaciones y contextos concretos para resolver los problemas que se plantean en la práctica profesional. Cómo se combinen los saberes es una decisión del sujeto, no algo que viene dado.

    En este sentido se reconocen otros posibles campos como fuentes de producción del saber, además del académico o el de la educación sistemática. Se abren las puertas al reconocimiento de las prácticas laborales, sociales, comunitarias y domésticas como fuentes de aprendizajes que se incorporan a los que se adquieren en ámbitos específicos.

    La incorporación del enfoque de competencias en la educación permite mejorar la calidad de los procesos y resultados de aprendizaje, considerando su valor de empleabilidad e identificando y desarrollando saberes transferibles a distintas situaciones.

    Por el contrario, si la adopción del enfoque de competencias no se centra en los sujetos, no identificará como competencias valiosas para el desempeño en el mercado laboral, saberes, habilidades y actitudes adquiridas previamente por las personas.

    De acuerdo a lo planteado, el enfoque de competencias centrado en las personas, la articulación de opciones de finalización de la educación básica con trayectos de formación para el trabajo, las prácticas institucionales flexibles, el trabajo en redes y el desarrollo de mecanismos y estrategias para brindar posibilidades para transitar por distintos caminos educativos, permiten un acceso más equitativo a ofertas de calidad, mejorando la empleabilidad de las personas.

  23. 24 Neeraj Sharma February 18, 2011 at 06:54

    A good Education (including trainings) lead to good career and employment. Every human being after completing education/ or not looks for employment which offers more than just feeding stomach. Having Employment means – self respect , respect among others and surely a way to dignified living.

    A person with better Skills always commond better value than others. The basic difference among those in Poverty and in prosperity is that of “skills” (technical or soft or combination of both) even if one is not much literate/illeterate. A illiterate person from rural area may commond better access to income (hence quality of living)than a highly educated person having commond on skills in specific areas. Hence if the world has to deal with poverty than it must focus on providing skills (specific to persons interest and capability) to people living in poverty specailly the young adults and the adolescents who can easily overcome poverty once they have acquired the skills.

    I am working in this space for almost 10 years – have worked with people in urban- rural settings, disaster areas, with tribals, minorities across the south asia region and have supported thousands of people through skill training leading to meaningful livelihood. Presntly I am assocated with creating livelihood for persons with disabilities in South Asis in new economy areas and the success is really pleasurable. In just last 1 years more than 1000 disabled people have been supported to jobs in mainstream economy as IT/BPO, Hospitality, Retail, Garment, Banking and Self employment after tarlor made trainings in these identified sectors . I will share more details on this later.

    Neeraj Sharma

  24. 25 Thomas Gerhards (Don Bosco Bonn, Germany) February 17, 2011 at 16:02

    Dear all,

    the EFA 2012 skills report will be very important. Looking at the fact that millions of academics and school leavers remain unemployed and frustrated, the move from education to working life seem to be crucial to reach MDGs and to reduce poverty. The more youth achieves primary and secondary education the more demand will be for quality skills training. We should also realize that in Europa as well as in Asia the demand for unskilled labour is reducing and the demand for skilled and highly skilled labour is raising. Skills training becomes highly important to overcome poverty. Whether this means individual, community or national poverty.

    Being involved now over 20 years in education and skills training for poor countries on the grass-roots-level, from donor point of view and as a policy-makerand consultant, I like to contribute some experiences. This from the point of view of a non-government faith based organization (Don Bosco).

    Allow me to propose for case studies in the EFA report 2012:

    – ATMI (Indonesia)
    – SERVOL (Trinidad)
    – Mobile Skills Training (Caritas, Bangla-Desh)
    – CITE (Cebu, Philippines)
    – Don Bosco Institute (Cairo, Egypt), Don Bosco El Obeid (Sudan), Don Bosco Network (India) and many more.
    – There had been a sector evaluation of the german government (Ministry of Economic Cooperation) six years ago looking on skills training projects for poor youth in several developing countries. This study gives interesting results, which might be valuable for your report.

    I can completely underline the 7 points, which Guy Bessette from CIDA working group has mentioned.

    Nevertheless I would like to add some aspects:

    1. Mesuring Impact of Skills Training with the Indicator “Employment and Self-employment”

    Instead of looking after the number of students passing their exams, occupation-orientation should become the main objective for skills training. An occupation-oriented training requires a new approach for both institutional structures and methods of training, and it requires a strong co-operation with the business sector in the first place. In a situation where youth unemployment rates are high and above average unemployment rates, employment or self-employment ought to become the principal indicator of a successful skills training. Every institution providing skills training ought to now in detail about the whereabouts of its ex-students. Placement statistics or tracer studies are the best indicators for monitoring the market orientation and thus the success of such skills training.

    2. Strengthening Informal Apprenticeship

    We know that public institutions will not be able by far to offer skills training to the millions of young people entering the labour market in the coming years. We also know that millions of girls and boys learn in form of an ‘informal apprenticeship’ by learning ‘on the job’. We know as well that this type of informal apprenticeship is sometimes misused, that the quality of training is rather low and that innovation and new technologies rarely enter it. The importance of the so-called ‘informal enterprise-based training’ has been long time neglected, blamed and ignored by training institutions, universities, governments and the NGOs. One approach could be to offer complementary classes for informal apprentices or workers. Skills training should not replace but support the existing informal training activities. Training centres could make efforts to strengthen the quality of work in micro-business. They could offer co-operative schemes of training which avoid exploitation and misuse of the cheap working power of apprentices. A technical college could offer technical, commercial or pedagogic training to those workshop owners who admit and accept to train apprentices.

    3. Flexible Course Design

    Young and poor people do not have the patience nor the money to take part in a relatively expensive 3- or 4-year training without any employment guarantee. Don Bosco training Institutions have some good experience in offering short-time courses that are tailor-made for the needs of the labour market. Those courses are cheaper than a 4-year programme and quite effective in bringing people to employment. Poor people can afford the training fees and are interested in participating. Such a training is short, in the local language, flexible in time and place, but there are still few technical colleges or training centres that offer such training in evening, night or Saturday classes. Everyone will also agree that the training conditions should correspond as much as possible to the future working life. But who offers skills training in a village, in a private workshop, on the road or under a tree, that is, in places where poor people are used to work ? When people participate in a course in a nice classroom or in a beautifully equipped workshop, how can they apply their new knowledge when they are back home on the street ? There are encouraging results of “mobile training” if training takes place where poor people live and work.

    4. Co-Operative Skills Training is Needed

    A promising path is the co-operation of a training institution with the business sector (e.g. the demanders of the training product = qualified people). Supply and demand, training institution and future employer are brought together designing skills training together. In this co-operation, the training institution takes a subsidiary role (principle of subsidiarity). It supports the needs of the business sector in finding qualified staff and workers. Co-operative education can be realized at different levels, e.g. organizing job placement or in-house training in enterprises, regular meetings with business representatives, active representation of business people in the board of the training institution, realizing a training programme together, joint planning, realization and evaluation of further training for workshop owners, employees or apprentices of micro-, small- or medium-sized enterprises.

    There are many examples in the world which proof, that co-operative skills training programmes are a successful way to lead to employment and self-employment. They allow the introduction of new technologies into the business sector. They are demand-driven, less expensive and they combine skills training with microbusiness promotion in offering business development services. Co-operative skills training does not mean to transfer a model that has been tried and tested elsewhere (for example the dual system in Germany) to another country or project. It is just that the suppliers and demanders on the market of skills training are linked in a way that misallocations and market saturation are reduced.

    That is to say that traditional training centres, if they want to provide a relevant training, will have to establish linkage to the local business sector. They should integrate the representatives of the concerned businesses in the planning, realization, monitoring and evaluation of their skills training activities. Business representatives might even choose the students and form a committee for non-formal examinations at the end of the training. In such a co-operative and subsidiary approach, training centres change to ”business support centres”. The good contacts established with local tradesmen will give quick information about the real training needs and a saturated or booming market. The formal or informal enterprises will explain their expectations from high-quality training. The institutions will adapt or reorient their training schemes, and the business sector will be more interested in employing ex-trainees and also in contributing financially.

    5. New Chances in the Service Sector

    In the past, training institutions focused mostly on the producing sector. While world-wide production is growing, the number of workers for production purposes is not growing in the same way due to better machinery and logistics. The globalisation of industrial mass production will continue and local craftsmen can hardly compete with industrial products. On the one hand, the unemployment rate for unskilled workers for industry is raising. On the other hand, there is a growing demand for efficient services at all levels like transportation, repair work, maintenance, information and communication. This sector of the labour market is growing and can hardly be replaced by automatic machines (would you like to have your hair dressed by an automated machine?). In the past, many skills training programs have strongly neglected these modern professions of the service sector. Why Training Institutions do not offer more training courses for watchmen, security people, undertakers, tourist guides, drivers, baby-sitters, telephone agencies, sales agents, beauty parlours, housekeepers, domestic nursing, catering, logistics, information management and all kinds of business development services?

    6. Training for Self-Employment

    New jobs are created by dynamic entrepreneurial men and women and not by the government or development agencies. In a situation where public employment is decreasing and the existing business does not grow, the only possibility to create more jobs is to promote start-up’s. Millions of unemployed looking for income have started with survival activities in the streets, selling something or offering services. This emerging micro-business sector is growing everywhere in poor countries. Skills training must support and strengthen this emerging and important sector of poor economies in such way that a survival activity may become one day an officially registered micro-business with some employees. Entrepreneurship training might not start at the point when someone gets unemployed. Schools should integrate entrepreneurship training, business management, accounting, etc. with the objective to promote entrepreneurial thinking and acting.

    On the other hand, we have to accept that not every unemployed young person has the potential for entrepreneurship. A 3-year-training is not enough to successfully proceed on the rough road towards self-employment. It is also obvious that someone needs several years of professional experience in the trade before starting his own business. But where is one supposed to get it ? Even those who find an employment face a lot of difficulties, missing the protecting environment and working conditions of the training centre. There are promising experiences with the introduction of follow-up and job-placement activities.

    7. Competence–Orientated Training Methods are Required

    Skills training (in the narrow sense) is not adequate and should be much more than giving some technical abilities. Skills training (in the broader sense, which I prefer) looks after the development of the whole person, body and soul, its talents and ethical values. Don Bosco Centers have always seen vocational education as a process of personal development. Only memorizing facts, data, numbers, rules and technical knowledge isn’t enough to be prepared for today’s working life. Training methods that are only based on memorizing are out-dated and should be abandoned. Empowering people to act autonomously in business is more important and requires new training methods. There are encouraging results with action-learning methods.

    A major problem of our age is that we have to train young people for technologies which are not yet invented. In a changing world, how can the instructors or teachers prepare the youth for a reality that we can’t even imagine now ? Who could have imagined, some decades ago, the booming labour market for computer training, mobile phones, waste management or renewable energies ? Nowadays, a person should be capable of working in a team, making decisions, dealing in a positive way with customers, doing marketing, managing conflicts, analysing problems, managing finance, taking risks, communicating, etc. Great store is set by those ”key competencies” everywhere – just look at the job offers in the newspaper.

    8. Using the Training Facilities at a 100 %

    Would a business person buy a turning lathe without using it ? Would a private hairdresser order a pair of scissors, just to leave them unused ? Having visited lots of skills training centres in Africa, I must complain that very often the workshop facilities and machinery are underused. Sometimes, they look more like an exhibition or a dusty museum. Skills training is costly, and cannot count on public or donor subventions in a long run, it is important to think about successful strategies to reduce costs on the one hand and to raise local income on the other hand by using tools, machinery and know-how for production and income generation. Often technical schools are empty during school holidays, afternoons, evenings and Saturdays. The existing facilities could be used better, for example, by offering non-formal training courses or evening classes for poor target groups or organizing the practical training in 2 to 3 shifts or offering services for neighbouring micro-enterprises. Workshop equipment, vehicles, machinery, office equipment, generators, buildings and plots of a vocational training institution are an immense richness, an immense capital.

    9. Quality Skills Training Needs a Business Mentality

    Just a few hours of entrepreneurship training for students written on the blackboard are by no means sufficient to learn something about business. Should not the entire institution with all its facilities be managed in an entrepreneurial way? If the training institution is run like a commercial enterprise, then the training conditions are close to the reality of working life and young people will get well prepared for professional life. Such an option requires a qualified and experienced management. Principals that are used to public administration and a regular monthly salary may have severe problems to change their mentality to a business-like one.

    Skills training in a business mentality means that learning takes place mostly in the workshop, not in the classroom. At least 75% of the training should be done in the workshop. All products or services of the training should be useful and offered for sale. A welding student, for example, who only trains on small iron pieces that are welded together and thrown away afterwards should not exist. All steps of business have to appear in the training (first contact to customer – planning – technical drawing – price calculation – quotations – getting orders – procurement and economic use of material – construction – finishing – transportation – assembly – invoicing – profit calculation – book-keeping). In every institution, it should be possible to at least recover the costs of the material used.

    Such a training institution looks more like an enterprise than a school but the preparation for working life is far more effective. Such a mentality is not easy to realize in institutions which are used to receiving public funds or donations. It takes years and needs a motivated management to sustain it. But it is not a dream. There are reknown training institutions which are successfully gaining the running costs, and some of them make even profits.

  25. 26 Frédérique Weyer February 16, 2011 at 15:29

    The following comments are based on a PhD research on diversification of educational provision and school-to-work transitions in rural Mali, which was submitted in April 2010 to the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies (Geneva).


    The importance of agriculture and a high level of informality imply huge need of workforce. Young people, when they are enrolled in primary school, are already contributing to production activities. Moreover, their work is an important input to family production activities. The process of developing relevant skills usually takes place within the family and sometimes starts as early as the age of 4 (depending on the workforce available in the family).


    Education plays a limited role in terms of employment outcomes. The activities of youth who went to primary school or non-formal education and of youth who did not go to school are similar. Only training widens the scope of productive activities. This depends mostly on skills acquired beyond school, through family-based apprenticeships. The situation is similar when young people migrate: the skills that are used are principally those acquired through the familial apprenticeship.

    At the same time, skills developed through the education related to literacy, numeracy, French and national languages are put into practice for the productive activities. Skills linked to productive activities (related to agriculture, petty trade or cooking) that are taught in some schools are combined with those developed through the familial apprenticeship to improve the way people manage their productive activities and sometimes even to increase productivity, for instance in agriculture or in petty trade.


    Integrating skills linked to productive activities into the curricula seems relevant. At the same time, adapting the whole programme to the local economic activities does not appear to be appropriate: generic skills are put into practice and valued as well, especially for migration, which is pursued by more and more young people. Thus, training should include literacy and numeracy, as well as national and/or foreign languages.

    Students move between formal and non-formal education, creating bridges in between. However, skills acquired through the educational trajectory are not always recognised. Also non-formal education does not provide certification and its students cannot pursue higher education. Implementing articulation mechanisms would ensure that the reality of educational trajectories is taken into account.


    The contribution of children and youth to family production activities is a main drop-out factor, especially for girls. At the same time, the cash income received for some activities is often necessary to pay school fees and pursue formal education.

    Young people and their family develop strategies to articulate this contribution with schooling, but often drop-out cannot be avoided. Moreover, workplace integration relies more on the skills developed through participation in productive activities than on those acquired in school. It is necessary to develop conditions that would facilitate the articulation between schooling and contribution to productive activities and limit drop-out.


    This implies improving evidence on the daily activities of youth – both boys and girls – and their links with schooling and training, which is now lacking. Appropriate theoretical and methodological approaches need to be developed to ensure that all productive activities – including those beyond the formal and cash-paid labour market – are considered.

  26. 27 RAQUEL J. KRIEGER February 15, 2011 at 23:31

    Facultad Ciencias Economicas UBA Licenciada en Economia Master in Finances of Public Politics

    As my profession is being economist, I want to discuss some points, in relation what Claudia Jacinto so good wrote about young people working. I refer here what happen with the expenduture in it. The crisis is an opportunity of redeeming a more democratic economy, capable not only of satisfying the individual, but especially the community.
    Young people in Paris in our days are finding solutions based on reciprocity and co-operation; even individualistic culture still predominates. Labour market, unless being Paris one of the more expensive city to live in the world, allows many young people opt for cooperative choices ande neither bioligical predisposition take place. For example the young people choose to search ways to be activity included in social and cultural activities in the city.
    At the same time, society must to keep up by finding workable solutions, assuring active and energetic participation. Piblic politics in this way, is necessary instead of leaving chaeaper in an expensive city. The culture behaivour ask for that.

  27. 28 Stuart Cameron (moderator) February 15, 2011 at 15:13

    Jean Chamel has kindly sent in his masters thesis completed in 2009 at the Institut de Hautes Études Internationales et du Développement, Geneva: Les competences de la vie en question (pdf).

    • 29 sariwahyuni February 16, 2011 at 05:52

      i am suggest to give stretching for children education on urban fringe, education about healthy life, how to learn for to build character for children, give the simple knowledge and skill to young generation about how to save our environment, especially on poor countries, thank you

  28. 30 Stuart Cameron (moderator) February 14, 2011 at 11:30

    As well as the comment below, CIDA have kindly shared with us their recent guidelines on Skills for Employment (pdf).

  29. 31 Guy Bessette February 11, 2011 at 20:20

    These comments are being provided by the members of a CIDA working group on skills for employment ( Guy Bessette, Marie-Eve Desrochers, Shannon Fougère, and Odette Langlais).

    The working group considers that the 2012 GMR on skills should give explicit attention to the following:

    1. Skills for employment and social development need to be made accessible through demand-driven approaches

    • In recent years, models of skills development and technical and vocational education have moved from a provider-driven training model, where people received training without the assurance that the training was aligned to an identified need in the labour market, to a demand-driven one. The need to link training to employment (either self or paid employment) is at the root of all the good practices and strategies documented.

    2. They should also be available for the youth engaged in the informal sector

    • Occupational training initiatives have been mostly targeted at the formal sector of the economy, while the vast numbers of youth live in poverty and engage in some economic activity in the informal sector. Interventions are needed in the informal sector.

    3. Quality technical and vocational training needs to include literacy and basic life skills

    • There is a need to link literacy and basic life skills to technical and vocational education, especially in the context of the vulnerable unemployed youth.
    • Literacy provides the ability to identify, understand, interpret, create, communicate and compute.
    • Basic life skills can include, depending of the context, abilities such as cultivating self-confidence, developing the ability to communicate, acquiring discipline, respecting work ethic, developing tools for conflict resolution or decision-making, etc. It can also refer to some basic knowledge in health, including sexual health, child and maternal health; finances, including managing one’s income and drawing up budgets; safety and security; agriculture basic knowledge; etc. They are prerequisite to any vocational or technical training as well as putting that training in action.
    • Other generic management skills that support business development and access to markets are also included, often with a focus on developing entrepreneurship abilities.

    4. Demand-driven training depends on partnerships

    • An orientation towards demand-driven training systems leads to an increasingly prominent role for the private sector and for NGOs that work with marginalized groups. Partnerships are needed to implement and fund such skills development system.
    • Partnership with the private sector (industry representatives, associations of small and medium enterprises (SME s), micro-entrepreneurs etc.) is critical to ensuring that TVET is demand-driven.
    • Linkages between the private sector and education providers should exist at all levels of TVET. At the policy development level, mechanisms to obtain private sector input should be established.
    • At the curriculum design and delivery level partnership between employers, training institutions and national accreditation bodies is key to ensuring that training and teaching standards are consistent with labour-market requirements for specific skills and competencies.
    • Linkages between the private sector and training providers can also facilitate on the job learning opportunities such as apprenticeships and internships.

    5. Gender equality and gender equity in skills development

    • It is crucial to build on the previous GMR and emphasize the importance of providing relevant skills for employment to women.
    • The skill gaps that currently exist worldwide between men and women have resulted from a number of factors including lower literacy rates for women, limited ability of women to travel to training centres, and social factors that put pressure on women to enter training for traditional occupations instead of training that is geared to new demands of the labour market.
    • When provided the opportunity; women’s education performance often outstrips their male counterparts. Entrepreneurial training, which includes assistance in targeting profitable sectors, increased business skills, creation and connection to business networks, enhanced access to finance and role models, is particularly important for harnessing the capacities of women.
    • Men’s and women’s needs with regard to their economic participation differ. Women require specific support to address the fact that they are responsible for the majority of domestic work when interventions for skills development, training or education are created. TEVET programs are more welcoming to women when they:
      – employ female instructors and support staff;
      – facilitate access to child care services;
    ­  – reduce the distance to training program sites;
    ­  – support older women who are re-entering the labour market or who have not completed basic education;
    ­  – schedule non-formal SFE programs in consultation with women trainees;
    ­  – use culturally-appropriate teaching methodologies;
    ­  – provide segregated and protected dormitories, and adequate sanitary facilities; and
    ­  – clearly articulate what constitutes sexual harassment and violence, ensure that staff are trained to prevent it, and ensure strict reporting and response mechanisms.

    6. We need financing mechanisms that facilitate access to marginalized groups such as youth engaged in subsistence economy

    • Skills training is very costly, on the average four times more expensive than general secondary education (ADEA. Concept note on sub-theme 2 Lifelong Technical and Vocational Skills Development for Sustainable Socio-economic growth in Africa p.7).
    • In many developing countries, state funding is inadequate to meet the high costs of equipment, materials, infrastructure and instructor training needed to offer quality demand-driven TVET programs.
    • There is a high risk that governments will transfer the cost to the users, thereby increasing student tuition fees (and other student fees). This will de facto limit the access for disadvantaged youth and limit the capacity of families to benefit from skills training program as a means out of poverty.
    • Alternative financing mechanisms and pro-poor policies should be put in place. These may include:
      – Tax levy on payroll. In Jamaica, the HEART Trust National Training Agency is funded by a 3% tax levy on the payroll paid by employers of SMEs and large cies.
      – Education saving plans offered by banks and credit unions to allow families to save over time for the future cost of tuition fees (with contribution from the state to the savings plans) -scholarships for disadvantaged students to cover tuition costs -sliding scale of tuition fees determined according to the family revenue (the poorer the family, the lower are the tuition fees)

    7. Prior Learning Assessment Recognition, validation and certification mechanisms are needed for non-formal technical and vocational training

    • Disadvantaged and marginalized youth often have greater access to non-formal skills training programs offered through apprenticeships and/or by local/international NGOs.
    • Non-formal skills training programs vary in terms of quality, coverage, linkages with industry, equipment, etc.
    • Government authorities should define quality standards for skills training, provide supervision of non-formal programs (including apprenticeship), provide training and capacity building to reach the standards and certify those programs who meet the required standards (accreditation is may not be feasible given that non-formal programs are generally not provided by established institutions).
    • To break the cycle of disadvantage, poor youth need to access quality training and receive official certification for the training received and completed. This will facilitate their integration in the formal labour market and life-long learning.

  30. 32 February 10, 2011 at 13:23

    Swami Vivekananda says, “Education is the manifestation of the perfection already existing in man.” – a statement, which upon deep contemplation takes us through the essense of education and contextualizes it with a ‘sense of purpose’ for life.

    Perceiving education in the above context, helps to monitor our own ‘way of life’ and therefore that of the society. Education is therefore a tool to manifest our inheren potentialities – in a manner that is positive and brings out the best in us for righteousness and proper conduct. This I would like to stress; for however we may be aware, knowledgable, skilfful; if our attitude is that of selfcentredness and unrighteousness then the “educational value” is lost.

    Today, the need is to factor in this aspect of education – that which is measurable by looking at the ethical and moral standards in the individual and society. These values are very much part of education, and often remain unaddressed in the formal type of educational systems in place. These values come from the education of the individual – through their faith – in principles;in family; in culture; in spirituality. The guiding forces become the parents; the peers; the gurus.

    The Earth Charter gives an opportunity to look at the Educational for Sustainable Development through an ethical and moral framework and therefore helping to become a guiding light in our path towards sustainable development.

    I think, the weightage of the moral and ethical values that education needs to address has to be highlighted and considered in the monitoring studies. It could help in evaluating ourselves how much is the global development aligned towards the path of sustainable development. Translating the education into wisdom – that is the gift that the present generation can give to the future. May our educational process and educational content be such that this purpose is achieved.

    Shriji Kurup, Centre for Environment Education

  31. 33 Stuart Cameron (moderator) February 8, 2011 at 15:02

    Many thanks to all those who have commented so far, whether directly or through NORRAG. Here is a quick round up of some of the points that have stood out for me:

    Michel Carton argues that the informal sector is often vast and to make sense of it we need to break it down into smaller categories. The informal sector spans rural and urban areas, and not everyone in it is marginalized.

    Salim Akoojee calls attention to how vulnerable groups are often identified in policy but neglected in reality because “effective transformation” is difficult to achieve. He also comments that in contexts such as South Africa, it is widely perceived that there are skills shortages but this perception has little basis in evidence.

    Enrique Pieck stresses the need for quality and relevance to be assessed according to local criteria rather than trying to apply the same model everywhere

    Simon McGrath argues that the “first challenge” to address is the lack of adequate management information systems, evaluation reports and research capacity for TVET

    Kenneth King comments that “new donor” countries such as Brazil, China, India, South Korea have in fact been donors for decades. Within these countries skills development has varied massively. Some may have dynamic economies but have been far from socially inclusive.

    Claudia Jacinto focuses on experiences in Latin America, suggesting that flexible “second chance” programmes linking vocational education with basic or secondary education diplomas is one of the most promising approaches for offering skills development to marginalized groups.

    Claudio de Moura Castro suggests that training focused on improving economic productivity has worked better than training focused on responding to the needs of the dispossessed. He offers a challenge for the GMR: what can we say about training in stagnant economies, where jobs are not being created?

  32. 34 NORRAG February 8, 2011 at 12:20

    Professor Michel Carton, Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva, and NORRAG Coordinator, provided this reaction through the Network for Policy Research, Review and Advice on Education and Training (NORRAG)

    The decision to devote the 2012 GMR to skills development is most welcome. The discussions held from 1996 to 2008 in the context of the Working Group for International Cooperation in Skills Development, facilitated by NORRAG thanks to the support of the Swiss Development Cooperation, have contributed to the revival of many national and international concerns for this field where both public policies as well as many other stakeholders strategies and programmes are at work. The draft concept note for the 2012 GMR acknowledges this change. The recent events in Tunisia and Egypt have dramatically underlined the importance of the conceptual as well as strategic links amongst education, training, skills development, work, employment and growth. These events will allow the enlargement of the analytical framework developed in the 2011 GMR dealing with conflict situations, as they force us to revisit the notion of « marginalized groups » being used in 2011 and proposed for 2012.

    That is why the concept note might be more specific when making a link between these « marginalized groups » and the « informal sector ». Field work and research have since long demonstrated that the so called informal sector, that constitutes 90% of the active population in countries like India, has to be broken down into categories which are not all marginalized. They have also underlined the fact that making a strong link between the informal sector and urbanisation does not reflect the activity and value chains between the informal sector’s urban and rural settings. Field-work and research have forced policy makers to enlarge the focus they usually put on employment (in the modern sector) and pass to strategies based on productive work. TVET becomes then just one dimension of skills development, the latter including not only demand-driven provision, but also supply-driven provision for dealing with the marginalized groups in particular.

    Finally, the focus on skills development implies that a multi stakeholder perspective has to be used for securing that practical solutions will be feasible and sustainable. That is why the work and employment providers have to be studied, especially because they are important actors in the definition of the type of growth a society is involved in as well as in the provision of skills.

  33. 35 javan otiende February 8, 2011 at 12:16

    In any sector skill training is essential and vital in the sense that when you are skilled is like saying you are armed/equipped in another form because it can help you a great deal in any field that one is skilled in may enable one achieve His/Her goals globally.African countries are major affected with it,furthermore this is prompted by the poverty among families whereby one is unable to get the funds to enable have those skills.’As a Man thinketh so he is’ the skills will equip you with great ideas that even will prompt a Nation to develop indeed those unable to fund raise are kept in the dark as this may lead to poverty, this case i really get myself in it due to the fact that when you are enrolled in an institution and you are unable to join that leaves you with an option of starting to give up and especially the youth may start engaging in some evil practices thus being liabilities rather than assets and so as African nations something MUST be done for the funds to be channeled to Education and majorly the upcoming youths who are enagetic.

  34. 36 Stuart Cameron February 7, 2011 at 17:34

    The GMR team’s presentation at the public consultation held on 4th February, 2011 is available here (powerpoint, 200kb). This sets out some of our initial thinking on how to tackle some of the issues. It shouldn’t be taken as set in stone or comprehensive but we would welcome feedback on it.

    • 37 Habiba Tasneem Chowdhury February 8, 2011 at 07:49

      The GMR is a starting point to bring the basic challenges towards EFA at a universal platform that transcends the geophysical, demographic, socio-cultural and economic boundaries. And for that to happen effectively the dichotomy of LDC and developed countries needs to be eliminated. This is required for creating a standard for universal access to basic education for all — that should include all regions, countries and communities irrrespective of their ethinicity.

      However, citing the example of Bangladesh that has recently adopted an education policy that was overdue one can easily see this very basic right if neglected and not appropriately addressed creates wide gaps in the needs based provision for education and the availability of employment opportunities versus the skilled/literate human capital.

      The policy acknowledges and recognizes all forms of primary level education that is conducted by different agencies in the country by public, private, NGO, Civil society and faith based and formal and non-formal systems. However, a vast majority of these systems fail to capture the dislocated populations in the burgeoning urban slums and streets and the fact that they are chronically mobile becomes a tremendous challenge.

      Additionally, skills development has become an experiment in all the relevant and not so pertinent areas. The result is that most of the rural and semi-urban impoverished youth remain unemployed because of their lack of access to skills appropriate employment opportunities or the availability of such skills development within their immediate vicinity.

      As such one of the largest revenue base for Bangladesh; the migrant work force using human capital remains perpetually exploited and threatened because of a serious lack of skills. Simultaneously, the much hyped micro-credit for diminishing poverty specially for women has not had an impact on education and capacity building even for women who receive the credit are not provided with market accessibility or training to enhance their abilities for effectively using their loans. Similarly, the more than 10% of the disabled population still remains out of the mainstream education system due to lack of accessibility. And lastly, the teacher to student ratio that data suggests has enhanced from 1:60 to currently 1:80 the worst in Asia has not received due diligence in terms of policy implementation and strategic action.

      All these factors point out to a vertical, isolated and unrealistic approach. The policy should integrate with the country’s ‘Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper’ and connect with all the relevant administration laterally and bottom up approach for EFA to become a reality in a developing or LDC. Poverty is the basic paradigm of marginalization — all the other segmentation falls within it.

      As such the GMR can only become a reality when it takes cognisance of the evolving needs, opportunities and concerted efforts that forms essential links in a realistic system. One can easily say that for the GMR to be effective the LDC’s and developing country policy decision makers, corporate sector, civil society and the donor agencies need to come into a common perception and understanding that is driven by needs and addresses education as a means of reducing poverty through enhanced opportunities of employment or income generation. Otherwise, the initiative is bound have a sad and slow demise as with any other form of monitoring and reporting.

  35. 38 NORRAG February 4, 2011 at 13:40

    Salim Akoojee, Manufacturing, Engineering and Related Services Sector Education & Training Authority (MERSETA), South Africa, provided this reaction through the Network for Policy Research, Review and Advice on Education and Training (NORRAG):

    The central challenge of this GMR, as outlined, would be its commitment to understanding and evaluating the notion of ‘disadvantage’, ‘vulnerability’, ‘social inclusion’, and more importantly, the contribution of skills development to this goal and its concomitant relationship to ‘growth’.

    It might well be useful to identify a firm distinction between advantage and disadvantage in different contexts. Thus in South Africa, racial categories, while useful as a starting point, might need to be nuanced with other socio-economic considerations. The role and functions of public (and private) institutions (enrolment, intake, policy development) would be especially valuable to unpack in this regard.

    In South Africa, the biggest problem is the extent to which the space for vulnerable groups, long identified in policy, have in fact been realised and the complexities in this regard, in the context of a globalised world order not really conducive to effective transformation. In a context of a national legislative arena that is pro-poor but in practice (in terms of legal challenge) is clearly more responsive to those that are more privileged, the reality of responsiveness to those disadvantaged groups is clearly limited.

    Important in unpacking the notions of ‘quality’ and ‘quantity’ at national level is the education and training and skills development provisioning at the intermediate level. Important also is the role of skills development agencies (and their effectiveness) in this regard. In this regard the role of Sector Education and Training Authorities is key, and, related thereto are the various funding mechanisms at national level.

    Important features for consideration (institutionally) include
    • Quality of TVET Provision
    – Nature of programmes
    – Throughput
    – Efficiency indicators
    – Partnerships (with industry)
    – Industry buy-in and linkages
    • Quantitative systematic features of TVET system
    – Enrolment Trends
    – Fee structure (in theory and practice)
    – Programmatic structure
    – Theory/Practice programmatic mix
    – Access to workplaces (and mechanisms in place to understand access)
    – Nature of context of private provision

    Role of skills development in growth
    The role of skill in growth is particularly significant. What will need to be examined are the various enabling factors that have contributed to growth, and more particularly, the way in which skills development has been cited (at national level) as a feature that has constrained growth.

    Important also is the extent to which skills have entered the national discourse as a mechanism that is considered to hamper growth. In South Africa, the notion of skills shortages, at least in some respects, is imagined, with little empirical evidence to suggest that they in fact exist.

  36. 39 NORRAG February 4, 2011 at 13:37

    Enrique Pieck, Universidad Iberoamerica, Mexico provided this reaction through the Network for Policy Research, Review and Advice on Education and Training (NORRAG):

    Though nobody wants to be left out of the globalizing process, at the same time it is becoming essential to respect local realities so as to come up with solutions that are relevant and of optimal quality. It is a matter of finding new options vis-à-vis a modernization that comes from the West and responds to different realities and different logics.

    Choosing to design programs with a local focus means adopting local logic. Such programs need to be designed in a way that rescues or makes use of the cultural yardsticks of the local groups, rather than rejecting the latter in accordance with external criteria and trying to impose rationalistic modes of thought and behavior. The homogenization of models deriving from globalization militates against diversity and the acknowledgement of differences, and also against an assessment of quality and relevance that is in keeping with local contexts. Education should incorporate diversity so as to take stock of diverse realities that require different responses. There can be no doubt that the proliferation of homogenizing approaches hampers our understanding of inner processes and blinds us to other important socio-cultural considerations that intervene when projects are implemented.

    We need to do research that uncovers what is hidden, and rescues local wisdom, respecting local time instead of trying to change it and using the available networks to share the said wisdom, creating conditions in which the abstract, self-serving discourse of the international organizations ceases to be the sole legitimate one.

  37. 40 NORRAG February 4, 2011 at 13:36

    Professor Simon McGrath, University of Nottingham (Editor of IJED) provided this reaction through the Network for Policy Research, Review and Advice on Education and Training (NORRAG):

    Ongoing work with the SADC region suggests that the first challenge in addressing the concerns with the GMR actually lies with TVET knowledge systems. There is universal concern amongst stakeholders in the region that it is difficult to see how genuine TVET reform can take place without adequate management information systems. However, the current situation is one of small pockets of excellence, some progress and huge weaknesses, even in supposedly advanced systems such as that of South Africa. Beyond this, there is a paucity of available evaluation reports, which makes it nigh impossible to say what has worked and what has not. Furthermore, there is almost no research capacity, within governments, in think tanks or in universities, to support system development.

  38. 41 NORRAG February 4, 2011 at 13:35

    Professor Rupert Maclean, (UNESCO Chair of TVET and Lifelong Learning) Hong Kong Institute of Education provided this reaction through the Network for Policy Research, Review and Advice on Education and Training (NORRAG):

    In developing countries, countries in transition and in fragile countries such as those in a post-conflict situation, most skills development for employability (TVET) does not occur in the formal education system, but through non-formal and informal means. This is particularly the case for disadvantage socio-economic groups in such countries, who do not have an equal opportunity to attend school, for woman and girls who are excluded from, or not encouraged to participate in, formal TVET, and for those who live in remote areas, where formal TVET is not that readily available. If a major priority of the 2012 GMR is with the situation concerning access to, and the quality assurance of, TVET for disadvantaged and marginalised groups, and with how best to achieve quality, relevance and equity for all sections of society regarding TVET skills development, it becomes essential that an attempt is made in the GMR 2012 to map comprehensively the non-formal and informal ways in which individuals and groups are exposed to and achieve skills development for employability, and to examine the interface and interrelationship amongst formal, non-formal and even informal delivery systems with regard to skills development for employability.

  39. 42 NORRAG February 4, 2011 at 13:35

    Dr. Law Song Seng, former CEO, Institute of Technical Education, Singapore provided this reaction through the Network for Policy Research, Review and Advice on Education and Training (NORRAG):

    TVET systems are dynamic. By nature, they are subject to forces driving change especially in an increasingly competitive knowledge economy. An integral part of the total national educational and training system, they play the crucial role in ensuring social inclusiveness by providing educational opportunities for the less-academically-inclined school leavers and enhancing job employability for all. They have a direct impact on the quality, productivity and competitiveness of the workforce and ability in sustaining economic growth. But, as TVET systems are themselves a subsystem of the wider society and nation of people, it would be difficult, if not impossible, to resolve the many challenges facing TVET without the concomitant political support, professional leadership, consensus among key stakeholders and a growing economy. An essential, underlying, fundamental principle is their close alignment with the skilled manpower needs for economic development. Another is the need to change their poor image. There are no secrets to success. But, it is in the interest of governments to ensure that the right policies, systems of governance, leadership and resources are in place to develop and build relevant, responsive and sustainable TVET systems. I believe a pragmatic approach in seeking practical solutions with a clear mission, vision and plan can make a real difference.

  40. 43 NORRAG February 4, 2011 at 13:33

    Professor Kenneth King, University of Edinburgh and editor of NORRAG news provided this reaction:

    Unlike some of the earlier GMRs, where effectively the focus was on the developing world, the Outline for the GMR 2012 makes clear that the problems of the marginalised with low or no skills are shared between richer and poorer countries. The Outline accordingly proposes to derive lessons from programmes for addressing learning and skills deficits whether in rich or poor countries. It expects to find lessons from skills programmes aimed at employment, in economically dynamic and socially inclusive societies. In other words, the Outline is on the look-out for insights from countries that combine dynamic economic growth with equity, whether such societies are classified as developed or developing. In addition, the concept note plans to assess how aid agencies can support government initiatives. Significantly, it expects to cover both traditional and so-called new donors (many of these, e.g. Brazil, China, India, S. Korea, have been donors for decades – see NN44). In respect of the ‘new donor countries’, it will assess what we can learn from their experience, and especially in the case of countries that have experienced dynamic growth, but attribute to skills development some of their growth success.

    Comment. It will be valuable to compare what can be learned from countries just mentioned, as well from Singapore and others. Even these five illustrate massive differences in skills provision, with China exemplifying very substantial school-based and institute-based skills training, and India providing tiny amounts of formal TVET, but planning for the most ambitious skills training the world has ever seen. India also points up a possible anomaly in the Outline which talks of the challenge ‘in the poorest countries’ of vulnerable populations in the informal sector. India actually has a hugely dynamic economy, yet it has over 90% of its current workforce in the unorganised or informal sector. A third example of skills in these ‘new donors’ comes from Brazil which has been exporting to the rest of Latin America key aspects of its famous SENAI approach to skills training since the mid-fifties (see NN44). Finally, it will be important to note that some of these ‘new donors’ may illustrate dynamic economies, but they are far from being socially inclusive.

  41. 44 NORRAG February 4, 2011 at 13:30

    Claudia Jacinto, IIEP, Buenos Aires (coordinator RedEtis) provided this reaction through the Network for Policy Research, Review and Advice on Education and Training (NORRAG):

    The Latin-American policies and recent experiences in the field tend to show that:

    There is a need to reinforce incentives for young people to remain in school and to promote the re-integration of drop-outs into the education system. In order to do so, successful initiatives in the vocational training field, including some flexible institutional and pedagogical approaches that take into account the complexity of the living conditions of the disadvantaged, may be transferred into mainstream education.

    But when second chance opportunities are needed, one of the most promising strategies to cope with skills development (SD) of the marginalized are the second chance programs that link VT and basic or secondary diplomas. They are double-qualification pathways providing qualifications for work and further education. The Report can contribute in-depth information about processes and boundaries to build links between different types of skills development (secondary education and vocational training, working places, training for work). There is a common consensus that the creation of a more flexible and articulate system should:
    • Provide diverse options for basic and secondary education completion
    • Provide bridges between different fields of education or between professional experiences and return to training
    • Develop mechanisms for the validation of knowledge and competencies acquired in the working experience

    Another key factor within this flexibility framework is how to assure quality and institutional learning at training centers by promoting flexible learning arrangements while adapting to the demand. But the demand should be conceived of both in the market and socially. In fact, market demand is key to developing pertinent training but social demand needs also to be taken into account: it is the so called “double pertinence model”. People’s behaviours in accessing SD are normally oriented by their expectations and motivations towards improving their well-being, their jobs and their social participation. These expectations should be considered in quality SD systems oriented to social cohesion. Some interesting experiences illustrating this approach should be studied deeply to develop orientations that this Report would provide.

  42. 45 NORRAG February 4, 2011 at 13:28

    Claudio de Moura Castro, Positivo Group, Brazil (formerly ILO & IDB), provided this reaction through the Network for Policy Research, Review and Advice on Education and Training (NORRAG):

    Why should we offer skills training? In essence, there are two answers. The first is to respond to the economic needs of the productive sector. This is clearly the case in growing economies. The second is a matter of social policy, to respond to the needs of individuals, some of them quite dispossessed, especially during crisis.

    From all we know, systems that chose the first reason have been quite successful. The training increased productivity and many people benefited. In contrast, those acting on social motives tended to fail. Neither the economic gains nor the social benefits materialized. After all, if graduates did not get jobs, how could anybody have gained?

    Given the remarkable performance of BRICS, contrasted to the crisis of the rich nations, the training scene has been reshuffled. The geography of success in training has changed. Be that as it may, what can we say about the role of training in the case of stagnant economies, rich or poor, where jobs are not being created? Will the GMR offer help to answer this question?

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Développement des compétences des jeunes et des adultes : donner leurs chances aux groupes marginalisés

Cette note présente les principaux thèmes qui seront couverts dans le rapport.

La adquisición de competencias: ampliar las posibilidades para los grupos marginados

En esta nota se esbozan los principales temas que figurarán en el Informe.