|Establishing Partnership in Technical and Vocational Education - Co-operation between Educational Institutions and Enterprises in Technical and Vocational Education - A Seminar for Key Personnel from Africa and Asia - Berlin, Germany, 02-12 May 1995 (UNEVOC, 1995, 168 p.)|
The author, Mr Matthias REICHEL, is a free lance contributor to UNEVOC Berlin.
(1) Background: The Challenge
Technical and vocational education is facing new challenges. As one participant of the seminar put it: "the future is not what the past used to be".
Liberalisation of trade and technological progress increase the speed of change in the world of work. In developed and developing countries non-competitive industries cannot rely anymore on being safeguarded by the protective measures of domestic governments. The pressure to adopt the most efficient technologies and patterns of work is universal. The desired result - higher productivity - has a twofold effect on employment opportunities in industry. This is
· on the one hand the number of jobs in the modem industrial sector diminishes. Generally, the formal sector in developing countries cannot absorb the growing number of people, qualified or not, seeking jobs;
· on the other hand, the remaining jobs frequently require a higher standard of skills.
Those who cannot find formal employment resort to the informal sector and traditional subsistence activities. An unaccountable number of enterprises is set up -micro-enterprises that occupy virtually all niches left unattended by the market economy. Those entrepreneurs who progress in this sector often are limited in their development by the lack of managerial, administrative and sometimes technical skills. On the other hand, many graduates with formal certificates find themselves with a training that neither qualifies them for a job in the modem sector nor gives them the entrepreneurial skills to set up their own businesses.
All this is not a temporary phenomenon; but it will probably characterise the start of the next millennium. New approaches to reform systems, and to the contents and delivery of technical and vocational education, are necessary. These are not easy to find. First, the market for the "products" of technical and vocational education offers no exact price signals to which to react. Education systems produce for future markets. The "production time" is long and shifts in demand can be at short notice. Secondly, a "good" education system has even more complex tasks than that of being responsive to the signals of an assumed labour market. Social objectives, like individual development needs, access and equity, integration of minorities, gender issues etc., have to be included within its design. Thus, the question needs to be asked: how can technical and vocational education systems be made more responsive to changing demands of the world of work, on the one hand, and to personal and social needs on the other?
(2) Objectives of the Seminar
The task of UNEVOC is to facilitate, as much as possible, the process of finding answers to the above types of questions. Also, it has the task of supporting the implementation of adequate problem-solving strategies and of programmes that reflect these answers.
Therefore, the specific objectives of the seminar were:
· To clarify the issues related to this area of co-operation.
This was achieved by stimulating an interchange of views and concepts of technical and vocational education and work-place enterprises held by the participants, with respect to their own particular countries.
· To develop strategies for achieving such cooperation.
This was achieved by the participants identifying the problems for such co-operation within their own countries, and the experiences they had of successful strategies for overcoming these problems.
· To elaborate on the recommendations made by participants.
This was a significant element of the seminar. These recommendations were expected to have a practical character in order to make them operational.
· To plan follow-up activities.
It was suggested that participants should carry out these in their home countries and that UNESCO should consider them for further support. There are plans to monitor the progress of the implementation of these activities within UNEVOC.
· To produce a substantial report.
In order to spread the results of the seminar to other interested parties, and, in order to highlight the importance of the subjects discussed, the importance of a final report was stressed. During the seminar the form and contents of this report were explicitly considered.
· To further develop UNEVOC.
The UNEVOC Project has only existed for three years and is still defining its role. It was expected that the participants would make a substantial contribution to the further planning of UNEVOC activities.
The variety of approaches in the seminar papers contained in this report, gives insight into commonalties within and differences among the problems in the participating African countries, and among the concepts of the international players. The contributions on issues in technical and vocational education in Germany were aimed at demonstrating how certain features, like the common development of curricula, can be managed, and how co-operation among the parties involved can be stimulated and institutionalised through the use of laws. The objective of this part of the seminar was to transmit the idea of social partnership as a successful policy to encounter economic and social problems.
In order to obtain the maximum benefit of the two weeks seminar for both UNESCO and the participants, UNESCO selected participants carefully. These participants were decision makers from technical and vocational education institutions and from enterprises in the sub-Saharan countries - Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Swaziland and Uganda. One of these nine participants was the chairperson of a national training board. Two participants came from the human resource departments of large African companies. These represented the world of work. The participants also included 13 people from China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Viet Nam. These were invited by the German Foundation for International Development (DSE). Other persons who were invited were lecturers and heads in universities and polytechnics.
UNEVOC asked participants to submit, at the preparatory stage of the seminar, the following: a summary of their contributions, a paper addressing the problems with, and possible solutions to, co-operation, which they wished to discuss, and a brief curriculum vitae. These documents were mailed to the other participants. This supplied them with sound background information for the seminar. Included in the background material were two country studies on technical and vocational education in Swaziland and Uganda. These documents are included in this report (see page 53 ff. and page 76 ff.).
All participants were required to submit their individual contributions in a written form at the commencement of the event. This thorough preparation allowed them, during the first week, to present and discuss all the country cases, and to draft some conclusions.
During the second week, the 13 participants from Asia, who had spent their first week in Mannheim, Germany, learning about the German Dual System, joined the African group. The programme of the second week provided for the exchange of experiences between the two groups, and the elaboration on the findings obtained during the first week. It was the first time the organising units, DSE and UNEVOC, had co-operated in this way and, due to the positive results, further interaction is intended (see the greetings addresses on page 7 ff.)
The programme for the event combined presentations of country-cases by the participants, of features of the German model by German experts and of reflections on the topic by international experts. Provision was made for considerable discussion on the presentations. The identification of the key problems and the drafting of the final document was done by the participants' working groups.
(5) Why Co-operate?
There is universal agreement that strengthening cooperation between educational institutions and enterprises is a very significant strategy for tackling the current pitfalls of technical and vocational education in most African countries. Scope for action exists. Experiences of co-operation, and examples of it, are available. These were introduced in the Seminar. Several factors behind the motivation to co-operate in technical and vocational education were identified. The various ways in which all parties involved, not only those at the work place, can profit from co-operation were explored during the seminar, and the following were the conclusions:
· Students benefit from an early introduction to the real world of work by becoming aware of what is going to be expected of them. Their prospects on the labour market rise as a result of practical work experiences. Finally, the possibility to obtain a small additional income is very significant.
· Educational institutions need the advice of the world of work to adapt their curricula to the needs of the labour market, to have access to the latest technology and to guarantee teacher training. Additional sources of income from joint projects with enterprises may be tapped.
· Enterprises can profit directly from co-operation at different levels and, thus, secure the provision of a well skilled labour force. They can identify, at an early stage, students with the greatest potential, for a future long term contract. They may be able to acquire labour at a reduced cost. The exchange of knowledge and know-how, and the joint undertaking of research and development projects, have potential for lifting productivity. The experience, by students and teachers, of life within an enterprise and the participation in the renewal and adaptation of teaching and training programs to suit productive work, are of considerable value.
· The society and its institutions, like the government or trade unions, benefit from the indirect effects of co-operation. It is evident that effective designs of technical and vocational education, at the systems level, in democratic market economies only evolve by close co-operation with and agreement of social partners and government institutions. Tripartite training boards, defining legal structures and adequate policies, are a case in point.
Two lessons learned regarding the implementation of co-operation were:
· The work place itself provides a most valuable environment for systematic vocational training. But enterprises are profit-maximising entities. Thus, they are reluctant to train students, because, in the short run, training at the work place requires attention from experienced staff, can occupy costly machinery with inexperienced personnel and therefore slow down the production process. The possible advantages, however, are considerable. It is imperative that enterprises be convinced to take a long-term-view on this investment. This is a daunting task, considering the difficult macroeconomic environment prevailing in all of the participating countries.
· In order to exploit fully these potential payoffs, an adequate design for co-operation must be found for each country and for every economic sector-according to the cultural, social and economic settings. Experience from other countries where cooperation has been and still is successful, suggests that government action that is designed to provide an effective framework is an indispensable prerequisite.
(6) The Contributions
This section supplies a content analysis of the documents included in the Report. It is aimed at guiding the reader through the individual contributions and facilitate the identification of texts for further reading.
Part (6.1) introduces, on a comparative basis, the main findings of the contributions made by the African participants in their presentations and discussions.
Part (6.2) (page 15) outlines the results of the work of the Asian group during the seminar.
Part (6.3) (page 15) covers:
· a suggested analytical framework for classification of technical and vocational education systems,
· the information provided on the German context and content of technical and vocational education, as far as it is considered relevant for the international context, and
· the approaches and strategies of the international actors to prepare technical and vocational education systems for the present and future challenges.
(6.1) African Experiences
For the purpose of a clearer identification of key problems, the following analysis is broken down to: experiences and structures of co-operation at the policy/systems level, and an overview of problems at the training level. The concept of co-operation is applicable at both levels.
In a nutshell:
Some characteristics of technical and vocational education often found in African countries1 :
· poor basic education and high rate of illiteracy
· difficult access to technical and vocational education for large parts of the population (women and girls; minorities; handicapped persons etc.),
· no individual resources to finance costs of education or training
· high rate of population growth
System level/vocational training policy:
· low status of technical and vocational education
· no tradition of co-operation in technical and vocational education
· poor management and large administration combined with low budgets
· inappropriate infrastructure
1 Cf BMZ, "Sector Concept Vocational Training"
Experiences and Structures of Co-operation at the Policy/Systems Level
The two South African papers gave a concrete example of the development of a national strategy for qualification, the National Training Strategy Initiative. The recently initiated transformation of the South African society requires the re-designing of the whole education system. Departing from the typical setting described in the above box, the recent developments in this country have created an atmosphere where a realistic re-thinking of educational strategies is possible. At the same time the magnitude of change is so vast that co-operation at the policy level is imperative. Consequently all stakeholders (government, private sector, trade unions and providers of technical and vocational education) are involved in reforming the subsector. Special attention has been put on the representative character of the commission responsible for the reform. The process of decision making within this framework is considered as important as the outcome. A human resource development system in which there is an integrated approach to education and training is the goal of this strategy. Its details are still under development.
The paper of Dr Eberlein (see page 27), chairperson of the National Training Board, gives a precise description of the developments so far of the South African National Training Strategy Initiative. In it he explains the integrative design of the system. The contribution of Dr Verster (see page 33), Corporate Human Resources Development Consultant for the South African power supplier, ESKOM, analyses the qualification strategy from the point of view of a large company and the implementation action being taken. ESKOM is systematically integrating and monitoring all learning activities within the company, striving for their accreditation at a national level. Close co-operation with educational institutions and boards is the most important tool. Social investment in skills development is also part of the ESKOM strategy. It is felt that this is necessary to meet the company's future skills needs. Various activities designed to establish a skills-respect culture are part of this approach.
At the policy level South Africa is the only one of the participating countries that has already initiated the redefinition and re-structuring of the technical and vocational education system. In the sub-Saharan region the co-operative nature of this approach can serve as a model to other countries. The question of the transfer-ability of national technical and vocational education systems, or elements of it, was repeatedly discussed by participants. A vision of where to go and how to get there is the basis for a successful policy and is the important lesson that is reflected in the final document, presented by the participants.
In the remaining participating countries, the approaches toward co-operation at the policy level have a more country-specific character.
In Nigeria, the Student Industrial Works Experience Scheme was introduced some years ago in order to provide practical training opportunities. It is managed by a semi-governmental type of institution, the Industrial Training Fund. The paper of Ms Odugbesan, rector of the Yaba College of Technology (see page 39), analyses the performance of this system since its inception. Mr Popoola, Head of Human Resources at Guinness, Nigeria (see page 43), criticises the weaknesses in the political capacity of the governmental agencies involved. He suggests that a stronger cooperation in political decision making would be a good way to improve technical and vocational education in Nigeria. It would also diminish the observed reluctance of the large Nigerian companies to co-operate at the training level.
Similarly, in the case of Uganda, the lack of institutional capacity for co-operation is highlighted by Dr Manyindo, Senior Lecturer of the Uganda Polytechnic at Kyambogo (see page 45) and Prof. E. Lugujjo. They suggested that, as a primary step towards the focusing of attention of political and economic decision makers on the problems of technical and vocational education in their country, they should be alerted to the problems.
The contribution of Dr Rwendeire, Principal of the Uganda Polytechnic at Kyambogo, and Dr B. Manyindo, gives the first steps that are needed to succeed within this new concept. These are derived from the results and methodology of a workshop carried out by his institution. This is a remarkable initiative of an educational institution to become actively involved in the political process and to foster co-operation. Other educational institutions can draw upon the experiences presented in this contribution.
In Swaziland, the political structures for co-operation traditionally exist. The presentation by Mr Lukhele, from the Examinations Council, analyses the rationale for this co-operation. Technical and vocational education policy is formulated by a tripartite board. Political responsibility at the systems level is divided between the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Labour and the Public Service.
Efforts are being made in Swaziland to introduce vocational education at secondary schools. The presentation by Dr Mndebele, lecturer at the University of Swaziland and head of the department of agricultural education and extension, and Mr L.B. Lukhele, presents a vocational educational planning model. The model is applied to the socio-economic setting of Swaziland. This is characterised by a small industrial sector, a large informal and traditional sector, and a high rate of population growth. Technical and vocational education must, in response to this, prepare students for possible self employment in these sectors. It must also focus on a regional approach which would facilitate the employment of persons with vocational skills in neighbouring countries (South Africa).
It was suggested that this model could be used in other developing countries to analyse social and economic factors prior to the launching of a vocational curriculum.
Also included in this report is a study on "Enhancing Co-operation between Technical and Vocational Education and the Economy in Swaziland". It was prepared for the UNESCO by Mr Mndebele and Mr Lukhele in 1993 and provides a substantial description and analysis of the relevant issues and problems. It calls for policy measures and resource allocations to improve the system.
In Kenya, close co-operation between educational institutions and enterprises exists. Technical and vocational education has been expanded recently to cater for the various groups within the economy. Dr Kerre, Director of the African Curriculum Centre at Kenyatta University, offers, in his paper, a precise analysis of the legal and policy framework. An Industrial Training Act regulates since 1960 (amendment in 1971) the training of persons engaged in Industry. It includes training levy orders. Nevertheless, there is missing in it, as in the other countries, the delineation of an effective mechanism and a clear policy for co-operation. It is critical to develop such a mechanism in order to make full use of the advantages of co-operation and to balance effectively the needs of the various stakeholders.
Co-operation at the Training Level
It is evident from the papers of this report that variation exists among countries in the degree of co-operation between educational institutions and enterprises at the policy level. It is even more evident that the perception and identification of key problems of co-operation at the training level, varies more widely. In part, these problems can be considered as resulting from the lack of defined policies toward the educational subsector.
The problems include:
The mismatch of curricula in technical and vocational education with the needs of the enterprises is a key issue, not only in the African countries but also world-wide. In the African countries, the relevance and appropriateness of the curricula for preparing students for the world of work is not reviewed on a regular basis. While companies are concerned about inadequate qualification of students, their participation in curriculum development is low. Equally, educational institutions are reluctant to revise their curricula. They tend to stick to traditional teaching material and methods. Many participants urged the setting up of mixed curricula review commissions and also that more initiatives to be taken by both parties. Substantial proposals were developed in most of the contributions to this Report.
The papers from Nigeria analyse in depth the problems of transmitting to students the important practical experiences in the world of work. The problems refer to all areas of attachment. For instance, the number of training places offered by industry is patently insufficient. Often students are exploited as cheap labour for work which does not offer them any kind of skill improvement. In other cases the remuneration does not even cover the transport costs. If students are confronted with this kind of treatment their motivation drops.
A common problem is the inadequate supervision of attachments by the academic staff. Combined with this, in some cases, is the irrelevance of the attachment. This leads to poor performance by the students of practical work.
More incentives to co-operate are needed. The recommendations made by the participants include, on the one hand, government intervention in the form of training levies, and on the other hand, a better marketing of the potential advantages of industrial attachment to students and enterprises alike.
Kerre suggests a whole catalogue of possible actions. Technical and vocational education is intended to give students the relevant key qualifications needed in the world of work. A widespread observation in African countries is that there exists:
· low and/or obsolete qualifications of teachers and trainers, and
· incomplete and/or obsolete technical training equipment in the institutions.
The participants offered a wide range of practical advice on how to overcome these difficulties. Essentially, intensifying co-operation with enterprises and developing different schemes of exchange of staff, were considered to be the best solutions.
Some contributors criticised poor management and self marketing of the institutions. Kerre and Odugbesan described successful activities of their institutions, such as offering research and consulting services for payment of services. An increased offering of further training for companies for a fee, was also suggested. Rwendeire proposed "fund-raising by friend-raising". This referred to the above mentioned workshop carried out by the polytechnics in order to alert decision makers within technical and vocational education to these problems.
On the other hand it was pointed out that most large African enterprises are bound to neglect their training activities. Popoola and Kerre mentioned the short term orientation that inhibits adequate training of future employees. The activities of ESKOM, as presented by Verster, are a excellent example of a more socially acceptable approach; although undertaken by a financially powerful company.
Up-to-date and comprehensive databases are the backbone of a technical and vocational education system that matches the demand of the labour market. A faultless forecast is not possible. But a comprehensive and reliable information system at least allows for the recognition of future trends and problems so that students can make more effective career decisions. This information also serves to sensitise policy makers, at national and international levels, to the significance exigencies of technical and vocational education. The study of Mndebele demonstrated how helpful this kind of data can be for the further development of technical and vocational education.
Many skilled, and even highly skilled, persons have not obtained qualification within the formal technical and vocational education systems in African countries. Thus, they do not have any kind of certification for their skills. However, in order to improve their chances in the labour market and make their proficiency level more transparent to potential employers, or, in the case of the self employed, to the customers, and in order to gain access to the formal education system, efforts are being made formally to recognise prior learning. In South Africa private sector activities are represented by the Private Sector Caucus. This body has published a position paper representing the interests of business in respect to current and future developments in education and training.
Effective co-operation today must also redress the results of the inequalities from the past. This includes the provision of basic skills, like reading and writing, for persons who have already entered the world of work.
The biggest preoccupation of the participants was the fact that all the action undertaken to improve technical and vocational education would not solve the problem of unemployment in African countries. With the exception of South Africa, industry, and other sectors relevant to technical and vocational education, are not strongly represented in the African economies. As mentioned before, the limited demand of these sectors and the rapid growth of population, accentuate the unemployment problems. Various strategies to tackle these challenges were offered. Manyindo referred to a project that fosters co-operation with small scale industry. This, he observed, had considerable potential for job creation. Participants agreed that the integration of business skills in technical education was crucial. An alternative arrangement was to explore the potential of the informal sector by preparing students for self employment. This strategy has been chosen by Swaziland and Kenya. Regional integration can facilitate the migration of skilled labour to places where sufficient numbers of jobs are available. These tactics can be a solution for small countries like Swaziland. Nevertheless, technical and vocational education in this context has to provide basic skills, and provide more advanced skills only when necessary. Co-operation with industry is even more crucial in order to attract foreign investment and thus, create employment. The experience of some Asian countries demonstrates that the existence of a skilled workforce is a significant asset for economic development.
(6.2) Asian Experiences
A summary of the work and experiences of the Asian group during the first and second week of the seminar is given in the paper "Dual, Co-operative Training Systems - An Alternative for Advanced Developing Countries in Asia?". The author, Dr Wallenborn, Head of Department at the "Industrial Occupations Promotion Centre" of DSE in Mannheim introduces the work of this centre. Then he documents the results of the Asian working groups: Five core problems of technical and vocational education had been identified and solutions suggested. This paper reveals that the main problems in Asia and Africa are similar.
(6.3) International and German Expertise
An Analytical Framework
A theoretical approach to classifying initial technical and vocational education systems implemented in different nations is presented in the first paper of chapter 4. It provides a point of reference for analysing advantages and disadvantages of technical and vocational education systems. Prof. Dr Greinert (see page 106), Professor at the Technological University of Berlin and author of this well known classification, differentiates systems according to the form and magnitude of government intervention. In his paper he presents, as the latest results of his research, an additional regulating factor for technical and vocational education systems that is especially relevant for African countries. This is regulation by tradition. By further looking at the successful technical and vocational education systems it appears that an adequate integration of all three types of regulation within the systems is essential to their attaining high efficiency. On the other hand, this sophisticated form of regulation requires a complex structure. This makes it very difficult for other countries to introduce these systems, or elements of it, to their national system.
The German Dual System
The invitation to Germany made it possible to introduce participants to elements of the German Dual System and to exchange information from the international environment. This was considered valuable to the Seminar because this system is an example of co-operation between technical and vocational education institutions and the world of work.
Mr Iwanowitsch, Head of a large German enterprise, analyses five pre-conditions that determine the performance of the Dual System in Germany. The conclusions he draws have repercussions for system design in developing countries.
The work of the principal instigator of the German system - the German Federal Institute for Vocational Training (Bundesinstitut fur Berufsbildung - BIBB) -was highlighted by presentations of several members of its staff. This Institute is located in the same building as UNEVOC Berlin. The discussion of these contributions during the seminar always ended up addressing the question: are these policies practical in the settings of African countries? The BIBB contribution revealed the highly institutionalised tripartite cooperation in Germany. The presentations conveyed the fundamental principle of the Dual System; that is, the state is a regulator rather than an imposing agency (Tarifautonomie). If intervention is considered necessary, it is done by incentives rather than by punishment.
For example, the issue of promoting women in male dominated vocations. Further, trade unions are fully involved and expected to contribute, such as through curriculum development. Entrepreneurs generally accept social responsibility and investment to prevent government intervention. On the other hand, it is obvious that the Dual System has its weaknesses and is exposed to macroeconomic problems. Due to its regulated structure, the German Dual system has been slow to react to these challenges.
This criticism was asserted, during a panel discussion, by a representative of the regional association of employers in the metal and electrical industry and of the metal workers' trade union2 . Structural change in Germany, especially in the new Länder of the former German Democratic Republic, has diminished industrial employment and seriously affected the numbers of training places offered by enterprises. Although the German government assumes responsibility for a sufficient amount of training places it has no direct means of creating them. It can only call on the social responsibility of employers and ultimately threaten them with the imposition of stricter legislation, or with training levies. In doing so they could count on the support of the trade unions. These traditionally favour state intervention to foster their demands.
2 The panel is not documented in this report
The panellists also discussed innovative training schemes. Some of these were:
· Siemens. This company has recently set up its own technical and vocational school, where new curricula are tested and the results are publicised. The government finances 90 % of the costs of this scheme.
· The trend, particularly in the new Länder, is for an increase of training places offered in the small scale industry. As a new third leg of the Dual System, inter-company training centres are being tested. They permit smaller enterprises to offer, in a cost-effective way, training places in high-technology areas.
· Some German companies involved in training have taken a more direct approach to represent their interests. Evidence for the genuine interest of the German industry in qualified workers is shown by the creation of an association for qualification called the "Q-Association". This Association was formed about four years ago by companies like Siemens, AEG and Daimler Benz. Now it has more than 150 members and is present in different European countries. It co-operates on the international scene, mainly through the USA and some Asian countries. Its main goals are to develop and support workplace oriented, modem vocational training and to increase the social acceptance of vocational skills. Its main instruments are trade fairs for Management and Professional Qualification. They are held annually in Hannover. In addition, in 1995 for the first time, a fair was held in Asia.
· Part of the exposure of participants to co-operation between educational institutions and enterprises was a visit to the industrial training site of AEG - one of the largest German manufacture companies. Here, modem equipment is constantly available to the apprentices. The independent organisation structure of the centre leaves room for entrepreneurial behaviour. The training and re-training of personnel from external companies is offered and the costs are covered by charging fees.
Sources of International Assistance
Two short papers on the work of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) (see page 125 ff. and page 127 ff.) are given in the following documentation. The first introduces a substantial study by Ms Mitchell, Senior Training Adviser. The ILO is carrying out this study in order to identify policies and strategies that foster strategic training partnerships between the state and enterprises. The second, by Dr Reichling - Director of the Training Department - addresses the main questions concerning training: quality, responsiveness, and efficiency. Both papers come to the conclusion that intensive co-operation between industry and educational institutions is crucial to the improving of technical and vocational education, with respect to these attributes.
The guideline to the German Federal Ministry for Economic Co-operation in terms of the International Context is given in a document called "Sector Concept - Vocational Training" (see page 128 ff.). All projects sponsored by this Ministry have to be in line with the concepts submitted in that policy paper. Vocational training is considered essential, but not in itself sufficient, for the development of the economy and society. At the same time, it is seen as a major precondition for economic growth, for equal social opportunities and for social change. This document states that "many developing countries and donor organisations are becoming increasingly interested in co-operative forms of training...". It offers a comprehensive analysis of the most common weak points of training systems in the developing countries. It strongly argues that target groups from the informal sector should be considered. The recommendations are very much in line with the recommendations of the African group, elaborated during the seminar.
(7) Summary of the Recommendations of the African Group
The following paragraphs summarise the results of the discussions during the seminar. The full text of the recommendations and conclusions enunciated by the African group is given in chapter 5 (see page 140 ff.).
The potential gain from the co-operation of technical and vocational education with the world of work is not fully utilised. The problems stated in the contributions to this report are not new - but they are becoming more compelling. Strategic and practical solutions at the political and educational level have been submitted. However, neither discussion of them, much less their implementation, has yet begun.
The cardinal finding of the seminar is that policy makers, educational institutions and enterprises are not fully aware of the significance and benefits of cooperation between technical and vocational educational institutions and the world of work. UNESCO has made efforts to get technical and vocational education on the agenda as a development priority (e.g. the Convention on Technical and Vocational Education of 1989, see Appendix, page 163 ff.). Participants appreciated these efforts and expressed concern over the apparent lack of progress in their implementation. It was concluded that a really effective strategy is needed to tackle this problem. To insist on the development of a definitive policy and vision for technical and vocational education, was identified as the crucial task. It was thought to be imperative to create more awareness of the current problems of technical and vocational education and of the potential contribution that increased partnership between educational institutions and enterprises could make to solve them. Then, further action and improved co-operation would proceed more smoothly and efficiently.
In order to improve the image and status of technical and vocational education, a mobilising, attention-focusing initiative was proposed. The question of what technical and vocational education is doing for itself to enhance its image and status reflects the underlying philosophy of this initiative and its key players, namely the present incumbents in technical and vocational occupations. The attention focusing action would consist of:
· declaring the year 1997 as the year of technical and vocational education
· organising a Skills Olympics
· convincing relevant national and international bodies to thrust forward technical and vocational education,
It was also determined that among the most critical issues in technical and vocational education are the training of trainers and access and equity.
The proposed instrument to address these issues in the most efficient manner is the development of regional strategic plans. These plans are developed in workshops and planning seminars. They must
· define the vision
· determine how to achieve it
· describe how to implement it, and
· delineate how to monitor the implementation.
The working mandate of UNEVOC enables this Project to assume a significant role in the development and realisation of these plans. According to the objectives of the event, participants have developed in the final document an action plan for UNEVOC and its network in this context. It includes:
· the strengthening of UNEVOC Centres
· the alerting of relevant people to the vital importance of this development through seminars at national, subregional and regional level
· the promoting of co-operation between educational institutions and enterprises
· the supporting of the reform and improvement of curricula
· the assisting in the mobilisation of resources.
The final document is not merely a declaration of good will. It renders an entire strategy with specific proposals for action, implementation and control. The follow-up activities to be undertaken by the participants and by UNESCO, within UNEVOC, are outlined. Follow-up activities have started the process of making operative the implementing and monitoring proposals.