|Developments in Technical and Vocational Education: A Comparative Study - Trends and Issues in Technical and Vocational Education (UNESCO, 1978, 144 p.)|
Countries undertaking the enormous task of restructuring, reorienting and expanding their educational systems to meet development needs are devoting more and more attention to the role of technical and vocational education. Indeed, political leaders, economic planners and educators in many countries appear to consider the development of technical and vocational education as the keystone of an educational system best adapted to the individual and the society in which he or she lives. In recent years, progress has been made not only in expanding technical and vocational education to meet skilled manpower needs but also in terms of broad reform directed at making education as a whole more responsive to social and economic development requirements. Countries engaged in this process are thus seeking the means by which obstacles to progress may be most rapidly and effectively removed.
Unesco has been involved for a number of years in promoting the development of technical and vocational education in many areas of the world. Recently, however, these efforts have taken on a new dimension as virtually all countries have been engaged in rethinking their educational systems and have concluded that a much larger place must be given to technical and vocational education if education is to be responsive to contemporary conditions. With the adoption by its General Conference, at its eighteenth session in November 1974, of the Revised Recommendation concerning Technical and Vocational Education, Unesco acquired a comprehensive set of internationally accepted policy guidelines covering all aspects of technical and vocational education and its role within education as a whole.
On the basis of the provisions contained in this Revised Recommendation under the heading International Co-operation,1 Unesco is currently engaged in developing information resources directed particularly to the needs of developing countries, and in promoting their distribution worldwide. This information strategy is designed to disseminate information concerning issues and innovations in technical and vocational education so that Member States may benefit from common experiences; but it is also intended actively to promote the collection, analysis and evaluation of information as well as the carrying out of research concerning problems in technical and vocational education and possible solutions.
1. See Appendix I, Revised Recommendation concerning Technical and Vocational Education, paras. 93-100, on pages 134-5.
The present study has been prepared with the above objectives in mind. It is a report on, and a comparative analysis of, the experience of twenty-three developing countries: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Burma, Chile, Costa Rica, Ethiopia, India, Ivory Coast, Jordan, Kenya, the Republic of Korea, Liberia, Malaysia, Nepal, Nigeria, Panama, Paraguay, Sierra Leone, Thailand, Uganda, Upper Volta and Uruguay. The material upon which the study is based was made available by these countries on the occasion of their participation in the International Conference on Technical and Vocational Education, sponsored in 1976 by the United States Office of Education in co-operation with Unesco and the Inter-American Development Bank. Participants in the meeting were requested to prepare country reports and these provide a clear picture of the present state of technical and vocational education in a fair sample of developing countries, as well as common problems of development and general trends in innovation.
The country reports were prepared according to guidelines provided by Unesco. The guidelines, reproduced in Appendix II, are divided into two major parts. The first calls for a profile of technical and vocational education in the country; while the second requests an analysis of the problems faced by the country in developing technical and vocational education and of the innovations undertaken to solve these problems. This study follows the same pattern, with Chapters 2-5 sketching a general profile of technical and vocational education in these countries, and Chapter 6 dealing with common problems of development and trends in innovation.
It is evident from the reports that the twenty-three countries are making considerable efforts to develop and expand technical and vocational education within the context of overall educational reform, despite the obstacles barring the way. In the last five years, broad policies for outer reform have been adopted which often represent a marked departure from traditional approaches to education, and new structures are being created. These new policies and reforms have as their major goal the creation of more flexible educational structures and greater educational opportunities in accordance with the concept of lifelong education. Technical and vocational education has come to occupy a large place in these new approaches because of the interlinked problems (which in fact confront numerous countries at all levels of development) of lack of skilled manpower for economic development and high rates of under- and unemployment among the products of the traditional education systems. Yet if technical and vocational education is to contribute to solving these problems, its implementation requires in many countries a series of inner reforms and improvements of technical and vocational education itself. The central issue is to determine those areas in which action towards inner reform and improvement may most effectively be taken and in which this action will have the broadest impact; that is, areas where urgent practical measures may be taken to answer immediate needs while at the same time serving longer range development goals. The major purpose of this study is to aid in identifying such areas for action by helping Member States of Unesco to exchange information and share their experience in technical and vocational education.