Challenges and opportunities for TVET in Africa
It is a great challenge and a great opportunity to plan and organize a school in an African country. A technical school. The demand for skilled workers is extremely high. The number of young people are growing. This entire young people needs education. Many households are extremely poor.
Image:African Economic Outlook
Without question, Africa is the poorest region in the world. Not only is the rest of the world six times richer than Africa, GDP per person has grown at a faster rate. These numbers are significant because they do not simply represent the macro-economic realities that governments in African countries must manage; they also translate to the circumstances in which millions of people live their lives. The numbers translate to the additional 50 million people in Africa living in extreme poverty today than did in 1990. They translate to the millions of babies, children, and mothers that die annually because they cannot afford life-saving medication. They translate to skyrocketing unemployment which reduces the barriers to youth involvement in terroristic activities (World Bank, Mai 2016).
Africa is experiencing, and will continue to experience population growth over the next several decades. Now home to 1.1 billion people, by 2050 the United Nations estimates that Africa’s population will reach 2.48 billion; by 2100, 4.39 billion people, a majority of whom will be youth (World Bank, Mai 2016).
Many of this people will move to the towns and many will live in slum areas. We will find millions of young people in the slums that need education. This is a challenge and an opportunity. The challenge is there when we look at the big number of young people that may lack education and we do nothing. The possibility is there when we look at the big number of young people educated and building the country.
We need a global wave of social entrepreneurship to create highly motivating, low costs ways to learn at scale in the developing countries, Charles Leadbeater said in a TED talk: “Education innovation in the slums”. He says that we need radical thinking on the education system. New technology has created new possibilities. A radical thinking on the educational system in how we learn is more possible and more needed than ever.
Skills acquisition is vital for an economy to compete and grow, particularly in an era of economic integration and technological change. Skill needs are widespread in most developing countries - they are not only demanded by the modern wage sector but also by the agricultural and informal sectors. Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) is a direct means of providing workers with skills more relevant to the evolving needs of employers and the economy.
African economies have experienced fundamental changes over the past decade. Many have undergone structural adjustment and policies have favoured increased market liberalization. Important initiatives have also taken place in vocational skills development in the face of growing deterioration in public financing of training systems. Cash-strapped systems have sought financing from new sources. Partnerships have developed through training authorities that have taken the management of skills development in some countries. Private training markets have appeared and grown. Training for the informal sector has come to the forefront in view of the growing scarcity of formal wage employment. In general, skills development is seen by many governments as an increasingly important factor in the multi-pronged drive to enhance productivity, stimulate economic competitiveness and raise people out of poverty. However, vocational skills development is also known to be costly and difficult for governments to get it right. It is a field in which it is crucial constantly to learn from experience, and to share knowledge (World Bank).
When we start a technical school in an African country, we need to build on radical thinking about education and use the new possibilities the new technology has created. We will build partnerships to modernise and develop vocational skills. We call it Nobel Knowledge Building.