Youth unemployment is a major concern of many African governments. According to the African Economic Outlook of 2010, over 20% of the youth population of about 200 million in sub-Saharan Africa were either unemployed or in low-paid or precarious jobs. This has therefore changed the ideology of many African societies from going through formal education, acquiring a degree and being integrated in one company or enterprise to undergoing technical and vocational training, which entails exploiting their talents and gaining skills.
What is Technical and Vocational Education?
Technical and vocational education is used as a broad term referring to those aspects of the educational process, which outside general education involves the study of technologies and related sciences, and the achievement of practical skills, attitudes, understanding and knowledge relating to occupations in various sectors of economic and social life. It also refers to intentional interventions to bring about learning which would make people more productive in designated areas of economic activity such as economic sectors, occupations, specific work tasks.
Role and Importance of Technical and Vocational Education
Over the years, many African governments have come to understand the importance of technical education and the role it plays in shaping the lives of many aspiring young Africans nowadays. Many young people are now allowed by their families or parents to decide what they want to study depending on the talents they exhibit. Technical knowledge is becoming a vital part of many societies today. Technical and vocational education helps students to develop theoretical and practical knowledge. It equally improves the quality of the standards of living by producing trained and experienced manpower. Technical education further provides the knowledge and skills people require competing in today’s ever changing world. Science and technology has influenced almost every section of the society that people cannot imagine their life without its existence. To fulfill the need of these modern times, the educational system is obliged to focus on technical and practical knowledge.
Today the advancements made in the field of science and engineering has made life complicated and moreover, has improved the quality of life. These technical fields need the support of highly qualified experts, reason why many are focusing more on technical and vocational training. Technical Education can meet the escalating demands of our ever growing society and to meet its multiplying demands. With the conventional methods and stereo-typed general education, people acquire nothing to contribute to the progress and prosperity of the human society.
In its Plan of Action for the Second Decade of Education (2006-2015), the AU recognized the importance of TVET as a support mechanism for economic growth and as a means of empowering people to establish sustainable livelihoods. The Second Decade of Education stipulated that its goal was to rethink the educational systems of Member States of the African Union so that young people will receive compulsory basic education aimed at equipping them with essential general skills, qualifications and attitudes leading to a continuing education culture and an entrepreneurship spirit so that they can adapt to a constantly evolving world of work.
There are quite a good number of technical and vocational training colleges and centers in the continent and new ones are springing up everyday on the continent. There are renowned ones like the Accra Technical Training Centre in Ghana, Richfield Graduate School of Technology in South Africa, and the Federal TVET Institute in Ethiopia just to name but these.
In 2018, the World Bank planned to finance some 17 technical and vocational education and training (TVET) institutions in Kenya, Tanzania and Ethiopia that will improve their training and research capabilities and strengthen the delivery of quality education as they seek innovative solutions to Africa’s development needs.The three countries were selected for the implementation of the project due to their performance in the area and their strong partnership with the World Bank.
For a while now, African governments have been advocating for an entrepreneurial oriented society and to harness the potentials of vibrant youths into becoming entrepreneurs, and this can only be attained if priority is given to technical and vocational training. This line of education helps the Youths to discover their talents and thus, contribute their own quota in curbing high unemployment rate.
Article from AFRIC Editorial