The concept of technical and vocational skills development follows the 1997 UNESCO International Standard Classification of the definition of education – “educating and training to acquire the practical skills, know-how and understanding required for employment in a particular trade or a group of occupations.” Africa has roughly 200 million people aged between 15 and 24 who require training to develop such skills that make them employable or capable enough to start their own enterprises. To train and modernize their technical labour pool for rapid industrialization and national development, African countries need to embrace the notion of “Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET)”.
The shortage of skills in various sectors is a concern that the African leadership needs to address urgently, else the country would be forced to ease restrictions for foreign workers to meet their human resource requirements. Education and skills can open doors for economically and socially rewarding jobs. The development of job-related skills, therefore, should be a part of Africa’s human resource and poverty-reduction strategies.
Characteristics of Technical and Vocational skills Development systems:
TVET delivery systems are placed to train efficient entrepreneurs that Africa needs for the creation of wealth in order to emerge out of poverty. It can respond, not only to the requirements of different types of industries, but also cater to the needs of learners from different sections of the society. Further, it can prepare them for a meaningful and sustainable life while giving them employment.
The impact of Technical and Vocational Training in Africa at present:
With the turn of the century, a fresh awareness of the analytical role played by TVET in economic growth and national development has been perceived by policy makers within Africa and in the international contributing community as well. In its poverty reduction strategy document, Cameroon for example intends to develop vocational and professional training to promote union into the labour market; Cote d’Ivoire talks about strengthening vocational training; Ghana has associated vocational education and training with education of the youth and the development of technical and business management skills; Lesotho and Rwanda focus on linking TVET to businesses while Malawi emphasizes on the need to promote selfemployment through skills development. Other countries that have prioritized TVET initiatives in their national development policy documents include Chad, Ethiopia, Guinea, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Uganda and Zambia.
Expanding the training for technical and vocational skills development will bring innovative solutions to various challenges in the country which is its top requirement. The growing youth population of Africa comes with high energy, creativity and talents. The time has come to utilize it by the development of their technical and vocational skills.