«Comparative Study and ‘Outcome and Impact’ Analysis of Six Vocational Training Projects in West Africa Synthesis report based on six case ...»
Knowing about the limitations of centre based agricultural training the team does not “per se” recommend the revival of agriculture courses, but agriculture related topics could be optional or compulsory “add-ons”. The LOIC experience (Sinje) showed the usefulness of offering special agricultural topics alongside trade skill training which were in demand by the target group (e.g. life stock keeping, vegetable gardening using organic methods etc.). Most important is that such sessions add value to existing knowledge learned in the community and family. Rural training programmes should also include general environmental topics which are of relevance for a specific region (e.g. soil degradation/ conservation, etc.).
Vocational orientation and counselling
More emphasis should be placed on vocational orientation and counselling before an applicant selects a trade. Options are for instance:
- Orientation seminars conducted in schools
- Involvement of youth/communities in market surveying before selecting a trade (see under trade selection)
- Orientation periods prior to skills training where applicants are exposed to different trades (feasible in apprenticeship schemes or larger scale centre based programmes) Job counselling should be intensified during training (see example OICG)
Improving practical orientation and quality of practical training
Quality and duration of training were two other important factors that stood out for attention. Training was offered in trades that lacked the basic equipment and adequately trained staff. Another critical issue was the adequacy of the duration of courses. Some nonformal courses where shortened so as to meet demand (Sierra Leone, Liberia) but the duration
was not sufficient for trainees to adequately learn a trade. To mitigate these shortcomings:
- Course duration should be adequate to the trade/ skill requirements in the labour market
- Courses may be modularised (basic, advanced, specialised)
- National curricula may be used if found adequate
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- Existing curricula may have to be revised with the aim of improving practice content and structure in line with findings of market surveys – training providers may need external support for this activity
- Upgrading of instructors in methodologies and practical skills wherever possible Experience of the VTF supported VTI show that all centre based programmes should have an attachment period of at least 3 months a year at the end of each scholastic year.
Orientation towards self employment
The majority of graduates are working self-employed either with daily contracts or by running a business. Vocational training thus needs to be more oriented towards self-employment with
measures such as:
- Trainees to learn about saving and handling of money in general
- Information about MF possibilities and requirements to access loans
- Stronger focus on personality building,
- Better integration of entrepreneurship training (EST) in practical training (be taught as an integrated subject in each trade) Apprenticeship schemes which are by nature more oriented towards self-employment should invest more resources and efforts in personality development of women.
Training materials for EST need to be more tailor-made for young business starters. Training content needs to be more context relevant (micro and small business), teaching methods should be more participatory. VTF can be a valuable resource in the region for updating EST materials in collaboration with other specialised national and international institutions and consultants.
Holistic vocational skills development
Holistic vocational skills training aims at developing the core competences of a person alongside technical/ trade skills (see also the issue of personality development above). Such training programmes are particularly relevant in contexts where young people faced obstacles to access education (war affected countries, poorest of the poor). Thus in some of the programmes literacy and numeracy were introduced as the target groups were including illiterate and semi literate youths and adults. This has been a very relevant measure but there is a need for review of both the content and methodology so that literacy, numeracy curricula are better elaborated and integrated into the vocational skills training.
Post training support
Post training support for graduates organized by training providers has the potential of increasing the impact of the programme on trainees. This would be in the form of providing job placement, post training guidance and counselling and lobbying for employment promotion with government and private sector. Such support would be of special help in assisting female graduates, many of them very young and lack the experience to stand up to the competitive spirit of the job market, thus making them vulnerable to being exploited by employers.
Quality management, monitoring and evaluation Quality assurance of training delivery needs improvement in several institutions/ projects visited. Managers of VT institutions and projects should become more quality conscious and should place more emphasis on monitoring the quality of training delivery.
Tracer studies as a means of outcome monitoring should become a compulsory activity of every vocational training institution or project. The follow up should not be once but sequenced and it should be integrated in the management system of the institution/ project.
Tracer studies are only useful if the results are utilised for programme/ project planning and review. Graduates should be aware about tracer studies when leaving the institution. They should leave their contacts for follow up (for further information see manual “tracer studies” in reference list.
Evaluations should include as a compulsory element the assessment of effectiveness and impact. However, this can only be done meaningfully if the institution/ project conducts tracer studies and analyses and documents the results. The boards need to be sensitised on the need to orient VT programmes towards effectiveness and impact.
Partners should be encouraged to do participatory monitoring and evaluation from a gender perspective. Case studies and success stories should be traced and documented properly for reference.
Networking and collaboration
All partners studied need to intensify their collaboration with the private sector, i.e. with small
- Planning/ review of training programmes
- Organisation of attachments
- Labour market integration, job placement Another weak point is the collaboration of VT institutions/ projects with Micro Finance Institutions (MFI). As said above, young business starters usually find the doors of MFIs closed. The issue of access to MFI needs to be addressed through lobbying and consultations with the MFI sector.
The OICG experience shows the usefulness of collaboration between a VT project and institutions specialised on health and life skill issues. VT projects and institutions often have shortcomings in recruiting specialised personnel. Systematic collaboration with other agencies is one way to improve quality and relevance of VT programmes and to work in a cost-efficient manner at the same time.
An over-riding aim of the TVET is to reduce poverty and accordingly target the poor. While it is important to have trainees pay part of their fees, yet it would be good to review the costs to trainees given the economic and social context in each area. The inability to pay fees was a major cause of drop out in a number of programmes.
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Partners should seek ways to enhance the involvement of and collaboration with communities.
Formal VTIs follow the scholastic year of educational institutions (9 months training, 3 months break), but the investment in infrastructure is far higher. For better utilisation these institutions should think about adding short term courses and evening courses wherever possible.
Centre based formal VT should focus on urban centres, it is not effective operating formal VTI in rural areas.
VTI and VT projects operating in conflict sensitive environments should proactively take measures to facilitate access of all ethnic and religious groups living in one region. Christian institutions should seek to include Muslims youth (see example YOWDAST).
Berufsbildung | Evaluierung Annex 1 Terms of Reference Comparative Study and ‘Outcome and Impact’ Analysis Of Six Vocational Training Projects in West Africa
EED evaluation unit in cooperation with the regional desks commissions every year a number of studies on cross cutting issues. The topics may refer to a certain region (group of countries) as well as to certain sectors. The aims of those studies are to find answers to questions that have come up in these projects in the passed years of cooperation and to give orientation for the coming cooperation – for EED as well as for the partner organisations. In some of the studies – like in this one – there is a special focus on finding out about the ‘outcome and impact’ with the purpose of learning about best practices.
Vocational Training activities form a prominent part of EED’s portfolio in West Africa. Those activities are funded in different frameworks: they may be components of larger development programmes of the Churches, they may be embedded into programmes for the reintegration of young people into civil life (after a period of war or conflict), and there are projects that deal with traditional approaches to vocational training in connection with innovative income generation measures with the objective to directly increase the income of the households.
EED has been funding this vocational training work for several decades. The projects have been evaluated individually from time to time. Some of them have maintained tracer records on a permanent or episodical basis. In addition there were several impact studies which were related to vocational training however not addressing it directly (see study on microfinance in 2001, study on education in 2006, and study on peace and conflict related work in 2007).
However, none of these initiatives have analysed the outcome and impact of the projects of this sector comprehensively nor have the different approaches been evaluated and compared in a systematic manner. This study is meant for filling the gap.
2 Objective and subject of the study
There are 10 projects in West Africa being funded by the Africa I Desk of EED in the sector of Vocational Training. A rough classification shows that they basically follow one of three main
approaches in their work:
1. Formal, school-based vocational education with courses of rather long duration
2. Centre based trainings with short term courses with lots of practical exercise
3. Improved traditional apprenticeship schemes linked with modern need based training inputs for the craftsmen
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Along those approaches the following six projects have been requested to participate in the
- Project No 20060208 G/ 2006.7420.0, Ghana, PCG/ VTF, Vocational training for females programme.(1)
- Project No 20070297 G / 2007.7508.0, Ghana, OICG, Livelihood enhancement for youth in the Kumasi metropolis through non-formal training.(3)
- Project No 20050292 G / 2005.7504.3, Nigeria, LCCN/YOWDAST, Non-formal vocational training for females and youth.(3)
- Project No 20060210 G / 2006.7422.6, Nigeria, EYN/MTS, Vocational training for young people in North Eastern Nigeria.(1)
- Project No 20070335 G / 2007.7546.0 KED-EK 51/2007, Sierra Leone, SLOIC, Vocational training and support for young adults in the peace consolidation phase.(2)
- Project No 20070333 G / 2007.7544.5 KED-EK 52/2007, Liberia, LOIC, Non-formal vocational skills training, rehabilitation and resettlement programme.(2) The study aims at an assessment of the approaches to vocational training in their respective context. The assessment should address common evaluation criteria such as relevance, effectiveness (outcome), efficiency, impact, selection and reaching of target groups. It is
expected that the findings of the study will reveal knowledge on the following key questions:
- What happened to the graduates (males/ females) of the vocational training courses?
Are there any recognisable trends on how many of them (males/ females) find jobs or regular income through self employment?
- What are the factors that have a key influence on the results of vocational training?
Which approaches are adequate for which context and circumstances?
- What can be learned from the indirect effects – intended or unintended - of the vocational training measures and how can the lessons learnt become guiding for future projects?
3 Main topics and areas of the study (For each project /approach)
- Description of the approach of the vocational training project or program and its context
- Situation and problem to which the project responds (labour market, social situation)
- Government policy with regard to vocational training / education
- Concepts of other important players in the country on vocational education
- Objectives of the project/program valid and appropriate?
- Are the selected professional trades relevant? Do they correspond to respective needs?
- Are the needs of males and females adequately considered?
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- Do the trades respond to labour market demands?
- Concept of poverty alleviation behind the approach
- Concept of overcoming trauma and violence behind the approach
- Can they have a model function for creating change, e.g. in gender relations, peace building, environmental protection?
3.3 Effectiveness (outcome)