«Comparative Study and ‘Outcome and Impact’ Analysis of Six Vocational Training Projects in West Africa Synthesis report based on six case ...»
Facing the crisis of youth unemployment, the promotion of self-employment is seen by many as the solution. But can self-employment be learned in a VTI or technical school? VTI trainees are trained and educated in a sheltered “school-like” environment. They often have no experience with the reality of the market unless they were exposed to it before the training (through the family, in the community) or sufficiently during the training (through well organised industrial attachments or internships). Studies carried out in other contexts showed that VTI graduates, although often being technologically more qualified than people trained on the job in the informal sector, faced greater difficulties in entering the market. Advantages
of being trained on the job included:
• Learning the practical skills that are demanded in the market place
• Learning the unwritten social and business rules of the market
• Becoming connected to the right people and learning to network These earlier findings amongst other issues raised in the ToR have been put to the test in this study.
2.4 TVET systems and actors in West Africa A general feature of TVET systems in West Africa is their fragmentation. In Ghana, at least six ministries are involved in providing vocational skills development. Of the four countries covered by the study, Ghana has made the biggest move in the last decade towards reforming its TVET system. The Ministry of Education and Sports made TVET one of its strategic objectives. In 2004, a draft policy framework was developed for TVET, in 2007 the act was passed after which COTVET is supposed to be established as a council which oversees implementation of the TVET policy. NGOs shall have a seat in COTVET, the EED partner VTF is playing a vital role in this process. In Ghana the majority of TVET institutions are private, many of which are church based. Ghanaian non governmental VTI receive funding from the government, the same applies to SLOIC.
In Liberia and Sierra Leone, TVET institutions have substantially suffered during the long years of civil war. Facilities were destroyed or looted and over a long period of time there have been no input in developing the TVET systems and its human resources with the effect that most institutions operate below minimum requirements and teaching staff have a qualification level that is only little better than that of their trainees. In Sierra Leone, TVET is considered one of the strategies for poverty reduction. There are about 300 registered TVET institutions and plans to construct more, which is quite a significant number considering the small size of the country (total population: 4.076.8717. The percentage of the population holding a senior secondary school (SSS) certificate is 4.2% (207.228)8). Funding for Demobilisation, Disarmament and Reintegration programmes (DDR) in the early years after the war has contributed to the increase of TVET institutions. Presently, the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports is starting a process to develop a TVET policy. In Liberia, the end of the war is more recent, as are the efforts to revitalise TVET. Liberia has developed a Poverty Reduction Strategy which refers to TVET in two strategic priorities: (a) the development of middle level human resources and (b) the improvement of the situation of youth that has missed formal education for decades and is faced with the challenge of social and economic integration. In the absence of a regulatory system, many NGOs and CBOs have ventured into non-formal VT without any oversight by the government. In both countries there are no functioning systems of skill certification besides formal vocational education.
In Nigeria the government has neglected the educational sector including the formal TVET institutions under the Ministries of Education and Higher Education for many years. This is particularly evident in the periphery of the country like the North East where one state operated vocational and technical schools that are in a lamentable situation. Unlike in the neighbouring countries, NGOs and churches do not play a significant key role in school/ centre based skills development. In many parts of Nigeria, particularly in the larger cities, the system of traditional apprenticeship is deeply rooted in the society. Even in formal industries, training on-the-job is the most common form of skills acquisition.
In all four countries there is no unified TVET system. Commonly four to six different ministries have a stake in vocational education and training. Usually there is little Republic of Sierra Leone, 2004 Population and Housing Census: Population Size, p.1.
Republic of Sierra Leone, 2004 Population Census: Education an Literacy, p.53.
Berufsbildung | Evaluierung
coordination between them. There is tendency is to create National Qualification Frameworks (NQF) which often uses the Australian system as a blueprint. Ghana is probably the most advanced of the four countries in this reform process. At the time of the main study there were plans on going in Sierra Leone and Liberia for national events for establishment of national structures or frameworks to coordinate all TVET activities in those countries. Nigeria, the biggest economy in the region, introduced NQF on paper but in practice still uses the Britishstyle Trade Test system. One advantage of NQF is the certification of skills at different levels including the recognition of prior learning, which includes skills acquired in informal apprenticeships and in non-formal VT. Whether NQF systems can work well in the context of developing countries has yet to be seen.
2.5 Social demand9 for Vocational Training In all countries studied the youth population is growing.
It could be assumed that social demand for vocational skills development is growing equal to the population growth. This is not the case as the results of this study show (see next chapter).
The following external factors may influence demand for Vocational Education and Training:
• Low image of TVET: educated youth prefers studies leading to “white collar” employment Economic demand generally means the level of demand that arises from the use value of a certain good or service. People ask for a good or service as they derive a certain use or pleasure from it. In general, it is assumed that economic demand arises whenever the benefit a person derives from a good or service is greater than its costs.
Social demand on the other hand refers to the range of expectations with respect to a certain good or service “that exceed economic or market considerations”. Whenever social demand exists, one can assume that the benefit people derive from this good or service goes beyond its actual use value.
UN: World Population Prospects; http://esa.un.org/unpp/
Berufsbildung | Evaluierung
• Increase in the number of VT providers (particularly Ghana)
• Informal apprenticeship being a low cost alternative to non-formal and formal institutional centre based skills training.
In several contexts a wide gap has been noticed between the social demand for a trade and the
economic demand. Some examples come from this study:
• Hair braiding, OICG: The market appears saturated, still many women apply for this trade.
• Computer studies MTS: highest number of applications, highest number of students, and employment rate below average.
The educational institutions (e.g. junior and senior secondary schools) in most African countries do not provide adequate vocational orientation. Career counselling is often oriented to-wards higher education, which contributes to the “white collar mentality” among many youth.
Berufsbildung | Evaluierung 3 Results of case studies
3.1 Relevance of VT projects and programmes Relevance of project/programme objectives
The project and programme objectives of the six partners are relevant with regard to:
• The national poverty reduction strategies of the four countries in which youth employment plays an important role
• The significance of the problem of youth un- and underemployment in the region, i.e.
the population growth and the requirement to integrate a growing number of out-of school youth into the labour markets
• The mission statements of the partners
• EED’s strategic priorities in West Africa The project objectives spelled out in the funding proposals are often vague and not specific enough. They are not specified by measurable indicators.
Relevance of training offers to background and interests of target groups
The majority of the partners offer vocational skills training that is matching with the educational background and the interests of its target groups. This is an important positive
• SLOIC introduced additional classes in literacy and numeracy skills after the war because the majority of the rural population is illiterate or semi-literate
• LOIC combined trade skills and specific skills in agriculture, as for most trainees agriculture is the main source of livelihood
• OICG is specifically targeting young people that dropped out of school and have no access to formal TVET institutions
• YOWDAST has a system of open entry regardless of educational background
• Both apprenticeship schemes offer practice oriented skills training and additional measures to facilitate trainees’ access to the labour market. Measures for developing “soft skills” are not sufficient in both quantity and quality
• The formal VTIs are part of the TVET system and select students according to educational requirements. The entry requirements, the fees charged and the long duration of training are all potentially excluding factors for the poor. The low enrolment of VTIs in Ghana is a sign for decreasing demand of formal VT. MTS has kept the level of fees low but most of its training offers, including all new courses, require a senior secondary schools certificate
Berufsbildung | Evaluierung
The direct target group of VTF are the management, teachers and administrative staff of VTIs.
The training offered in school management, guidance and counselling, communication skills, methods of teaching, literacy and numeracy and educational skills training (EST) are relevant to improve the performance of VTI.
3.2 Relevance of teaching methods, trade selection and certification to labour market demand and interests of the target group Relevance of trade selection and certification Most VTIs offer a standard set of conventional courses such as tailoring, carpentry, masonry and home management. The variety of courses/ training fields offered is insufficient in many cases and does often not reflect the actual market opportunities. In one case (MTS), progress has been made with regard to the diversification of trades. The apprenticeship schemes offer a larger variety of training options but the full extent of market and training possibilities is not utilised.
There are significantly less training possibilities for women than for men, the training options
for women in the VTI and VTC are the following:
• SLOIC: tailoring and home management • LOIC: catering and dress making • VTF: supported VTI: catering, secretarial studies and tailoring • MTS: computer and tailoring Only the apprenticeship schemes offer a wider range of trades for women, but men, who are in minority, have more options. The majority of YOWDAST graduates were trained in tailoring, which poses a severe risk for the saturation of rural markets.
Formal VTIs in Ghana offer government recognised certification. Courses have been extended from three to four years; with the effect that certification allows access to further education and training. On the other hand the extended duration increases training costs.
MTS is following the example of government vocational schools and offers a diploma certification, which the students are interested to obtain, but the certificate is not accredited and not recognised by employers. The labour market prefers labour with trade testing. MTS wants to introduce practice-oriented trade testing as a result of this study.
Certification systems are not yet functioning in Sierra Leone and Liberia. SLOIC is situated somewhere between formal and non-formal VT, its certificates are accredited. Two courses require formal schooling. The training offers of LOIC are non-formal. The apprenticeship schemes consider introducing government trade testing which is in the interest of the graduates but less relevant for work and income in the informal sector.
In all training centres the practical component of training needs to be strengthened.
Weaknesses have been observed in:
• Insufficient exposure of students/ trainees to real “world of work” situations
Berufsbildung | Evaluierung
• Insufficient link between theory content and practical application
• Too little group work and lack of modern teaching and instruction methods such as student projects More emphasis should be given to acquisition of soft and entrepreneurial skills alongside practical training. Teaching methods need improvement as well as the linking to trade skills.
One key obstacle is the lack of facilities for appropriate teacher/ instructor training in all countries. In Ghana, VTF is serving this need.
Gender relevance of approaches/ methods
Three of the six partners say that employment promotion of females is their priority (VTF, OICG livelihood enhancement project and YOWDAST). Two partners of the six have female leadership (VTF and YOWDAST). VTF has a majority of female staff. In YOWDAST, female and male employed staff is almost equal, the majority of external resource persons are male. In the three OICs the majority of management and staff are male. The same applies to MTS where only one teacher is female.
Females do not have the same variety of training opportunities like men (see more under 3.3.
gender equality). Teaching methods and teaching approaches are generally not gender specific.
There is too little emphasis on women empowerment, this aspect needs to be strengthened if female un- and underemployment shall be reduced.