As the current head of the UNESCO-UNEVOC International Centre for Technical and Vocational Education and Training, Shyamal Majumdar is at the forefront of the increasingly important field of TVET in development. Mr Majumdar boasts a long list of TVET expertise, having worked for a variety of development institutes and organisations including the World Bank, The Asian Development Bank, and the Food and Agriculture Organization.
Following 20 years of dramatic change in learning and development, attention is turning toward what is in store for the decades to come. Ahead of the ONLINE EDUCA BERLIN session ‘Less Talk, More Action! Meeting Tomorrow’s Needs Today’, in which Mr Majumdar is a panellist, OEB writer George Bodie spoke to him about the past, present, and future of TVET and technology.
What have been some of the implications of the ICT revolution for TVET?
The main impacts on TVET can be pointed out as follows: expanding access; improving the quality of TVET systems, however we still aim to reach substantial improvement; social and environmental concerns, along with shifting labour market needs.
Lately, the importance of TVET has been increasingly recognised and therefore TVET is being re-shaped based on a holistic and lifelong learning approach to provide multiple and flexible pathways of learning using innovative methods and ICTs. Efforts have been dedicated to developing innovative measures to provide quality and inclusive TVET, as well as to include education for ‘green’ economies and ‘green’ societies as a part of TVET qualifications and programmes, and advancing the ‘greening TVET’ agenda towards low carbon and climate‐resilient growth and development.
What are the primary focus areas UNESCO-UNEVOC is looking to target to transform TVET systems in UNESCO’s Member States post-2015?
UNESCO-UNEVOC promotes an integrated approach addressing the current and future environmental, social and economic challenges in order to transform TVET systems in UNESCO’s Member States.
UNESCO-UNEVOC’s work focuses on key thematic priorities including ‘Youth and skills’, addressing youth unemployment through TVET and skills development, and ‘greening TVET’, reinforcing sustainable development through systemic applications of greening TVET approaches and the integration of green skills into TVET qualifications.
In addition, UNESCO-UNEVOC recommends that governments and other TVET stakeholders in UNESCO’s Member States consider implementing the actions identified by Shanghai Consensus (2012): enhancing relevance of TVET; expanding access and improving quality and equity; adapting qualifications and developing pathways; improving the evidence base; strengthening governance and expanding partnerships; increasing investment in TVET and diversifying financing; and advocating TVET.
What role does ICT play in this agenda?
UNESCO-UNEVOC considers that ICT has a crucial role in expanding access, improving quality and enhancing relevance of TVET. Thus, ‘ICT in TVET’ has been placed at the top of UNESCO-UNEVOC’s agenda, and therefore UNESCO-UNEVOC aims to further explore the potential of technology including multimedia, online learning, mobile technology, Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) and Open Educational Resources (OER) as provisions of learning support.
At ONLINE EDUCA BERLIN, you will be part of the session titled ‘Less Talk, More Action! Meeting Tomorrow’s Needs Today’ – in your opinion, what do you think needs to happen in TVET to tackle youth unemployment and ensure sustainable development?
Youth employability and green skills were at the core of the global forum ‘Skills for Work and Life Post-2015’, organised by the UNESCO-UNEVOC in October 2014. The contributions made at the global forum served to clarify the need to embrace an integrated view of TVET for youth employability and sustainable development. The forum concluded that the challenges of youth unemployment and greening TVET for sustainable development must be dealt with as a single issue in an integrated manner rather than on separate tracks as it was the case in the past. This corresponds fully to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that will take effect at the end of 2015, once the original time frame of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) has run its course.
There is now an established consensus that the concepts of environmental, social and economic sustainability are interlinked and must be addressed through an integrated approach. TVET programmes can provide for skills that are necessary for employability, productivity and competitiveness but also for community development, social cohesion and addressing environmental issues. Only through integration of the three dimensions will it be possible to achieve the transformative change required to TVET.
What would you say are the emerging trends in TVET at the moment?
Greening TVET for Sustainable development: it refers to the efforts to re-orient and reinforce existing TVET institutions and policies in order to reinforce the achievement of sustainable development. Greening TVET consists of five pillars: green campus, green curriculum, green community, green research and green culture.
Integrating ICTs in TVET: this includes integrating ICTs into TVET institutions for improving access, quality, relevance and management of TVET. It aims to promote ICTs in TVET to reflect the transformations taking place in the workplace and in society at large by introducing MOOCs, Open Educational Resources and EMIS software.
Improving quality and image of TVET: developing mechanisms and tools to identify current and future skills needs to ensure the relevance of TVET programmes to rapidly‐changing labour markets, as well as to social and environmental concerns. It also includes enhancing quality across the various types of TVET and in the multiple settings where it takes place, including through the definition of quality standards and benchmarks.
Develop a qualification framework for TVET to ensure horizontal and vertical integration and mobility: this refers to well‐articulated and outcome‐based qualifications systems based on reliable measures for assessment in order to recognise and validate TVET qualifications at the national, regional and international levels. Quality assurance mechanisms should be integrated into all parts of the qualifications system. This framework allows learners, training providers and employers to gain information about the broad equivalence of TVET qualifications.
Promoting public-private community partnerships in TVET: there are multiple and diverse forms of partnerships and synergy amongst relevant TVET stakeholders especially the private sector. Therefore the development of frameworks and incentive mechanisms is required to promote the active involvement of relevant stakeholders in planning, governance, curriculum, qualifications development and assessment, as well as school‐enterprise cooperation and workplace learning.
Building technical and pedagogical competencies of TVET teachers and trainers: the aim is to ensure that TVET teachers and trainers are qualified, professionally-trained, motivated, and well-supported by their governments.
Enhancing gender equality in TVET: we aim to promote equal access of females and males in TVET programmes and to ensure that TVET curricula and materials avoid stereotyping by gender. There is also the aim to create an effective strategy to empower marginalised groups in a society by increasing their employability.