Since January 2021, UNESCO-UNEVOC’s COVID-19 response project – Strengthening the Responsiveness, Agility and Resilience of TVET Institutions for the Post-COVID-19 Era – has been helping TVET institutions around the world rise to the challenges of the pandemic both in the short and long term. The project, which was implemented with the support of the German Federal Government through the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, aimed to build resilience at a time of sudden change, where future prospects for people in skills training remain uncertain.
Short-term skills training for employability
The pandemic has turned the world of work upside down. Halfway through 2021, heightened levels of insecurity in jobs and income persist. TVET institutions are well placed to mitigate these issues by providing reskilling for those in heavily affected sectors and upskilling workers to meet changing demands.
UNESCO-UNEVOC’s COVID-19 response project supported upskilling and reskilling efforts in Ghana, India, Jamaica, Malawi and Thailand. These programmes enabled more than 400 trainees to diversify and develop new sources of income in agriculture, healthcare and entrepreneurship to replace those lost due to the pandemic.
Building the digital capacities of TVET staff
The unprecedented disruption in education systems has left many TVET institutions struggling to cope with deficiencies in digital infrastructure and the delivery of classes in new digital formats. At the same time, institutions have to be conscious of the social issues that arise from online learning, in particular the widening digital divide and the increasing exclusion of students from disadvantaged groups.
A three-month training programme implemented in five countries – Jamaica, Kenya, the Maldives, Nigeria and Peru – equipped 62 TVET teachers, managers and technical staff with the necessary skills and competencies to provide digital services. This was supplemented with a three-part series of webinars on the challenges of digitalization in TVET. The webinars were attended by more than 700 participants from over 100 countries and covered the key topics of digital competence and the future of work, social aspects of digital learning in TVET and how to navigate the maze of digital tools and services.
Institutional resilience through peer learning
Throughout the six-month span of the project, online peer learning activities were organized to help TVET institutions share lessons learned and promising practices for the future. These activities saw 178 TVET stakeholders from 43 UNEVOC Centres actively engage in knowledge exchange focused on the implementation of relevant, responsive and sustainable strategies.
UNESCO-UNEVOC and participating TVET institutions are keen to ensure the knowledge and learning resources generated continue to be accessible beyond the project’s duration. A series of articles on the major themes of the project have been published online, with a focus on the training programmes and learning outcomes of the participants.
The database of Promising and Innovative Practices in TVET, which includes 10 examples from participating institutions is open to all. It enables TVET institutions to share experiences and provide insights for others in the TVET sector who are facing similar challenges. As the project draws to a close, the activities implemented have built a community around mutual learning, adaptability and resilience – key elements that will enable a stronger TVET sector to emerge from the crisis.
Source: UNESCO-UNEVOC International Centre for Technical and Vocational Education and Training, 28 June 2021