As we look around, there is a scramble by most governments in developing countries to put investments in skills development/TVET institutions having realized that the only way their country can attract new investments, expand existing industry and be competitive in the global market is by up-skilling their work force.
These investments are tackling several areas and work is hectic to improve not just the building and equipment but also curriculum, learning materials, standards, teacher training and student assessment. The scramble in the developed world while different, is just as hectic as precision manufacturing combined with surging drive for increased productivity puts the "big guys" in a world wide struggle.
Do we see a major impact as a result of these investments? Absolutely! In the developing world, the buildings are being modernized and new equipment is rolling in. The consultants have left a library of new standards, learning materials, teacher and student assessment instruments. Policies and strategies are in place. The frustration is that not many students flock to the new buildings. The computers and other equipment are not used to capacity and the plaintive crys of business and industry keep mounting that they cannot get the skills they need. Why?
In response to this, some funders have moved towards a much more active participation by the private sector in skills development. Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) are taking on a central role in TVET in many countries, supplying services which Government either cannot provide or is ineffective at providing itself. Besides, let's be realistic.
As this develops, the role of Government changes. Working with Industry, develop national skills policy that ensures international training standards while rolling out an industry driven skills assessment service to ensure that everyone, regardless of how they were trained, can achieve certification of competence.
Making sure the system is accessible to all and that the poor can receive support to get into the certified competence race is a basic Government function. The Industry involvement in training must grow as the Government accountability for consistency, quality and accessibility becomes stronger.
Skills Development must be a partnership or everyone loses.
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