A More Effective Approach for Government in TVET
Government usually plays a primary role in directly managing the delivery of core social services such as health, education, social welfare and access programs.
As governments downsize, they may look for multiple suppliers and providers of services in areas in which partnership participation is possible. As an example, in the Philippines, 80% of University education and of TVET is provided by the private sector. Most governments are still in a transition.
Traditionally, Government has approached technical and vocational education as if it were a sub-sector of academic education. TVET is very different as standards and enrolment needs are set by employers not by the academic community. TVET is aimed at employment, self employment or upgrading of skills not at promotion to the next grade level.
TVET as Part of Economic Policy
The demand for graduates at the technician level is from Enterprise and if graduates do not meet Enterprise standards, they will be unemployed. If they have no complete competency, they cannot be effectively self employed.
There must be clear economic benefit to Enterprise and the individual. Passing grades are less important than measurable skills at the employers’ standards. In the future, as Enterprise develops, the competence of Enterprise as trainers with support from Government, will be the most cost effective and outcomes efficient mode of TVET at that level.
Beyond basic life skills and perhaps directly supporting institutions in remote areas, TVET is a part of economic policy and competitiveness and not primarily part of social policy.
Few governments (if any) can afford to fund a comprehensive national TVET strategy alone. As an example, in some jurisdictions, there is a gradual growth of learner participation in financing TVET through a significant growth in tuition fees. In other countries, enterprise financial participation has expanded significantly. In yet others, social contracts among labour, employers and the state, create cost sharing.
Whatever the approach, it is clear that in employment preparation, there are multiple direct beneficiaries and beneficiary participation in financing is appropriate. Investors might be government, employers, individual learners, families of the learners and NGOs with specific equity mandates. Each must be convinced of their role and then given a chance to participate.
An effective quality check in technical education is whether or not beneficiaries are willing to pay for their training. If there is a substantial pay back on their investment, experience suggests that participation will be enthusiastic.