Technical And Vocational Education Education Essay

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The first conference of African States on education was held in Ethiopia in 1961. The conference obviously put the pitch in placing precedence on ex-panding general secondary and tertiary education (UNESCO, 1961), with a view to rapidly replacing the colonial human resource and additional expatri-ates in the civil service which in turn made vocational education and training in Africa a 'Second-rate Priority' in the education agenda (Wilson, 2005). After about a dozen years from the 1961 education conference, an enormous in-crease in the numbers of youth completing primary education and disentangled demand for secondary education was observed (Oketch 2007). These lead many independent governments in Africa to relapse to supporting TEVT on the basis of the production structure of their respective countries and the dwindling number government jobs (ibid).

Pioneer of TVET researcher in Africa, Philip Foster in 1965 argued that, it might be lucrative to support small-scale vocational training systems strictly linked with the continuing development efforts while very detached from the official educational system to alleviate the problem of youth unemployment (Foster, 1965). Mark Blaug who followed Phillip Foster later in 1973 argued that the expansion of TVET cannot be a cure for educated unemployment. It cannot prepare students for specific occupations and reduce the mismatch be-tween education and the labour market (Blaug 1973). Foster's argument against government involvement in massive expansion of TVET despite its new found appeal after decades from independence supported by evidence from field re-search did not go with the assumptions about the benefits anticipated of TVET.

On the contrary, authors like Psacharopoulos (1997) believed that TVET would alleviate the mass problems of Africa by bringing about economic pro-gress and youth employment by heavily inculcating technological knowledge. He based his argument by pointing out that as everyone cannot be academi-cally successful, TVET would offer those students to achieve something who otherwise are cast as academically unsuccessful in the general education system (ibid). Even though authors like Wilson (2005) argued that, TEVT was seen as detrimental in post-independence Africa as it was linked with the colonial edu-cational rule. He argued that Africans viewed TVET as a 'substandard educa-tion'. Oketch (2007) argued that, even where the context might have changed, African countries where the argument over whether to focus investment in general education or in TEVT has continued for over 40 years. Moreover, Blaug (1973) had argued that in general, both students and their parents in-stinctively knew that academic lines guaranteed a better livelihood than voca-tional education.

All in all, the current schooling structure in most countries leads to two courses: general education and vocational education (Oketch 2007). The gen-eral education enables students who gain access to it, to continue in their schooling to higher levels, while vocational education are for those students 18

going directly to the world of work or to those who, due to limited general educational chances, are crowded out of the general education hierarchy (ibid). In some countries, it's the choice of the student to choose his/her pathway either to join general education or vocational education. However, for voca-tional students in most countries crossing the path to higher education is im-possible (Atchoarena et al, 2001).

Radwan, Akindeinde et al. (2010) argue that in order for Africa to attain development, the youth need to have access to a learning that will facilitate the enhancement of their standard of living by gaining competitive skills that will be in high demand in the labour market. TVET is only one of numerous tools for employment creation (de Largentaye 2009). It is a well-known fact that vo-cational training can expand the attainment of suitable skills and thus raise la-bour supply and the "employability" of the work force. The demand for labour depends on variety of factors such as incentives for investment, the exchange rate, prices factors, personality traits, government and related entities support system, socio-cultural environment and the production and commerce envi-ronment in the country.

Dar and Tzannatos (1999) suggest that given that many countries around the world do put into practice these large scale programmes, a hard-headed approach should be whether the intended goal is met and at what cost, but not whether to just have them. Kingombe (2012) argues that, when setting up for large scale TVET programmes, policy-makers and decision-makers should be able to make knowledgeable and informed decisions that are held up by evi-dence-based information However, the same author notes that there is a scar-city of proof-based information about TVET mostly in SSA (ibid).

On different note, TVET globally has a low social acknowledgment (Grollmann and Rauner 2007). The differentiation in perception between TEVT and that of the academic education has more reduced the recognition that TVET deserves (Abebe 2010). Incidentally, Grollmann and Rauner ( 2007) stated that:

"The empirical importance of vocational learning is overshadowed by the big emphasis society puts on academic education and credits. Despite the fact that there are gradual differences regarding this structural problem, nevertheless this is one of the universal core problems. The "Parity of esteem" between vocational and general education is still wishful thinking but could never be established. Still in the international discourse the prevailing orientation is that vocational education is something old and traditional fitting to the needs of the pre-industrial and industrial societies but not to the so called knowledge societies and economies or that it is at best a solution for low-achieving students".

3.2 The Historical Framework of TEVT in Ethiopia

TVET in Ethiopia followed the school- based model of training beginning from the establishment of the system. The beginning of TVET in the formal educational scheme dates back to the founding of the 1st TVET School in 1942 in Addis Ababa which had the name Ecole National des Artes Technique (re-named later on as Addis Ababa Technical School). The school offered train-ings in many occupational fields such as electricity, economics, wood work, 19

secretarial science, accounting, auto mechanics, building construction, , carpen-try. Qualified candidates were enrolled into the three-year training programme known as 8+3 program, and upon completion they were awarded diplomas.

Over the years, Addis Ababa technical school underwent a number of changes in terms of the trainings offered and their entry level and duration. The school offered the 8+4, 10+2, and 10+3 programs and applicants from many parts of the country with the best academic achievements competed for admission to the then prestigious school. In 1943, the Addis Ababa School of Business and Administration (later renamed Addis Ababa Commercial College and now currently named Addis Ababa University Commercial College was inaugurated with the aim of supplying trained personnel in the vocational fields of accounting and secretarial sciences for business and commerce, as well as for civil service. Later, banking and finance training fields were added. It of-fered trainings at the 8+4, 10+3, 11+3 and 12+2 levels. Currently, it offers Bachelor of Arts and Graduate degree level programs under Addis Ababa Uni-versity.

In 1962, an educational reform in the country was made which saw secon-dary schools curriculum transform to a more inclusive education and training. This made TVET more available to students. Even though this reform was not well supported by the resources essential for its success, it was made with the intention that TVET will offer the chance for the secondary school students to join the world of work right after completion of secondary school. In reality, it was an alteration that offered the needed attention and credit for the signifi-cance of TVET in the education scheme (Abebe 2010). In 1963 the Bahir Dar Polytechnic Institute was established which further sustained the development of TVET in Ethiopia. This school was later upgraded to a higher education institution level and currently it offers Bachelor and Graduate degree level pro-grams under the name Bahir Dar University. Abebe (2010) argues that no ma-jor institutional expansions or development agenda intended at developing TVET took place in the educational scheme between the mid-1960s and the mid- 1980s (Abebe 2010).

During the Derg regime (1974-1991), the MoE was cautioning the gov-ernment of the educational crisis as early as 1980s, not only in terms of achiev-ing Universal Primary Education (UPE), but also about the increasing unem-ployment of the secondary school graduates (Abebe 2010). The MoE had planned to reduce the pool of unemployment through the introduction of an 8-year universal polytechnic education that could help the student's transition to the world of work but the plan was not fully realized (Abebe 2010). After the down fall of the socialist Derg regime in 1991, the command economy was changed by the free market economy and the country was politically consti-tuted as a Federal Democratic Republic country (Negash 2006).

In 1991, the then transitional government of Ethiopia (currently the EFDRE) introduced a new education policy that dramatically changed the education system was introduced in July, 1994. The policy included a major supply-side push on TVET to support the school-to-work transition. It aimed at tackling the educational problems of access, equity, relevance, and quality with the regional governments of the FDRE guaranteeing the rights of their people to be taught in their language and work in the direction of achieving access to education for all age cohorts in their regions (Abebe 2010). 20

Before 1994, primary school included grades 1-6, junior secondary in-cluded grades 7-8, and secondary school included grades 9-12. In grade 12, students took a school-leaving exam that determined their eligibility to pursue higher education. Only a small percentage of students could enrol in higher education. The majority of students left school without any readily marketable professional or technical skills. The new education policy aimed to change this picture by focusing on producing a skilled labour force rather than a large co-hort of relatively unskilled secondary school graduates.

The current educational structure consists of eight years of primary educa-tion followed by four years of secondary education. The primary education has two cycles, first cycle (grades1- 4) and second cycle (grade 5- 8). The secondary education has also two cycles. The first cycle is the general secondary education (grade 9- 10) which leads to the end of the general education for all students. A national exam is given upon completion of grade 10, with those who score well promoted to the second cycle of secondary school (grades 11 and 12), which is considered college or university preparatory. Those who do not score well enough to continue in secondary school have the opportunity to pursue formal TVET, which takes one to three years. One- and two-year training programs

Figure 3.1 Structure of the Ethiopian Education System

Source: Ministry of Education (MoE) 2009 21

3.3 Current Status of TEVT in Ethiopia

At a global Symposium on implementation matter of diversified financing strategies for TVET organized by the Ethio-German Engineering Capacity Building Program (ECBP) on November 20-21, 2006 in Addis Ababa, Ethio-pia, it was decided amongst the nearly one hundred experts and practitioners from eleven countries and four continents who took part, that the Ethiopian approach to TVET reform and TVET financing are very much in line with international best practice in terms of performance (Kingombe 2012). All stakeholders at the above stated symposium seemed to agree that partnerships among the public sector, the private sector and civil society will be key in mak-ing any TVET reform process succeed (GTZ, 2006 as cited in Kingombe 2012).

Ethiopia has achieved the highest increase of 5,565 % in TVET enrolment from 1999 to 2007 from SSA countries and ranks the second among the coun-tries in Africa in terms of number of training institutions. Further, the same author notes that, the recent growth in TVET enrolment and provision has been achieved by a substantial development of public spending and increased TVET provision by private institutions (ibid).

3.4 TVET Delivery: Formal, Non-formal and Informal TVET Sector in Ethiopia

TVET provision in Ethiopia comprises of all modes of formal, non-formal and informal trainings offered either by government and/or non-government pro-viders such as non-government offices (NGO), and private institutes. TVET provision is open to a variety of groups such as illiterates, school leavers, school dropouts, farmers, entrepreneurs, and other groups (Biazen and Amha 2009).

Figure 3.2 The Formal Route to TVET and Higher Education World of Work

Higher education

TVET schools (Lev-el 3,4 and 5)

Grade 11 & 12 (pre- university)

Students who pass EGSECE

Students who do not EGSECE

General Secondary Education (Grade 9-10)

Primary Education 2nd cycle (Grade 5-8)

Primary Education 1st cycle (Grade 1-4)


The formal TVET programs are for those students who have failed to achieve the Ethiopian General Secondary Ethiopian General Secondary Edu-cation Certificate Examination (EGSECE )scores for admission to preparatory program. Students in the TVET path could attend programs that range from one year to three years that would enable them to join the world of work. Working people also join the formal program through distance learning and evening classes. Informal TVET is described as those manoeuvres which are operating unregistered with a low level of organisation and are said to function mostly through home-based activities or in small channels without fixed loca-tions. The government has small or no straight association with informal TVET in other words it is not supported or regulated by the government.

On the other hand the non-formal TVET is provided to wide range of target groups such as school dropouts, those with below grade 10 education or lower including illiterate people, unemployed, youth and adults, who could produce supporting letters from their respective woreda's. The training is of-fered through different channels (community based, institutional, apprentice-ship) such as Community Skill Training Centres (CSTC), prisons, and farmers training centres. The trainings are offered over different periods of time from short-term courses of a few days to long-term programs of up to 6 months. The selection criterion of trainee's for non-formal TEVT depends on the train-ing centre's own basis. No one criterion is sufficient for recruiting trainees. Most training institutions employ a combination of criteria to recruit their trainees. What is common to all institutions, except the private ones, is having low income and having the interest to be self-employed after completion of the training programs. Since the private institutions are profit makers they enrol all those who could afford it.

3.5 The TVET Curriculum Development

Every formal government training establishment is responsible for developing their own training materials based on the centralized occupational standards (OS) facilitated, monitored and evaluated by regional TVET agencies. Model training materials is developed and disseminated by the Federal TVET Bureau to the regional TVET agencies in order for them to develop their training ma-terial based on their local market needs and surroundings. At the beginning of the TVET programme in 2002, all training materials were prepared centrally and used by all institutions. Those materials were prepared for 10+1, 10+2 and 10+3 but the programme was changed shortly by Occupational Standards (OS) in 2004.

This curriculum reform aimed to ensure quality and relevance of TVET by fa-cilitating the setting of National Occupational Standards which is fairly equiva-lent to international standards and organizing an occupational assessment and certification system which offers National Occupational Qualification Certifi-cates to those who have proven, in an assessment, that they are competent in 23

accordance with the defined occupational standards7.The development of the occupational standards has been re-categorized into five levels now i.e. Level 1, Level 2, Level 3, Level 4 and Level 5 packages. The Level 1 and Level 2 pack-ages are short term training packages and are developed for those not entitled to enrol in the 10+1, 10+2 and 10+3 program i.e. students who drop out be-fore completing grade 10.

An outcome-based TVET system which is the centrepiece of the TVET reform strives for enhanced quality and relevance of TVET. It plans to make it easier to recognize the wide range of non-formal training and informal learning schemes available, opening access to previously neglected target groups. Re-sponsibility for establishing and facilitating a national occupational assessment and certification system rests with the Federal TVET Agency. It stipulates rules and procedures for assessment item development, for conducting assessments and will facilitate, supervise and regulate the system. Responsibility for imple-menting the occupational assessment, i.e. ensuring that assessment is properly conducted and certificates issued, rests with the state TVET authorities.