Muriel Dunbar on defining skills

Muriel Dunbar, Senior Skills Adviser at Cambridge Education, provides a definition of skills and looks at how widely this extends in terms of educational backgrounds, types of skill, range of ages and range of sectors. She defines skills as: ‘the combination of technical, cognitive and behavioural competences which enable a worker to acquire and retain… Read more


Simon McGrath on transforming skills development

Simon McGrath, Professor of International Education and Development, University of Nottingham, talks about transforming skills development in relation to two key opportunities – the introduction of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in 2015 and the new UNESCO technical and vocational training (TVET) strategy. Although TVET and youth employment is mentioned specifically in the SDGs, Simon… Read more


Higher education as the catalyst of recovery in conflict-affected societies

This article examines the role of higher education in the recovery of conflict-affected societies and argues that while the sector is typically a very low reconstruction priority, it has the potential, if addressed strategically, to act as a catalyst for effective and sustainable post-war recovery. The article begins by contextualising higher education within broader debates… Read more


UNRWA’s ten youth commitments

By 2020, refugee youth (refugees aged 14-29) will number over 1.5 million. This represents an overall 6 per cent rise since 2010: 4 per cent in Jordan, 8 per cent in the West Bank and 15 per cent in Gaza. UNRWA’s ten youth commitments are in the areas of education, health, vocational training, microfinance, scholarships, skills development, rights, partnerships,… Read more


Literature review: higher education and development

Research focusing on the links between education, development and social change has a long history; this includes research on higher education investment in low-income countries by external and international development agencies. Analysis of the impact on society of higher education in developing countries emerged alongside post-colonial discourses and modernisation theories. Research generally focused on how… Read more


Employer engagement in design and development of skills solutions

This paper sets out the key lessons from the ‘Qualitative Evaluation of Demand-led Skill Solutions’ in relation to employer investment and engagement in the design and development of skills solutions. Key findings include: There has been a shift from employer engagement being about asking key employers ‘what do you want?’ to asking them ‘what can… Read more


Enhancing youth employability: what? why? and how? guide to core work skills

Skills have become increasingly important in the globalised world. Vocational and technical skills are essential, but employers are seeking applicants with wider skills. This Guide is designed to guide readers through the key issues in identifying the relevant core skills for employability, understanding their importance and ways these skills can be delivered, attained and recognised. An ILO… Read more


Higher education spaces and protracted displacement: how learner-­centered pedagogies and human­-centered design can unleash refugee innovation

This paper analyses the contribution of Open Educational Resources (OERs) to building 21st century skills and explores the value of tutoring and mentoring models, learner retention, learning technologies, and provision of language and subject matter support that best mediate higher ­level learning in fragile contexts. Variables such as sustainability, operability, equal access, cultural and linguistic… Read more


Affirmative action in education: evidence from engineering college admissions in India

Many countries mandate affirmative action in university admissions for traditionally disadvantaged groups. Little is known about either the efficacy or costs of these programmes. This paper examines affirmative action in engineering colleges in India for “lower-caste” groups. The authors argue that such action successfully targets the financially disadvantaged: the marginal upper-caste applicant comes from a… Read more


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