This report focuses on TVET in the South African Development Community (SADC). It finds that there is a very weak current knowledge base for TVET in the region. This report is a first step towards better knowledge on TVET for better policies and practices. TVET is recognised as important in SADC’s protocol on education and training (1997) as well as by the Education for All Agenda. The benefits of TVET are known to include:
- Economic growth and poverty alleviation
- Facilitating the transition of young people to decent work and adulthood
- Improve productivity
- Helping the unemployed to find work
- Assist in reconstruction after conflicts and disasters
- Promote social inclusion.
Major concerns exist about the progress of TVET in southern Africa. SADC and UNESCO intervened by commissioning a pilot TVET monitoring tool. A regional review of TVET fed into a new strategic programme of action for regional cooperation. Although the available data presented some limitations, the report provides a foundation for future strategic interventions based on the evidence available.
The definition of TVET was a key challenge. TVET can be replaced by other concepts such as human resources development or skills development, which are seen in some contexts as being broader notions. A better inter-regional understanding of definitions is needed. A glossary key terms and a taxonomy of how these relate to each other theoretically could feed into the theory of how their acquisition and development should be sequenced and structured.
The challenges around understanding TVET, and how it can be measured, have required a pragmatic definition of TVET to be adopted for this report that largely focuses on initial vocational education and training within dedicated provider institutions that engage with the lower and intermediate levels of national qualifications.