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Making TVET inclusive of persons with disabilities

Policy brief: Making TVET and skills systems inclusive of persons with disabilities

This document recently issued by the International Labour Organisation (ILO), the U.N. agency based in Geneva that sets labour standards, develops policies and devises programmes promoting decent work for all, outlines the steps involved in making TVET and skills development systems accessible to persons with disabilities.

According to ILO, people with disabilities comprise 15 per cent of the global population and an estimated 785 million persons of working age. They represent a marginalized group in the labour market in all countries around the world, being far more likely to be unemployed or underemployed. Their labour market situation entails social and economic losses which have been estimated by the ILO to be between 3 and 7 per cent of GDP.

There is a urgent need to address the marginalization of people with disabilities in the labour market, and to take steps to reduce the significant social and economic cost this represents to individuals and society at large. TVET systems can play a crucial role in this process by enabling people with disabilities to acquire skills and qualifications required in the labour market and improve their employment prospects.

The inclusion of vocational education and training as explicit outcomes in the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) gives TVET and skills systems an unprecedented profile on the international stage. The SDGs include a target of ensuring equal access to vocational training at all levels for persons with disabilities along with other vulnerable groups (Target 4.5).

The policy brief outlines a number of actions to effectively promote the inclusion of people with disabilities in TVET programmes:

  • an enabling policy or strategy should be put in place mistaken assumptions about the abilities and capabilities of persons with disabilities should be challenged;
  • buildings and transport should be made accessible;
  • entry criteria, teaching methods, materials and evaluation methods should be reviewed and adapted;
  • TVET workforce capacity to teach trainees with disabilities alongside non-disabled trainees should be
  •  operational alliances should be formed with key partners;
  • a system of on-going support to inclusion, including reasonable accommodation, should be developed;
  • the effectiveness of the policy or strategy should be regularly monitored and reviewed; and
  • resources should be allocated to make these changes

The document provides best practices adopted by various countries to increase access to TVET for people with disabilities, including the Australian Apprenticeships Incentives Programme providing a range of assistance to support apprentices with disabilities, and the itinerant support teachers, with specialist expertise in areas such as hearing and/or vision impairment, early intervention, autism and behavioural disorders, can be provided in NSW to assist students with disabilities and their class teachers.

The Policy Brief Making TVET inclusive of persons with disabilities released by ILO is available here


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Greening TVET: A Practical Guide for Institutions

Greening TVET: A Practical Guide for Institutions Released by UNESCO-UNEVOC

Environmental Issues represent one of the World’s most pressing challenges of our century. According to the Global Footprint Network, the Earth Overshoot Day, the date when humanity’s annual demand on nature exceeds what Earth can regenerate over the entire year, this year marked globally on August 2, the earliest it’s ever been. Industry can play a pivotal role to reduce the global carbon footprint and change the future of our Planet. This transition demands a change in the nature of work by ensuring workforces have skills and knowledge to support the new green economies and societies. TVET is crucial to support the transition to a low-carbon economy by preparing learners to face new expectations of the industry.

In light of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), TVET underpins many of the proposed goals and the achievement of sustainable development. For example, Goals 4, 6 and 8 of the SDGs are directly related to TVET, with many of the targets capable of being supported by a well-designed TVET system and targeted skills-development interventions.

The “Greening TVET” guide, recently published by UNESCO-UNEVOC International Centre for TVET, outlines the main reasons to invest in greening TVET, including:

  • Greening TVET helps production to advance to more environmentally conscious practices,
  • A ‘green’ worker is a more employable worker; a ‘green’ workforce will enhance the profitability of the enterprise;
  • National governments need to seize the potential for job creation by providing skills needed in the new green sectors;
  • Disadvantaged groups in the labour market (young people, women, persons with disabilities, rural communities and other vulnerable groups) require targeted support to develop their potential knowledge and skills for green jobs.

The publication is designed to help leaders and practitioners of technical and vocational education and training (TVET) improving their understanding and implementation of education for sustainable development using a whole-institution approach to greening their institutions.

“Greening TVET” discusses four key steps:

  • STEP 1: Understanding the process
  • STEP 2: Planning for the greening of TVET
  • STEP 3: Implementing an Institutional Green Plan
  • STEP 4: Monitoring and Assessment Strategies

The Guide is available here


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Global Trends in TVET

Global Trends in TVET: A Framework for Social Justice

“The Global Trends in TVET: a framework for social justice” report has been officially launched in Australia on 20 October 2017 at the “The future of public TAFE institutions – new social policy” conference organised in Sydney by the Australian Education Union (AEU). The report was commissioned in 2016 by Education International, the world’s largest Global Union Federation based in Brussels that represents organisations of teachers and other education employees.

The research aims to contribute to the discussion about the role of vocational education in supporting the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal 4 which commits the international community to ‘Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all’.

According to the authors, Leesa Wheelahan and Gavin Moodie: “Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) can help engender tolerance, reduce racism and increase the development of an inclusive society and acceptance of change. Vocational education’s role is all the more important for individuals, groups and societies who suffer the most economic and social disadvantage and are most vulnerable.”

What is this research about:

  1. This paper presents a conceptual framework to understand the ways students transition from vocational education to the labour market is affected by different social, economic, labour market and educational systems. This includes explanations as to why vocational education has a relatively low status in many countries, and the way in which the structures of the labour market affect demand for vocational education graduates.
  2. It shows the unequal access to vocational education in high, medium and low income countries.
  3. It demonstrates the negative impact of human capital policies that seek to marketise vocational education based on narrow instrumental models of curriculum that do not support broader development of individuals, communities and nations.
  4. It argues for a social justice framework for vocational education based on the capabilities approach as developed by the Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen and the philosopher Martha Nussbaum.
  5. It suggests a program of research for Education International to deepen understandings about vocational education in different contexts. The aim of the research would be to support policy development and to strengthen the role that vocational education teachers and publicly funded vocational education
    institutions can play in supporting social justice and sustainable social and economic development.

The Summary is available here

The full report is available here


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How to measure ROI from TVET

As recognised by the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,  TVET systems not only have the capacity to influence labour markets and national economies, but also to contribute to equitable, inclusive and sustainable societies.

In the current economic scenario, funding of national TVET systems is a key challenge for each country and the ability to measure the Return of Investment (ROI) obtained from investing in TVET is crucial to all stakeholders involved in the system. Understanding the ROI in vocational education can help, government, industry, and individuals to measure productivity and to determine increases in the employability of individuals following training investment. However, the measurement of ROI is not straightforward and may vary depending on the context.

National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER), the professional and independent body responsible for collecting, managing, analysing, evaluating and communicating research and statistics about vocational education and training (VET) in Australia, recently launched a framework to better measure the return on investment from TVET. The research project is based on discussions and partnerships with UNESCO-UNEVOC International Centre in Bonn (Germany), and other UNEVOC Centres in Asia-Pacific region.

The framework uses three main stakeholder groupings – individuals, business and the economy. Although the framework separates these three perspectives, they are not independent of each other.

The authors highlight the following key observations:

  • The key types of ROI for individuals arising from TVET are primarily employment and productivity supporting higher wages. Attainment of employability skills and improved labour force status are also highly valued job-related returns.  Non job-related indicators focus on well-being such as self-esteem and confidence, foundation skill gains, along with social inclusion and improved socio-economic status.
  • The key indicators of ROI for employers arising from TVET cover employee productivity, business profitability, improving quality of products and services and business innovation. Businesses operate similar to small communities and as such generate social and environmental benefits. In particular employee well-being, employee engagement (which reduces absenteeism and staff turnover), a safe workplace and environmental sustainability practices are key non-market indicators of business returns.
  • The key indicator of ROI in the economy from TVET is economic growth. This relates to labour market participation, reduced unemployment rates and a more skilled workforce.  TVET returns to education and training, bring other benefits to society, including improved health, social cohesion (increased democratisation and human rights), and improved social equity particularly for disadvantaged groups and strengthens social capital.

The full report is available here

Source: NCVER

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