In the past, few graduates of initial vocational training aspired to higher levels of education. But higher-level quali cations are now a common expectation among young people, re ecting increased ambitions, labour market demand for higher-level skills, and a need to upskill and reskill throughout life. At the same time, the perception of academic school education as the natural route to university underlines the importance of demonstrating that technical and vocational education and training (TVET) programmes can also open a pathway to lifelong learning, including higher education.
UNESCO and others are now putting a spotlight on this issue
In response, UNESCO and other international bodies are now giving increasing attention to opportunities for further learning for TVET graduates. UNESCO (2016) is recommending that ‘Member States should develop pathways and facilitate transitions between secondary, post-secondary and tertiary education including exible admission procedures and guidance, credit accumulation and transfer, bridging programmes and equivalency schemes that are recognized and accredited by relevant authorities. TVET institutions, and other education institutions and authorities, should collaborate for the implementation of such measures’.
This publication looks at how this recommendation might be implemented, and proposes policy guidelines, which have been published separately (UNESCO, 2018a).
Effective pathways serve multiple goals
Effective pathways allow those with TVET qualifications or practitioner backgrounds to have a full opportunity to benefit from further, post-secondary (including higher) education. This does not mean that those with TVET backgrounds ‘should’ pursue post-secondary or higher education, but rather that they should face no unreasonable hindrances if they wish to do so. Effective pathways serve several policy goals. They:
• increase the attractiveness of initial TVET by meeting student aspirations, and remove any perception of TVET tracks as dead-ends;
• reduce inequality, including gender inequality, and promote social inclusion and mobility, by opening up post-secondary education to a wider group of people, including the most disadvantaged;
• help to meet growing economic demands for higher-level skills and quali cations;
• support lifelong learning, so that individuals can continue to develop knowledge and skills throughout their adult lives, and economies can adapt the skills of the workforce in response to technical and economic change;
• remove artificial barriers, such as requirements to repeat course material, that increase the costs of learning and prevent some from realizing their full potential.
But many countries face challenges in the quality of initial TVET
Many countries face signi cant challenges in the quality of initial TVET, including both equity challenges and weak engagement by the world of work. This means that sometimes resolving these quality challenges must be the policy priority, rather than addressing subsequent pathways, and for that reason a high quality of initial TVET is described here as a precondition for the development of pathways. But very often it will make sense to address the quality of initial TVET alongside e orts to improve subsequent pathways, since those pathways are a major element in making initial TVET attractive to students.
Chosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor. Read the whole story at Pathways of progression: linking technical and vocational education and training with post-secondary education – UNESCO Bibliothèque Numérique