Coordination is a wide-ranging term which this publication interprets as covering interaction between different ministries and government agencies at a national level; interaction between national, subnational and local structures and agencies; and interaction with social partners such as employers, trade unions and civil society organizations. The publication focuses primarily on the interaction between government ministries and agencies at national and subnational levels, examining how governments can work to coordinate technical and vocational education and development (TVET ) and skills development across relevant policy domains.
The overarching research question which is being asked is, Does the adoption of inter-ministerial coordination mechanisms assist in the achievement of TVET and skills development policy objectives?’
This publication attempts to answer that question through synthesizing evidence on inter-ministerial TVET coordination mechanisms from a range of countries, using a combination of desk research and country case studies. In doing so, it sets out six broad models. Two country case studies are developed for each. They examine instances where responsibility for TVET and skills development is:
Type 1: led by the ministry of education (MoE) or equivalent body, as in the Russian Federation and Turkey.
Type 2: led by the ministry of labour (MoL) or equivalent body, as in Malawi and Tunisia.
Type 3: led by a dedicated TVET ministry, as in India and Burkina Faso.
Type 4: led by a TVET focused government agency or non-departmental public body, as in Jamaica and the Philippines.
Type 5: overseen by a coordinating council or similar body placed higher than the relevant departments, as in France and Bangladesh.
Type 6: disaggregated across line ministries without a permanent centralized coordination mechanism, as in the Republic of Korea and Canada.
The purpose of the case studies was first, to identify the specific trigger points that lead to changes in the use or effectiveness of inter-ministerial coordination mechanisms, and second, to assess the extent to which these inter-ministerial coordination mechanisms have played a role in strengthening the foundational requirements of an effective TVET and skills development system in each country.
In order to determine the extent to which the different types of TVET governance achieve positive outcomes the research included developing a list of ten essential building blocks and assessing the impact of inter-ministerial coordination on each of them ( Table 1).
However, analysis of the case studies leads to the conclusion that none of the six types can be said consistently to deliver superior results to the others across these ten building blocks. This is partly because of the small sample and subjectivity of the case studies, but also partly because of the inconsistency of results from countries using the same governance model. Rather, the analysis shows that the presence of a number of underlying features has more impact on the quality of governance and the likelihood of effective inter-ministerial coordination. These features include the need for the body responsible for TVET also to have authority to implement policy and to have control over TVET funding; for there to be clarity of role and purpose between stakeholders; for the mechanisms used for inter-ministerial consultation and coordination to be either sustained or abandoned and replaced; and for
TVET to be part of a larger human resource development (HRD) strategy with clear pathways for learners to follow.
The case studies also highlighted that the success or otherwise of any of the types of governance may be judged by the extent to which additional coordination measures are required either day to day or in a crisis, how well they accommodate industry involvement and respond to labour market changes, and their impact at subnational and local levels.
The desk research identified ‘trigger points’ to facilitate effective inter-ministerial coordination, and the case studies explored the extent to which these enable an effective TVET and skills development system to develop. They conclude that the most likely triggers are those resulting from a shock to the economy or a political pronouncement, and that systems are rarely initiated through the availability of government capacity and resources or the need for improved labour market information (LMI).
Following the analysis, the publication draws conclusions on the combination of governance characteristics that needs to be present for any inter-ministerial coordination mechanism to work well, and on how the effectiveness of inter-ministerial coordination mechanisms may be assessed. These are described in Section 5, and in summary, state that:
- Regardless of the governance system, some of the building blocks for successful TVET are harder to introduce and maintain than others.
- The type of governance structure adopted by a country for its TVET system is not the determining factor for whether the system will work well or badly. A combination of other features is more important.
- TVET governance structures can be evaluated according to how well they cope without compensatory measures both on a day-to-day basis and in response to sudden shocks in the system.
- The level of involvement of employers is an important measure but insufficient unless it shows evidence of improved employment results.
- The efficiency and effectiveness of training provision at local level should be traceable back to coordination with a well-functioning national system.
- The stimulus to review governance systems is less likely to come from within the system and more likely to be in response to an external socio-economic shock or political pronouncement demanding better results in skills development.
Finally, acknowledging that other factors besides the governance model are critical, the publication makes recommendations on actions that governments could take to deliver better TVET and employment results, specifically by prioritizing resources for work on four high-impact building blocks which present the greatest challenge to governments. It also suggests nine criteria which governments can use to review the efficiency of their own TVET governance systems and the effectiveness of their coordination mechanisms.
Chosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor. Read the whole story at Taking a whole of government approach to skills development