The image of technical and vocational education and training (TVET) is often quite low in many countries. This includes those with advanced industrial economies as well those with developing economies.
The outcomes of having such a low image include a reluctance of young people and their parents to consider TVET as a viable educational option, viewing participation in it as a second option at best. In addition, low image
can lead to reduced government, industry and enterprise sponsorship and support of TVET, thereby adding to its lack of attractiveness for young people. Yet, there is often a mismatch between the worth and bene ts of TVET and decision-making about it.
As a consequence, it is necessary to identify what factors shape the image of TVET and what initiatives can be enacted so that this important educational sector is considered on its own merits, and supported more by the community, government and employers. In this way, it more likely to achieve its educational goals for young people, their communities, workplaces and nations. The virtual conference focused on these important issues.
Organized on the occasion of World Youth Skills Day 2018, this virtual conference aimed to engage with this issue by initiating, guiding and synthesising a range of perspectives, evidence and advice about the factors in uencing the image of TVET and the occupations it serves and, importantly how these can be addressed to make TVET attractive to youth. The virtual conference was hosted by UNESCO-UNEVOC from 16 to 24 July 2018 on the TVeT Forum.
Consequences of the image of TVET
The contributions of participants from across a range of continents and countries suggest that the image of TVET is consistently low and its consequences are widely manifested. Overall, with a few exceptions, the participants reported that the current image of TVET limits its attractiveness to young people, their parents, and even employers. The exceptions are the few instances where TVET is associated with more prestigious occupations or institutions and is given terminology that is attractive to young people and their parents.
Factors shaping TVET’s image
The contributions from participants representing countries with diverse economic and social circumstances and from ensuing discussions suggest that the image of TVET is shaped by historical (e.g. colonial, class-based, caste-based), cultural (e.g. preference for ‘clean’, high-status occupations) and institutional (e.g. level of education, remuneration) factors and the particular complex of factors that shape how that is manifested in each country. These factors, moreover, are often sustained and even exacerbated by current arrangements in education, particularly when TVET in upper secondary schooling is seen as competing against ‘academic’ streams, and in post-school provisions competing with university education. The virtual conference’s respondents suggested a range of sources of the low image of TVET and made a range of specific suggestions.
Views of young people about the image of TVET
As the ultimate consumers of TVET, young people’s perspectives on the image of TVET are particularly important. Contributors consistently stated that how young people come to view TVET is shaped by, amongst others, parents, familiars, teachers and social media. So, it is these influencing factors that are likely to be the focus for e orts to enhance the image of TVET.
Chosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor. Read the whole story at Virtual conference report on improving the image of TVET: UNESCO-UNEVOC TVeT Forum, 16 to 24 July 2018