This note focuses on the role of Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) in the response to the COVID-19 pandemic. It provides guidance on reducing the adverse impact of the pandemic on TVET provision and enhancing the contribution TVET can make to mitigating the health, social, and economic impact of COVID-19.
1. While facing disruptions, TVET can play a critical role in the different stages of the COVID-19 crisis:
(i) in the coping phase, when schools and many businesses are closed and the health emergency is at its peak; (ii) in the intermediate phase, when schools and businesses gradually reopen, ; and (iii) during the recovery period, when opportunities open up to re-imagine, reset and redo workforce training. It is important to recognize that significant uncertainty remains about the timeline for each of these phases, and that this will differ by country and region, as will the ability of the TVET system to implement responses to the crisis.
2. TVET can be well-placed to develop important skills needed to mitigate the impacts of the COVID- 19 pandemic. The pandemic has emphasized the crucial importance of many practical service sector jobs. These essential workers include, inter alia, health care professionals, child and elder care workers, grocery store employees, logistics workers, and ICT support staff. TVET’s focus on practical skills, and its potential to deliver short-term, targeted and modular training can be harnessed to rapidly upskill workers in essential sectors and to reskill individuals to engage in the emergency response. TVET’s focus on work-readiness could also imply that TVET students could relatively easily be engaged in the emergency response.
3. TVET’s focus on practical skills creates certain challenges for distance learning during both the crisis and the gradual re-opening of training centers, but there are also some opportunities to acquire relevant skills via work-based learning during the pandemic. Since most educational institutions, including those in TVET, have closed due to COVID-19 measures, teaching and learning has moved from classrooms to remote means, facilitated by the internet, television, radio, or print materials, but the degree to which learning can still take place outside the classroom is constrained by many factors, which can be most binding in low-income contexts and for vulnerable students. The hallmark of TVET – its focus on practical skills and work-readiness – makes remote learning particularly challenging,particularly for occupations where remote learning is a weak substitute for hands-on experience.
However, in some contexts, work-based learning has continued, either on-site or offline.
4. As economies start to recover, TVET can contribute to the economic rebound and build back better programs and skill development systems. As economies recover, workers who lost their livelihood and new labor market entrants will be looking for jobs; moreover, the pandemic is likely to result in structural changes to the labor markets in many countries, with particular skill needs emerging from the crisis (e.g. increased demand for digital skills, technical skills in areas such as public health, and socio-emotional skills that promote adaptability). TVET can contribute to the economic recovery by ensuring that it is prepared to rapidly identify and respond to such skill needs. In many countries, TVET systems face challenges in responding quickly and adequately to changing skill demand. To help address the substantial economic disruptions caused by the pandemic, it will be especially important that bottlenecks preventing demand-responsive training provision are addressed and that training programs and skill development systems are appropriately reimagined, reset and reworked. A great opportunity is opening up that should not be wasted to accelerate TVET system reforms that reinforce the demand-orientation of programs so they can respond quickly to shifting patterns of skill demand. Fortunately, there is a lot of experimentation and learning happening during the COVID-19 crisis, and many investments are taking place in TVET and the overall education system. These investments can trigger a systemic shift and give an extra impetus to strengthening TVET systems. For example, investments in remote learning need to embrace smart strategies to enable learning outside of TVET classrooms (virtual simulations, learning at work, learning at home). This can set the foundation for building more inclusive, effective, resilient, and efficient training systems.
Chosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor. Read the whole story @ TVET systems’ response to COVID-19: challenges and opportunities