Skills development for livelihoods is a priority for most governments today, which has made technical and vocational education and training (TVET) more important globally than ever before. This is reflected in the Sustainable Development Goals, the fourth of which aims to “ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and lifelong learning opportunities for all” and to “sustainably increase the number of youth and adults who have relevant skills, including technical and vocational skills for employment, decent jobs and entrepreneurship” by 2030. Effective and efficient TVET training delivery is key to achieving that goal.
In Ethiopia, the TVET system is dominated by theoretical/academic teaching and learning techniques, as opposed to vocational pedagogy approaches, because trainers lack capacity in vocational pedagogy. Students trained by TVET trainers who lack this capacity end up ill-prepared and without the skills demanded by the labour market.
To address the gap, LIWAY partnered with the Federal TVET Institute to pilot an intervention aimed at introducing vocational pedagogy in the Ethiopian TVET system to improve trainers’ capacity and enable them to deliver more effective and productive training. The Federal TVET Institute developed and is piloting the vocational pedagogy business model with technical assistance and cost-sharing from LIWAY.
Prior to the intervention, the Federal TVET Institute had not offered vocational pedagogy courses to its trainees; it had only provided subject-specific technical training to those who advanced from diploma to degree-level education.
Dr. Yishak Degefu, Faculty Dean of Pedagogical and Behavioural Sciences at the Federal TVET Institute highlighted the benefits of the new model:
“The effect of the vocational pedagogy business model introduced with LIWAY is manifold. The TVET sector used to employ graduates from applied fields and engage them in the delivery of training in TVET Colleges without providing any training in pedagogy. It is evident that pedagogy is just as important as subject-matter knowledge in making trainers effective in the delivery of training. An improvement in vocational skills for employability and citizenship can only be realised if there is an improvement in the quality, effectiveness, and relevance of teaching. These key principles can be actualised through the implementation of vocational pedagogy. Therefore, this business model has been seen as a lifeline for the sector as graduates from applied universities used to receive only five days of training in the methodology of training.”
As a result of this piloted vocational pedagogy intervention, 10 vocational pedagogy courses totalling 40 credit hours have been endorsed as courses in the Federal TVET Institute thus far. The Institute is offering these endorsed vocational courses to its regular students in its 15 satellite training centres, which are located in ten Ethiopian regional states. The endorsed vocational pedagogy courses are:
- Curriculum and Teaching Training Learning Materials Development (4 credit hours)
- Vocational Pedagogy/General Methods of Training (4 credit hours)
- Vocation-Specific Pedagogy/Occupational Methodology of Construction (4 credit hours)
- Vocation-Specific Pedagogy/Occupational Methodology of Manufacturing (4 credit hours)
- Vocation-Specific Pedagogy/Occupational Methodology IT (4 credit hours)
- Vocation-Specific Pedagogy/Occupational Methodology of Survey (4 credit hours)
- Competency Assessment (4 credit hours)
- Soft-Skills Training (4 credit hours)
- Instructional Technology (3 credit hours)
- Practice Training (5 credit hours)
To date, more than 3,672 youth from four TVET colleges in Addis Ababa have been trained by 98 trainers who have been upskilled in vocational pedagogy by the Federal TVET Institute. The Ministry of Labour and Skills also requested that the Federal TVET Institute provide the vocational pedagogy training to 86 agricultural TVET trainers from 19 agricultural TVET colleges located in 10 regional states of Ethiopia. The Ministry of Labour and Skills is also interested in introducing vocational pedagogy in its directives.
Youth trained by upskilled trainers to date
The following are some of the key lessons learned to date:
- Working with federal-level institutes helps drive systemic change in vocational pedagogy through expansion to TVETs in other sectors (e.g., agriculture colleges).
- A greater number of TVET trainers can be reached by endorsing vocational pedagogy courses at a system level for the overall TVET sector than by provisioning direct training-of-trainer initiatives.
- Unlocking the bottlenecks within the TVET system can benefit TVET ecosystems including trainers, trainees, and TVET colleges.