Vocational Education and Skills Development

After decades of neglect as a field of intervention in international development cooperation, vocational education and training (VET) has been experiencing a renaissance in recent years. The reasons for this are high youth unemployment, the realisation that primary school qualifications are not sufficient to enable people to break out of the cycle of poverty and, ultimately, the focus of international development cooperation on economic development.

In the SDGs, vocational education and training is anchored in goals 4.3 and 4.4. It is an important instrument for economic development for many governments as well as bilateral and multilateral donors. For a long time, vocational education and training in many countries of the Global South has been regarded as inefficient and as a "second-class" education that prevents social mobility.

It is therefore discussed how vocational education and training can be linked to the needs of the economy, how quality can be improved and how the "dead end of vocational education and training" can be overcome. In the Global South, there is now keen interest in the German-speaking countries’ model of dual vocational training in the workplace and at vocational schools. This model is seen as the main reason for the low level of youth unemployment in German-speaking countries.

ÖFSE analyses vocational education and training as part of the education systems in the countries of the Global South, especially against the background of different colonial traditions and new global developments such as digitalisation and the pursuit of a green transition. The focus is on the following questions:

  • What conditions are needed and what strategies are promising for vocational education and training to contribute to poverty reduction, overcoming social disparities and inclusive as well as sustainable economic development?
  • Which state and non-state actors play a role in vocational education and skills development, what interests do they pursue and what contribution can they make to inclusive, relevant and sustainable vocational education?

For more information contact:

Ms. Margarita Langthaler
Senior Researcher
Tel.: +43 1 317 40 10 – 112  
E-Mail: m.langthaler@oefse.at
more information

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