Building linkages between the TVET system and Industry varies greatly from country to country.
Much of the failure in building these linkages in emerging economies has come from attempts to import a system from another country at a different stage of development or with different historic relationships between government and industry.
1. In some countries, there is a clear and long partnership among government, workers and employers. In others, employers view government with great suspicion and want a minimum relationship.
In other countries, enterprise is owned and managed by nationals of that country. In many developing countries industries have few local interests and commitments beyond short term profits.
2. In some countries there is a stable political environment in which change is planned and reasonably orderly. In many emerging economies there is a transition from one political/economic system to another with the target system being designed day by day and the historic system crumbling piece by piece.
3. There are countries with clear national legislation and policies to support linkages between TVET and industry with legal requirements for compliance and enforcement by government of the requirements.
In other countries, legislation may exist with no enforcement or there may be no policy at all of no legislation outlining policy implementation strategies.
4. To develop an effective TVET-Industry linkage strategy, the idea of testing out what works now or can be made to work is a much more assured approach than adopting systems from a vastly different cultural, political, economic and developmental environments.
Recent experience has only underlined the importance of this bottom up approach to identify what can work…or is even working now in small ways, rather than legislating unworkable frameworks. Developing a policy framework without full industry participation and then acceptance will lead to resistance and then poor compliance.
This process uses the diplomatic approach of “confidence building measures” between two parties who have had no previous relationship (or only a hostile one) and then builds partnerships on growing mutual comfort.
For this to happen, the leaders (Directors, Principals) of TVET institutions must provide institutional leadership and consistent support to the development of a market orientation and the development of an Industry outreach strategy. The reaching out must come from the institutions.
5. Industry is driven by profit. The key question is…how will this activity or product increase my revenue or decrease my expense? What is the benefit to my owners (shareholders)? Answering these questions effectively is the core of building links with Industry.
Social responsibility as a driver for linkages between TVET and Industry is largely ineffective as an incentive in emerging economies. It can be a product of linkages, but not a driver.
Institutions respond to the market place to the degree that they benefit financially and staff see a direct personal or financial benefit.
6. Linkages between TVET and Industry are almost always local. Companies link with their local VC for some benefit. Individual institutions must have the freedom through policy support , skills and incentives to develop the linkages themselves. They must also have program based cost norms to price the training (or other service).
What do you think? Have you had success in this linkage in your own country? Please share in the Comments below.