3 Key Reasons Why TVET Needs to Strengthen Links with Industry

The Current State of TVET Relationship with Industry

In most emerging economies, educators and Industry operate in different worlds and often have little contact with each other.

Frequently, their social networks and association linkages have no overlap. Surveys often show a complete lack of understanding or respect for the interests and commitments of the other group.

In countries with a tradition of central planning, a market place that creates demand for training is unknown. 

The practice has been for Government to provide free training in skills determined by government, independent of employer demand. The system uses curriculum created by academics with little or no understanding of industry requirements or local needs. 

The adoption  of market responsive TVET is still an on-going process in developed countries and a very new experience in emerging economies or those moving away from a centralized, command and control dominated recent history.

In these circumstances, Educators have no experience in marketing or of tailoring services to  “customers” needs.  They often see market orientation  as cheapening the values of education and giving up a sense of social responsibility in the pursuit of revenue.

They have no tradition of market responsiveness and a very real fear of becoming salesmen. They are also afraid of the unknown as their orientation, experience and education have in no way prepared them for this new orientation in TVET.

Links with Industry

3 key reasons why TVET needs to strengthen its links with industry:

1. Industry is the primary consumer of TVET graduates.

Industry  participation in TVET curriculum and workplace training opportunities is the primary way of achieving this.

If employers are not involved in the process of the specific skills attitude and behaviors required by graduates, they are less likely to see any relevance between TVET and their skills needs.

2. TVET is costly

Very few countries can afford to provide a comprehensive and effective TVET system purely through Government financing.

In many developed countries, it is estimated that up to 80% of skills development is provided by Industry for its own workers.

Beyond this, in countries with reasonable links between Industry and TVET institutions, 20 to 40 per cent of TVET Institutional revenue is generated by the “entrepreneurial” activities of the individual institutions.

This is often seen as a part of  beneficiary based financing of TVET. It assumes that all parties benefit to some degree and, hence, can support TVET to the corresponding.

If Industry sees no benefit in the linkage, they will not support such a program and legislation will be largely ineffective.

3. Technologies change faster and faster

In academic education, curriculum is relatively stable. In TVET, a 3 year old curriculum may be teaching the history of technology and not the skills currently required by industry.

Constant feedback from industry is the primary input to updating curriculum along with graduate input on the relevance of their institution learned skills to performance requirement.

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