Africa's TVET regulators meet in Kenya to harmonize standards

NAIROBI, Nov. 30 (Xinhua) -- The African technical, vocational education, and training (TVET) regulators on Thursday began a meeting in Nairobi, the Kenyan capital, to develop a roadmap for harmonizing qualification standards.

The two-day conference that is being attended by leaders of TVET regulatory bodies and agencies from across the continent also intends to strengthen the digital transformation and governance of TVET systems.

Nicholas Ouma, senior youth adviser with the Department of Education, Science, Technology and Innovation at the African Union Commission (AUC), said that the commission is keen on revitalizing vocational training in the continent.

"Our goal is to help empower the youth to bring rapid transformation in industries to contribute to development," Ouma said, predicting that the growing African youth population if properly harnessed could spur increased productivity and stronger economic growth across the continent.

Ouma noted that education systems in the continent are currently undergoing challenges with access of young people to skills, quality equipment, relevant skills, financing, and governance but this will soon be a thing of the past amid demand-oriented vocational training.

He said that the AUC and development partners are currently supporting countries to build resilient education systems for increased access to inclusive, lifelong, quality, and relevant learning in Africa.

Esther Thaara Muoria, the principal secretary of the State Department of Vocational and Technical Training in the Kenyan Ministry of Education, said that it is unfortunate that TVET systems in Africa are often fragmented and underfunded.

Muoria urged African governments to fund the institutions since underfunding often leads to low-quality training and a shortage of skilled workers.

The Nairobi conference is expected to provide an opportunity for TVET regulators to share information about their systems, including their strengths, challenges, and priorities. They will also update themselves on the continental TVET policy review process and review a strategy for blended TVET as part of the initiatives to implement the AU digital education strategy.

The regulators are also working on promoting collaboration and partnerships among TVET regulatory bodies.

The conference is also being attended by officials from the Commonwealth of Learning, an initiative that focuses on the use of distance and open learning in technical and vocational skills development.

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