Namibia hosts regional vocational training conference
The conference was arranged by the Namibia Training Authority, under the auspices of the Ministry of Education, and took place in Swakopmund, Namibia from 7 to 10 November 2006, with the theme “Maximising Effectiveness of Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) in SADC.”
The 4th Annual Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) in SADC Conference addressed the need for a forum on this subject. The aim was to make sure that all parties developing TVET curriculum in the SADC Region are aware of one another and in communication with each other. In addition, benefits and drawbacks of closer collaboration and interchange between agencies working to improve TVET curriculum will be examined along with the possibility of developing a regional qualifications framework that would allow for qualifications obtained in one member state of SADC to be recognized without question in any of the other member states.
The conference was also a forum for TVET Practitioners to share their practical experience in developing curriculum and training materials by bringing experience from their respective countries
The main aim of the conference was to establish and promote partnerships between governments, industries, business and education and training providers involved in TVET in the SADC region. Participants had the opportunity to exchange and showcase developments and best practices in the areas of competency-based training, assessment arrangements and recognition of prior learning.
Through thematic workshops and presentations from renowned education and training specialists, participants at the conference also had the opportunity to interact and exchange ideas and developments with some 180 world renowned education and training specialists from Namibia and other countries such as Angola, Australia, Botswana, Canada, Germany, Kenya, Mauritius, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, Uganda, United Kingdom, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Some 12 organisations and/or training providers exhibited at the conference.
The main focus of the presentations and discussions was on the role that the private sector in the different countries should play in TVET. Although there is general agreement that the active involvement and participation of the private sector is critical for the success and relevance of any TVET system, most developing countries lack effective strategies for enhancing the active participation of the private sector.
The conference provided a platform for the discussion of different strategies being used by different countries to foster private sector participation. Private sector presenters and participants from different countries made proposals and recommendations on the role which the private sector should play and the framework conditions which should be in place to facilitate the effective implementation of this role.
Historically in Southern Africa vocational training has been based on European models and consequently has not been appropriate for the African situation.
The European model took for granted the time that people had to dedicate to training and also the level of schooling that learners would have prior to commencing vocational training. It was also isolated from market needs of the private sector.
In the SADC region long standing poverty has been experienced by those who are socially, economically and politically disadvantaged. Governments through out the region have taken steps to uplift the under-privileged class and one of the most important steps in recent years has been to develop a highly competent and skilled work force through developing relevant and accessible vocational and technical training.
Governments through out SADC realized that a different approach to vocational and technical training was required, one that recognized the social, economic and political realities of both individuals and the private sector in Southern Africa. National Training Authorities were created and charged with the task of remodeling vocational training structures and curriculum to ensure its relevance, efficiency and quality.
In Namibia Ministry of Education had decided to establish the Namibia Training Authority to lead the process of improving TVET through the development of a competency-based curriculum that is suited to the needs of both the private sector and to individuals as it is modular in structure, provides for flexible entry and exit, allows recognition of prior learning (RPL) and recognition of current competencies (RCC) and allows training programmes of varying duration.