8th ADEA-WGHE/AAU Webinar: TVET Strategy for African Technical Universities


For a long time in Africa, technical and vocational education and training (or TVET) has been associated with the acquisition of basic and low-level skills for employment in the informal economy. For this reason, the TVET education pathway was largely considered by educators and even parents as inferior to general education and fit for the less academically-endowed learner. This erroneous perception of TVET has antecedents in the colonial history of Africa when the curriculum emphasis of the early schools was on learning that would produce administrative assistants and interpreters who would support the colonialists in their governance and trading activities. To be a scholar was synonymous with the ability to count, read, write, and understand the Whiteman’s language. And yet informal TVET in Africa predates the arrival of the Whiteman. Pre-colonial TVET manifested itself in a traditional apprenticeship system that taught young girls to cook and take care of the home, while young boys learnt to forage for food, hunt for animals, and build dwellings.

After a long period of near-neglect and marginalization, TVET is now universally acknowledged as a driver of socio-economic development because of its important role in the formation of skilled human capital. Indeed Goal #4.4 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) explicitly makes the case for skills training: By 2030, substantially increase the number of youth and adults who have relevant skills, including technical and vocational skills, for employment, decent jobs and entrepreneurship (SG4.4). In view of the challenge of youth unemployment in Africa, which is reaching crisis proportions, African countries can no longer afford to marginalize technical and vocational skills development (or TVSD) in their human resource development strategies.

Over 20% of the youth population of about 200 million in sub-Saharan Africa are either unemployed or in low-paid or precarious jobs. On the streets of major African cities, an increasing population of out-of-school youth and adults compete dangerously for space in between moving vehicles as street vendors. According to the 2012 Africa Progress Panel Report, there are 173 million Africans between the ages of 15 and 24 years, most of whom have entered the world of work from childhood with limited education and skills for decent employment and jobs. Every year about 11 million poorly skilled graduates from the school system make the transition from school to the labour market in search of jobs. The Africa Centre for Economic Transformation estimates that about half of the 10 million or so students graduating from the tertiary education systems of Africa yearly do not transition directly into employment. A recent World Bank study also reports that 48% of Ghanaian youth in the 15-24 years age bracket are jobless. In countries such as Zambia and Ethiopia, young graduates may take up to 5 years after training before finding a job. The ILO estimates that in Zambia, about 280,000 new entrants join the labour market annually. In Tanzania where about 800,000 people enter the labour market each year, the public or government sector can only absorb 40,000 or 5% of the workforce. The average transition time from school to work is about 19 months. Although youth unemployment may be attributed to a complex set of factors, including skills mismatches and punitive taxation and business unfriendly policies, TVET has emerged as one of the best learning options for the acquisition of employable skills for the job market.


The main objectives of this webinar presentation are to

  1. Broaden the understanding of TVET education and the different forms of TVET.
  2. Explore the relevance and the way forward for TVET Higher Education in Africa.
  3. Discuss sustainable financing mechanisms for TVET Higher Education.
  4. Explore the role of TVET in national socioeconomic development.
  5. Explore TVET as a key response to the challenge of youth unemployment and a driver of economic growth.
  6. Discuss the role that African Technical Universities can play in adding value to primary commodities and other natural resources, supporting economic transformation, providing technology solutions to small and medium enterprises, and wealth creation.

Expected outputs

The expected outputs include a set of recommendations that will help policy formulators and implementers to better understand and appreciate the challenges confronting TVET in Africa as well as policy guidelines for the development of pragmatic strategies that would support the revitalization of holistic national TVET systems that are responsive to both market and learner needs.


The deliverables of the WGHE webinar are:

  • Presentation on a Higher Education TVET Strategy for African Technical Universities.
  • Interaction with various participants and stakeholders on the presentation. 
  • Lessons learned from the presentation as well as the questions and answer (Q/A) session.


Date: Thursday, 30th March, 2017

Time: 12:00 GMT

Venue: Online (Adobe Connect Platform)

Organizers:  This Webinar is organized by the Association for Development of Education in Africa (ADEA) through its Working Group on Higher Education (WGHE), hosted by the Association of African Universities (AAU). Target Audience: Webinars are open to all - most especially, Commissions on Higher Education, Policy Makers and TVET Divisions of the Ministries of Education in Africa, African Union TVET Expert Group, ADEA Working Groups and ICQN on TVSD, National Board for Professional and Technician Examinations (NABPTEX), Council For Technical and Vocational Education and Training (COTVET), Heads and Staff of Technical Universities, Polytechnics and TVET Institutions in Africa, Industry Groups and Employer Associations, Non-Governmental Organizations, African Diaspora, Youth Organizations, and others.


  1. Register at www.aau.org/webinars
  2. Webinar will be livestreamed on: https://meet53484183.adobeconnect.com/wghetalks/
  3. Make sure you have Adobe flash player installed on your device (computer, smartphones etc.)
Live Tweeting and Event Hashtag
  1. Join the conversation following #WGHETalks and share your comments and questions.
  2. Follow our webinar via our social media channels:

AAU  @AAU_67      |    AAU  AAU    |    ADEA  @ADEAnet    |    ADEA  ADEAnet 

For any further information, please contact the following phone numbers for assistance: (+233) 302.77.44.95/ 71.55.88, (+233) or email us at: kasam@aau.org and ndhlamini@aau.org


Dr. George Afeti is a tertiary education and TVET consultant. He is a trained mechanical engineer, educated at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Ghana and the University of Paris in France where he obtained a Docteur Ingénieur (Dr.-Ing.) degree in 1983. He is a former Secretary General of the Commonwealth Association of Polytechnics in Africa and a former Rector of Ho Polytechnic in Ghana. He has taught at universities and polytechnics in France, Nigeria and Ghana and is an education consultant to many international organizations and agencies including the World Bank, the African Development Bank, the Association for the Development of Education in Africa (ADEA) and UNESCO. He has written extensively on TVET and skills development and published a book on differentiation and articulation within the higher education systems of Africa. As consultant to the African Union Commission, he drafted the Continental TVET Strategy to foster Youth Employment in Africa. Dr. Afeti is currently Chairman of the African Union TVET Expert Group and Vice Chair of the Consultative Advisory Group of the World Bank’s PASET (Partnership for Skills in Applied Sciences, Engineering & Technology) Initiative.