Call for Applications: Research/Study on TVSD Demand Side

Rethinking the role of Technical and Vocational Skills Development in future work and lifelong learning, in light of digitalization and 4IR

I. Context

Africa has 722 million children and young people. There will be almost 1 billion by 2050.  The number of primary-school age children not attending school has halved. Enrolment rates for secondary and higher education have increased by 14 and 4 percentage points respectively. The number of students in vocational education and training has increased by 24%, and the adult literacy rate has increased1 as well even though there is a huge gap. Gender equity in access to education has also improved. Despite the progress made, Africa is lagging behind other continents and regions. Of the 420 million youth in Africa aged 15 to 35, the majority are unemployed, discouraged, or only vulnerably employed.  Forty percent of young people who join rebel movements worldwide are motivated by a lack of jobs. Fourteen percent of international migrants worldwide were born in Africa2. Most African countries have a dual economy: modern and formal with limited job creation and informal/non formal, which employs 80% of the labor force and contributes up to 55% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in Sub-Saharan Africa. Only 3 million formal jobs are created in Africa annually despite the 10 to 12 million youth that enter the workforce each year3.

While the specific requirements for sectors and skills demand are still unclear, there is a consensus that skills requirement will be changing a lot faster. As a result, TVSD must become more flexible, quicker to adapt, and put a greater focus on lifelong learning in order to meet Africa’s aspiration to become a major knowledge and innovation force in the global economy as envisioned in the African Union Agenda 2063 of the “Africa We Want”, the Continental Education Strategy for Africa (CESA 16-25) and  the United Nations 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly Goal 4 and 84.

Digitalization has entered the world of work at a massive scale, bringing a whole range of opportunities and challenges to the private sector and TVSD providers.  Digital skills underpin nearly every aspect of work and life. From filling in a government form to communicating for work, it is difficult to find a job or life-task that does not require a basic level of digital functioning. 

II. ADEA’s Intervention in the TVSD Space

The Association for the Development of Education in Africa (ADEA) provides important fora for policy dialogue that promote innovative policies and practices among actors. ADEA also ensures that the recommendations stemming from these discourses are translated into concrete actions. One of the key initiatives set up by the Association was to establish a platform called Inter-Country Quality Nodes (ICQNs) that bring together African countries facing a similar challenge and strategic partners with expertise in the specific field. Specific Ministries of Education lead this ICQNs and to date, ADEA has nine including one on Technical and Vocational Skills Development led by Côte d’Ivoire.

ADEA has undertaken several interventions supporting technical and vocational skills development (TVSD) in Africa. First in terms of policy and technical discourse on skills development through high-level policy dialogue forums on education. The Biennale in Maputo (2008) dedicated a sub-theme on “Transition from school to work”, reaffirmed the critical role of TVET (mostly associated with the formal school system, with marginal links to non-formal and informal training sectors) in skills acquisition and economic development and recommended a paradigm shift to TVSD (holistic and inclusive, taking into account lifelong learning imperatives).  As a follow up to the recommendation, the Triennale in Ouagadougou (2012) discussed “Lifelong TVSD for sustainable socio-economic growth in Africa” as a sub-theme, while the first sub-theme for the 2017 Triennale in Dakar was on “Implementing education and lifelong learning for sustainable development”. These three flagship events informed the development of the respective ADEA medium term strategic plans. Discussions during the 2019 High Level Policy Dialogue Forum in Johannesburg around "Reforming Secondary Education to prepare youth for future work” explore strategies for creating pathways between general secondary education and technical and vocational education.

The Inter-Country Quality Node (ICQN) on TVSD has undertaken several capacity building and analytical work in Africa that fed into the high-level policy dialogue forums. These include the education-training-work continuum; policy and governance of TVSD systems; multi-stakeholder partnerships; access, participation and equity for girls in post-conflict and informal sectors; quality, relevance and employability; assessment, validation and certification through NQFs development & relevance to lifelong learning and recognition of prior learning; and financing of vocational training.

III. Objectives of the Demand Study Research

ADEA plans to organize in 2020 or 2021 depending on the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic crisis, a High-Level Policy Dialogue Forum on “Rethinking the role of Technical and Vocational Skills Development in future work and lifelong learning, in light of digitalization and 4IR”. Policy dialogue forums are a tool ADEA uses to stay on top of key issues affecting education or providing a space to share rapid insights and exchange on critical questions in the education sector. They contribute to empowering African countries to develop education and training systems that respond to their emerging national needs and drive sustainable socio-economic transformation. In preparation of this High-Level Policy Dialogue Forum; and in order to support countries to adapt their TVET/TVSD to meet the challenges of the future of work with focus on digitalization, it is critical to gather pertinent information.  Thus, ADEA has decided to undertake this study on TVSD demand to contribute to the planned “ADEA 2020/2021 High-Level Policy Dialogue Forum”. The study will be carried out in five selected countries. The specific objectives of the study are to identify and map the skills required by the digitalization of the world of work and the barriers to the development and implementation of innovative practices in TVET/TVSD.  The assessment will cover the TVET/TVSD ecosystem demand, with a specific focus on formal and informal skills demand.

IV. Scope of work  

The study will be cognizant of the recent phenomenon of the industrialization of African countries and the digital economy as well as the current African Union Agenda 2063 of the “Africa We Want”, the CESA 16-25 and the United Nations 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly Goals 4 and 8. In this regard, the study will propose responses to the following key questions:  (i) How can we build stronger partnership links, particularly with the private sector, including in a digitalized labour market, as both providers of, and investors in TVSD? (ii) What considerations should countries have for the private sector as providers of TVSD programs and what incentives do they need in order to provide TVSD in demand areas, beyond delivering affordable programs? (iii)  How can we effectively consider the role of the private sector in shaping TVSD programs, so that they are aligned with labour market needs?; (iv) How is labour demand in industry changing in the face of digital technologies?; (v) How can the TVSD sector play a major part in the future success of all other industry agriculture, economic,  and social sectors.

V. Proposed Methodology5

  • Identify projects/initiatives led by the private sector and in partnership with the government, in support of TVSD and job creation in particular
  • Assess existing practices to incentivize TVSD private sector providers in support of job creation, with a focus on digital jobs
  • Assess existing national frameworks to facilitate PPP dialogue forums in support of job creation, particularly in the emerging trades like digital jobs
  • Check the current use of modern Labour Market Information Systems/labour force surveys and evaluate its efficiency and effectiveness, particularly its usage in skills development planning
  • Assess the level of labour demand (new jobs) with the emerging digital technologies
  • Identify flagship projects/initiatives in the 5 selected countries as lessons to replicate in other countries based on their uniqueness and/or innovations in terms of leveraging digital technologies to promote employment/job creations
  • Come up with key findings in terms of innovative solutions, lessons learnt and gaps both at policy and practice level in addressing unemployment issues through digital technologies.

VI. Expected Outputs

  • Projects/initiatives led by the private sector, in partnership with governments, in support of TVSD and job creation identified
  • Existing practices to incentivize TVSD private sector providers in support of job creation with a particular focus on digital jobs assessed
  • Existing national frameworks to facilitate PPP dialogue forums in support of job creation, particularly in the emerging trades like digital jobs, assessed or documented
  • Current use of modern Labour Market Information Systems/labour force surveys and an evaluation of its efficiency and effectiveness, particularly its usage on skills development planning, documented
  • The level of labour demand (new jobs) with the emerging digital technologies assessed
  • Flagship projects/initiatives in the 5 selected countries identified as lessons to replicate in other countries based on their uniqueness and/or innovations in terms of leveraging digital technologies to promote employment/job creations 
  • Key findings in terms of innovative solutions, lessons learnt and gaps both at policy and practices in addressing unemployment issues through digital technologies highlighted and documented

VII. Deliverables

A comprehensive report which should include (i) the overall mapping, (ii) the analysis and assessment of projects/initiatives led by the private sector and in partnership with Government, in support of TVSD and job creation in particular, (iii) the analysis and assessment of the practices to incentivize TVSD private sector providers in support of job creation with a particular focus on digital jobs (iv) a model of organizational framework for TVSD institutions to enhance linkage with productive sectors and institutions of higher learning and research; (v) the analysis of  Labour Market Information System/Labour Force survey and evaluate its efficiency and effectiveness particularly its usage for  Skills development planning purposes, (vi) the analysis of Labour demand (new jobs) with the emerging digital technologies and (vii) Clear recommendations on innovative solutions, lessons learnt and gaps both at policy and practices in addressing unemployment issues through digital technologies.

VIII. Selection of Countries

In collaboration with its ICQN on TVSD, ADEA will identify 5 African countries (1 per REC) that have made substantial reforms in the education sector, and TVSD in particular, that have a vibrant private sector, are well advanced in the use of digital technologies in education/TVSD and businesses. 

IX. Consultant's Profile 

  1. A Senior Expert with a minimum of 5 years of proven experience in TVSD/TVET in Africa and having already done similar work. 
  2. Proven Sound knowledge of TVSD and innovation issues within the continent
  3. Experience in project and /or institution diagnostic/ assessment of TDSV in Africa 
  4. Experience in working with private sector or conducting analysis on TVDS demand
  5. Experience in regional analysis or research on Digitalization and TVSD
  6. Fluency in English and French and excellent writing skills
  7. Sound ICT knowledge.

X. Timeline

25th May to 3rd July 2020

XI. Submission of Applications 

Applications (CV and Cover letter) must be sent to [email protected] no later than 5th May 2020 at midnight (12:00am) GMT. The subject of the e-mail should be "ADEA Research/Study on TVSD Demand Side".

Due to the probability of high volume of applications, only selected candidates will be contacted through a formal correspondence via e-mail. Please do not contact ADEA or staff members to enquire about the status of your application.

 

[1] AfDB President Speech during the Launching of AEF

[2] Source: AFDB Jobs for Youth in Africa  strategy 

[3] World Bank, 2017

[4] Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all. Agenda 2063 calls for a paradigm shift towards transformative education and training systems to meet the knowledge, competencies, skills, research, and innovation required to nurture the next generation. 

[5] The consultant has the freedom to improve the proposed methodology in his/her technical offer