Second Meeting of the Inter-Country Quality Node on Technical and Vocational Skills Development

19 September 2011 to 21 September 2011
Republic of Côte d’Ivoire

Introduction and Background

ADEA launched the concept of Inter-Country Quality Node or ICQN in order to act as a catalyst for innovative policies and practices that are conducive to change in education and training in Africa through the pooling of thinking, experiences, lessons learned and knowledge. To this end priority is given by ADEA to the networking of decision makers and public and private actors who can make a joint contribution to the resolution of common challenges at the regional and sub-regional levels.
The concept of ICQN is of particular importance in the preparation of the ADEA 2011 Triennale which has the goal of designing and developing systems and measures for acquiring critical knowledge, skills and qualifications that will help the continent meet challenges of its future development. This goal cannot be achieved without developing partnerships and frameworks for collective action between countries facing similar challenges, an indispensable condition for pooling together knowledge and lessons learned from successful national experiences. Therefore, ICQNs have become an approach for the creation of educational and training systems which are relevant to the demands of economic and social development of the whole continent. 
Currently eight ICQNs exist, but two are of particular interest and work actively at regional level: the ICQN on peace education and the ICQN that promotes inter-country cooperation on technical and vocational skills development (TVSD) which is the subject of this proposal.

    Post Conference Documents

  • Report of the Second Meeting of the ADEA ICQN on Technical and Vocational Skills Development (ICQN/TVSD), PDF

    Conference Documents

  • Tentative Programme, PDF
  • Draft Concept Note, PDF

Context and Rationale

A challenge expressed at the Maputo Biennale by most of the African countries was how to train and help the huge number of youth acquire the right skills required by the formal as well as informal economy to enable them to enter the world of work. The Biennale demonstrated at the same time that integrating young people in the labor market requires rising above the traditional, dichotomous vision in which general post-primary education is viewed as separate from technical and vocational education and training (TVET), and the TVET system as separate from alternative paths to technical and vocational skills development (TVSD). Only a holistic vision of TVSD which gives equal value to formal, non-formal and informal skills development pathways is able to overcome the time bomb represented by the high level of unemployment and to produce the critical skills leading to growth, value-addition and ultimately to sustainable development.

The establishment of the ICQN on technical and vocational skills development (ICQN/TVSD) which took place in Abidjan (19-21 of July 2010) was intended to give substance and reality to the conclusions of the Maputo Biennale. It took account of the synergies established between Côte d’Ivoire, the WAEMU countries and Capo Verde in 2009 and extended these synergies to other countries in the region that have expressed their determination to build their future by prioritizing skills development for both young people and adults. The very fruitful inter-country work was summarized by one of the ministers as follows:

“The Ministers and Delegates of 20 French, English and Portuguese-speaking countries members of the node were unanimous in their conviction that it is only by being mutually informed of the policies implemented in each country and pooling their practices and approaches through experience sharing, and wherever possible, synergizing and harmonizing their approaches to technical and vocational skills development that they will stand a chance of rising to the challenges of economic and social development in Africa, and more specifically, to the challenges of unemployment, underemployment and social and professional exclusion which are the fate of far too many of the continent’s young people.”

The Ministers and delegates took the decision in Abidjan to advance the process for the development of the quality node, including the conduct of joint studies, technical assistance and the constitution of inter-country working groups on thematic topics identified as constituting common challenges for the members of the Node. Five thematic topics or joint studies were adopted as conclusions of the launching meeting and preparation for the second meeting. They can be summarized as follows:

  • Towards inter-country renewed apprenticeship pathways;
  • Developing new ways of integrating young people into jobs;
  • Reinforcing public/private partnership in managing the training centers;
  • Conceiving national qualification frameworks taking into account the recognition of non- formal skills acquisition;
  • Reinforcing the role of the professional organizations in TVSD.

The four main objectives of the second conference are to:

  • organize inter-country peer reviews on the outcomes of the studies;
  • analyze the possibilities of inter-country cooperation in each topic;
  • build on the outcomes for inspiring measures and schemes which could be jointly developed in the member countries of the ICQN; and
  • develop a framework for action in advancing regional cooperation and public-private partnerships in TVSD that will be presented and discussed at the 2011 Triennale in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.

The first conference in July 2010 was attended by representatives of 20 countries. The second in October 2011 will invite the same countries but add some newcomers like South Africa, Mauritius or Burundi. The peer review will be made by the members of the national delegations, each of them comprising a representative from the public administration and a representative from the private sector. 


A key principle of the second conference on Inter-Country Quality Node is that the success of the forthcoming Triennale will largely depend on the quality, policy relevance and ownership of discussions and decisions at the event which in turn will depend on the quality, conciseness and robustness of data and information in the preparation for the Triennale. The second conference on ICQN/TVSD therefore aims at bringing together Ministers who are responsible for establishing, steering and leading the ICQN on TVSD in Africa and experts for three days for the following activities. The national experts will meet during the first two days of the ICQN conference and work in five separate inter-country workshops which will focus on the thematic topics adopted in 2010. At its conclusion, each workshop will prepare a document outlining the experiences shared, the lessons learned and the conclusions to be discussed in preparation of the Triennale. The Ministers in charge of TVET or TVSD will meet on the second day in order to pool their own experiences and analyze their interest and the possibilities of continuing the inter-country quality node. The framework of permanent consultation adopted by the WAEMU countries will be presented as a model of cooperation in the future. Ministers and experts will meet together on the third and final day. The documents prepared by the experts will be presented and discussed by the Ministers for amendment and approval. Each document will be part of a common ICQN report defining the priorities the Ministers wish to underline and discuss during the Triennale.


About 50 participants are expected to attend the conference. Each country delegation will comprise at least two delegates: the Minister of TVET/TVSD or a high ranking delegate from the administration and a high level representative from the private sector. In addition, experts will also participate at the conference. The following countries will be invited:



Expected Outcomes
At the end of the conference a final declaration will be prepared and adopted summarizing the position and views that the TVET/TVSD Ministers wish to share and advocate at regional level in the perspective of the Triennale. The core of this declaration will be how the Ministers will conceive and implement together efficient and sustainable TVSD systems and how they pool their efforts to build critical knowledge skills and qualifications needed to promote a sustainable development of Africa. In addition, a global report of the conference will be finalized and sent to all the African Ministers of TVET/TVSD for information and their inputs before the Triennale.