ADEA ICQN/TVSD’s compendium of African country experiences demonstrates the shift from education and training to education-training-work continuum 

Photo Credit: ADEA
Photo Credit: ADEA
Photo Credit: ADEA

The Inter-Country Quality Node on Technical and Vocational Skills Development (ICQN/TVSD) of the Association for the Development of Education in Africa (ADEA), with financial support from the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and coordinated by NORRAG, has produced a Compendium that analyses and demonstrates country case study experience in shifting from the Education Training Continuum to the Education-Training-Work Continuum.

The 2017 compendium looks at the prospects for future developments based on the analysis of schemes in the ICQN's 18 African member countries of Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Chad, Ghana, Liberia, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritius, Niger, Rwanda, Senegal, Tanzania, Togo, and Tunisia. It is the result of work that commenced in 2014 and went through technical and Ministerial validation forums between 2015 and 2017.

Through this compendium, the ICQN has further developed the education/training continuum concept with the analysis of the national schemes aimed at combatting the exclusion of the very high number of young people outside education and training systems and helping them to successfully find jobs. It has redefined the continuum concept by incorporating the world of work, stressing that the interaction between the three terms “education/training/work” within the continuum concept is not necessarily linear but can be combined in the following three scenarios:

  • Education scenario whereby education leads to the acquisition of knowledge and skills and to accreditation, depending on the level of education.
  • Training scenario that starts from the combined work and training environment and embraces technical and vocational skills development and knowledge acquisition, leading to accreditation according to a given level of qualification.
  • Work scenario in which productive activity and training brings skills and knowledge leading to enhanced production.

The compendium presents key shared and distinct characteristics of the different types of continuum schemes in the ICQN/TVSD member countries, highlighting the following five types of schemes being implemented in the different countries:

  1. Remedial training within basic education (Mauritius):A number of remedial measures are implemented to give students who risk dropping behind or dropping out of school a full chance to complete the basic education cycle. The overall education strategy is to enable all students to complete the nine years of basic education. Considered from the standpoint of continuity between education, training and entry into the world of work, this type of scheme can be defined as a linear temporal continuum and, although essential, it is insufficient for a continuum.
  2. Integration or reintegration of young people into basic education (Côte d’Ivoire, Madagascar and Chad):This scheme attempts to address the phenomenon of early school dropouts through supportive remedial measures (Gateway Classes, ASAMA, and Socio-educational retraining), with the aim of preventing young people who fail to reach the end of basic education from entering the world of work without a minimum core set of vocational skills. It highlights the fact that the sequential education/training/transition to work approach really only works when education systems ensure that a high number of young people reach the end of basic education. In situations where a significant number of young people have never been to school or drop out early, it becomes essential that schemes aimed at helping them into or back to basic education should link education and training as closely and as early as possible.
  3. Skills training that is not just remedial education (Benin, Mali, Niger and Senegal):The scheme offers young people who have either dropped out of, or have never been to, school training that qualifies them to enter the world of work while at the same time helping them to acquire or strengthen core vocational knowledge and skills. This scheme illustrates the continuum from the point of view of its final objective, namely entry into the world of work, based on the common assumption that the continuum is only achievable through schemes that have been devised outside and in addition to existing formal education and training systems. In the case of these four countries, it is achievable on the condition that (a) the skills training permits real access to the world work for the category of young people, enabling them to acquire the minimum core set of knowledge and skills normally provided through basic education; and (b) the training guarantees a minimum degree of continuum with various school options, which generally lead to a dead end when it comes to getting a job.
  4. Developing a stronger continuum bringing together the education system and the world of work (Democratic Republic of Congo and Tunisia, and also Cameroon, Rwanda, Liberia and Togo): This fourth type of scheme pinpoints the major difficulties that exist in progressing from the education/training combination to the education/training/work combination. It highlights the divide between the education system (E + T) and the world of work and the need for a close partnership with the economic and business world to bridge it. At the same time, this type of scheme illustrates the importance of apprenticeship schemes related to given occupations or jobs, or “reformed traditional apprenticeship”, which are primarily intended for young people who have dropped out of or never been to school, and “dual apprenticeships” which are primarily for young people in vocational training. In both cases, work-based training interferes with both components of the continuum. The school/enterprise partnership in this type of scheme is a vital element linking each component of the continuum – education, training and the transition to work – in ways specific to each target group.
  5. Developing a continuum based on the accreditation of knowledge and skills (Tanzania):This scheme aims to formally recognise the knowledge and skills gained by the large numbers of young people in the informal economy, regardless of how they have been acquired, through traditional apprenticeships. This is because these young people are otherwise unable to continue to train or access formal jobs because the knowledge and skills they have acquired informally are not recognised. This sort of scheme significantly modifies the continuum concept in that it is no longer a matter of evaluating the sequential order of the three components of the continuum (education, training and the transition to work). It assumes that the core set of knowledge and basic skills can be acquired outside any curriculum-based scenario, and its value derives not from the length of obligatory education, but rather from the system’s ability to recognise and accredit educational and professional achievements, irrespective of how they have been accomplished.

The analysis finds the fifth type of continuum scheme, which entails the accreditation of prior educational, professional and social experience, as a successful illustration of interaction between the three component aspects. It shows how these three terms work in coordination with one another and enable those excluded from the school system to acquire, in non-school settings, the knowledge and skills they need to succeed in their social and professional life.

The compendium concludes by highlighting the necessity to perceive the continuum concept as a means of establishing permanent interaction between an education system that provides knowledge about work and society, training to acquire vocational skills that also strengthens students core educational abilities, and measures to help people into work which do not bring the educational cycle to a close, but which open up a period of learning which can itself be valued in terms of recognition and accreditation of prior cognitive, social and professional experience. It calls for further evaluation of the other four schemes: effectiveness of the third type of scheme and how it can strengthen educational achievements of the category of young people highlighted and their entry into the world work; analysis of possible interactions between this type of scheme and the fourth model entailing “a stronger continuum bringing together the education system and the world of work” in order to eliminate the mismatch between TVET courses and the skills and qualifications required in the world work; and promoting and further developing the fifth model, entailing “a continuum based on the accreditation of knowledge and skills” in order to value and esteem the many young and adult workers in the informal sector who acquire their skills and very often their knowledge outside formal accreditation in qualification systems.

For more information, contact:

Media contact:

  • Stefano De Cupis, Senior Communications Officer, ADEA, T. (+225),