ADEA, through its Inter-Country Quality Node, and UEMOA unite to promote innovative mechanisms in the Education/Training/Work continuum

On May 24th, 2023, the ADEA Inter-Country Quality Node on Technical and Vocational Skills Development (ICQN-TVSD) concluded a three-day forum to review national schemes on the implementation of critical actions for the improvement of technical and vocational training programs in the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) member countries. The event was organized in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, in partnership with WAEMU and with support from the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SADC) as part of the activities for the Regional Program for Vocational Training (PROFOR).

The goal of the forum was to give greater visibility and legitimacy to the various schemes that play an active part in skills development and the integration of young people into employment. The forum was conceived following the completion of the study on ‘Continuities and discontinuities in education and training systems in Africa’. It convened sixty participants, including public, private, and professional skills promoters from WAEMU member countries and Chad. Participants had the opportunity to explore and discuss innovative schemes designed and implemented in their respective countries, as part of the "Education/Training/Work" continuum.

Sessions at the forum reviewed presentations of the schemes, while plenary sessions and group work provided a summary of the forum's specific contributions. During the forum, participants from different countries shared their experiences and perspectives. Some of the initiatives presented at the forum are as follows;

Burkina Faso shared experience from the ‘Gateway to Accelerated Schooling Strategy (SSA/P)’, an initiative which aims to get young people back into school. The initiative was recognized for its adaptation to local needs, acceptance by communities and its strong institutional anchoring. SSA/P has made it possible to condense four years of schooling into just nine months, offering a valuable opportunity for persons who have been unable to access formal education to regain a place to learn.

Benin Republic presented experiences from the dual apprenticeship scheme. This system recognizes a dual approach to apprenticeship; in companies/workshops and in vocational training centers. It enabled apprentices to spend at least six months building their skills with their master craftsman, while benefiting from theoretical training at vocational training centers. The scheme was designed to improve the existing apprenticeship system without disrupting it.

A representative from Côte d'Ivoire discussed the Mobile Training Units (UMF), an innovative scheme that delivers skills training to the most remote regions in the country. The UMF was designed to meet the challenges of accessibility and relevance of vocational training. Despite the challenges encountered, the UMF system has been praised for its reach and accessibility.

The participant from Mali presented the decentralized training scheme, which has covered the whole country and trained 23,718 young people over a five-year period. The government-designed scheme supports local authorities in the delivery of skills development initiatives. It has made it possible to reach a maximum number of young people and to respond to the lack of training structures in the various administrative units in the country. The scheme has achieved an integration rate of around 86%.

The representative from Niger described the "Vocational Training Centers" scheme, which was set up to provide a second chance to young school dropouts. These centers which have grown from six in 2020 to 281 today, were described as very popular among the local population. They take care of apprentices and host training programs commissioned by partners and communities.

In Senegal, the school-business training program enables close collaboration between schools and the private sector to reduce unemployment. By combining formal education with on-the-job learning, the scheme offers a flexible learning path tailored to the needs of learners. It focused on the employability and integration of young people to ensure that education and training lead to viable employment opportunities.

Togo has implemented a project for short-term training in six different trades, enabling young people to rapidly acquire professional and technical skills that enable their integration into the labor market. Of the 1,370 young people pre-selected into the program, 65 young beneficiaries have been trained. At the end of their training, the young people received initial start-up kits to help them enter the job market. A follow-on system has been set up to ensure the integration process is sustainable.

The forum also discussed prospects for the future, including improving the quality and effectiveness of existing schemes, and expanding inter-country cooperation. A report will be drawn up and published shortly to reflect the debates and recommendations validated during the forum.

For more information on previous ICQN-TVSD activities, please visit :

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