Future of Vocational Education
Today’s event at the Dubai Expo offers insights into Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET ) in keeping up with fast-changing working environments and elaborates on how vocational education can provide today’s youth with a mindset adapted to lifelong learning. In light of the event, we dive into the world of vocational education and explore what the future might look like for this form of learning.
Earlier, education was mostly vocational. Schools and universities offered formal education but a large part of learning skills related to vocations happened outside the classroom from accredited instructors or professionals through apprenticeship. However, in recent years, with the rise of the Internet, increased emphasis on soft skills and the unending pandemic, vocational training is rapidly going online.
According to UNSECO, TVET is pivotal in making education socially equitable, inclusive and sustainable. They attribute megatrends like increased digitisation, the fourth industrial revolution, climate change and large-scale migration contributing to evolving labour markets creating a demand for a high-skill workforce.
So it is vital to identify emerging industry trends and develop an actionable framework for modern vocational education. This framework must identify innovative teaching-learning practices in teacher and trainer development. The policies of the framework must be flexible to allow institutions to obtain the capacity to support futuristic vocational training and the teachers to upskill themselves before passing these skills on to their pupils.
Blended learning is the way forward for education. Hence, a model that concentrates on hard skills in offline classes and soft skills in online classes is favourable to both students and teachers. The British Council recommends that the government, employers and education should respond collectively to new challenges that the pandemic-induced future may bring and how the link between policy and practice can ensure effective change.
It also recommended more employer engagement, new-age apprenticeship models, improving the perceptions of TVET pathways through social media, its governance and funding on an international level. On the other hand, Ukraine has taken the initiative to develop the world’s first e-learning platform for TVET. It has also allied with the European Training Foundation and UNICEF to conduct nation-wide seminars for vocational institutes and methodologists.
The world’s biggest economies like China, Germany and Japan have invested in TVET for a long time now, well aware of the importance of hands-on training needed to sustain the industries that their economies are based on. We are seeing a new trend of more Asian countries embracing vocational education as much as they have in scholarly education. This will enable the de-stigmatisation of jobs like welding, cookery, woodwork, tailoring, etc., that are predominant among the lower middle class and women.
We need to enable our future generations to view their vocations beyond STEM and equip them with the right knowledge and skills to choose what they want to do.