2012: The Year of Global Reports on TVET, Skills & Jobs Consensus or diversity? Forthcoming issue of NORRAG NEWS

Ten years after the start of the Education for All (EFA) Global Monitoring Report process in 2002, we have finally a Skills GMR entitled: Youth and Skills: Putting education to work. The other five EFA Dakar Goals were analysed as individual GMRs from 2002 to 2007. The first GMR explained the difficulty of treating Goal 3 (on skills) of the Dakar World Forum as follows: ‘The monitoring of this Dakar goal presents major conceptual and methodological challenges which this Report is in no position to address.’ How different the situation seems today as the new Report has been launched in 50 different cities in just two months, from mid-October to mid-December 2012!

After the dearth of global skills analysis for many years, there is now suddenly a glut. 2012 was certainly a busy year for those interested in the links amongst Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET), skills and jobs, and there have been launches of a number of global reports on these topics (see also NN46 on TVET). January saw the ILO’s Global Employment Trends 2012. In May, came the ILO’s World of Work Report 2012, UNESCO’s Transforming TVET: Building Skills for Work and Life and the Shanghai Consensus from UNESCO’s Third International Congress on TVET, and the new OECD skills strategy, Better Skills, Better Jobs, Better Lives. In June, the McKinsey Global Institute’s (MGI) The World at Work: Jobs, Pay and Skills for 3.5 Billion People, arrived, and October saw three more: the World Bank’s World Development Report 2013: Jobs, the long-awaited EFA GMR 2012 on Youth and Skills, already mentioned, and Skills for Employability in Africa and Asia by Innovative Secondary Education for Skills Enhancement (ISESE).  In addition, throughout much of 2012, there has been the development of UNESCO’s World TVET Report (WTR), which is expected to be published early in 2013.

This forthcoming issue of NORRAG News looks at the many different meanings of skill in these reports: high, medium, low, foundation, transferable, technical and vocational skills, as well as life-skills. It looks also at the state of skills in both urban and rural areas, and considers skills-for-poverty-reduction as well as skills-for-growth. The reports cover skills in the informal economy, as well as work-based skills and on-the-job training. Some of the reports also consider the emerging meanings and frontiers of TVET. These reports seem to use ‘skills’ and TVET in very different ways; they also pay differential attention to building a stronger knowledge and evidence base – as has already been done in the health sector – for securing relevant and sustainable policy making and implementation.

Even though they are, by no means, a series of coordinated approaches to TVET, skills development and jobs, they do cover a good deal of the global landscape, and not just the developing world.

We should perhaps beware of the danger of regarding some reports as being of ‘international’ or ‘global’ interest; there have been other ‘regional’ publications which may also have a global reach e.g. Skills Development for Inclusive and Sustainable Growth in Developing Asia- Pacific (2012; 2013).

The timing of the GMR 2012 and of these other global reports on skills and jobs coincides with an explosion of interest, particularly in the North, about future development agendas post-2015, including the future of the EFA Goals and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) after that date. Now that the last of the six Goals has been reported on in the skills GMR, it may prove useful to consider to what extent the GMR 2012 and these other global reports have raised any very specific implications for the role of skills and jobs in post-2015 agendas.

In total these reports amount to some 2000 pages of text, and though most of them have some form of executive summary, the policy community concerned with TVET and skills may still find these very lengthy. The role of NORRAG News is not to summarise these kinds of international reports, but to offer a wide diversity of short, sharp different reactions from our main constituencies, – policy makers, think tanks, academics, consultants and NGOs.

You can access all 47 issues of NORRAG News for free at www.norrag.org

We wish you all the best for 2013.

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