Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) is understood “to be integral to education and lifelong learning and to refer to all forms of learning of knowledge, skills and attitudes relating to the world of work. TVET comprises education, training and skills development activities relating to occupational fields, production and livelihoods” (UNESCO, 2015).
TVET’s capacity to meet the challenges it is facing is in many parts of the world limited. For example: in Nigeria, each year some 2 million secondary school leavers qualify for college, but only around 400,000 are able to enroll because of limitations in college places (World Bank, 2015:125).
ICT has the potential to improve the access to and the quality of education and to make teaching and learning more relevant to people’s work and lives and prepare individuals to become lifelong learners (Latchem, 2017; Mead Richardson, 2009). OER are seen as appropriate ICT-based means to one of the big challenges TVET is facing, particularly in but not limited to developing countries: the lack of learning materials.
Commissioned by UNESCO, we have conducted a mixed-method study (literature review, survey and interviews) to provide a roadmap and recommendations for necessary steps to take. The main findings include the importance of repurposing OER for TVET, non-awareness of OER, lack of proper OER to support for TVET important skills development and a complex TVET area that makes overall policies and action plans difficult to accomplish.
Overall, adoption of OER in TVET is still in its infancy. We recommend organisations like UNESCO, Commonwealth of Learning and the Worldbank to intensify their cooperation to accomplish a wider adoption.
Global OER research and the global OER community however seem primarily focused on higher education. To illustrate: a search on “technical AND vocational” in the OER Knowledgecloud, considered representative for the current state of international OER research, only gave 2 results on a total of 1638 items in the database (27 October, 9:35 CEST). There is still insufficient attention for TVET and the specific issues and challenges involved.
Our proposition is that when the open education movement does not pay more attention to OER in and for TVET, OER will broaden the gap between those who have access to quality education and those who don’t. We also should be more open for different views on openness (Mishra, 2017).
Latchem, C. (2017). The demands and challenges. In: Latchem, C. (ed). Using ICTs and Blended Learning in Transforming TVET. UNESCO and COL, Paris France and Burnaby, Canada. 3-26
Mead Richardson, A. (2009). Crossing the Chasm – Introducing Flexible Learning into the Botswana Technical Education Programme: From Policy to Action. International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, 10(4).
Mishra, S. (2017). Open educational resources: removing barriers from within. Distance Education, 38:3, 369-380, DOI: 10.1080/01587919.2017.1369350
UNESCO (2015). Preliminary report accompanied by a first draft of the recommendation concerning technical and vocational education and training. Paris. Available at http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0022/002296/229649e.pdf
World Bank (2015). Nigeria: Skills for competitiveness and employability. Report No. 96420-NG. http://documents.worldbank.org/curated/en/886411468187756597/Nigeria-Skills-for-competitiveness-and-employability