A UNESCO Review of TVET in Cambodia

TVET in Cambodia

In 2013, UNESCO published a policy review of Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) in Cambodia. It found a number of concerns regarding the effectiveness of TVET in Cambodia, its linkages to the marketplace, and the measures put in place to determine success.

While you’re here, check out The Impact Evaluation Problem Facing the Development Sector.

TVET in Cambodia: A Work in Progress

There is growing acknowledgment that developing countries will rely more and more on quality vocational education to enhance their sustainable development, labour market inclusion and economic growth. This is reflected in TVET becoming one of UNESCO’s four priority education areas.

UNESCO is committed to offering developing countries support for the development of policies that improve the relevance of TVET systems to the labour market and to individual needs.

Cambodia Uniquely Positioned to Offer Examples to Other Developing Nations

As a largely informal and rural-based economy transforming with the influx of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), Cambodia faces both short- and long-term needs to re-position significant members of its labor force to better address the needs of an economy that is changing from an agrarian-focused one to one characterized by a rebalancing toward manufacturing and construction industries.

If education is to serve Cambodian society adequately, there needs to be a new focus on a different skill set, one that caters to sectors that are becoming more important.

UNESCO’s report highlighted the need for an immediate review of the focus areas of TVET to ensure the ongoing “relevance, equity, efficiency, and effectiveness” of vocational education training. The organization found that Cambodia faced significant challenges in formalizing training quality assurance mechanisms, and the need to base quality measurement on ‘output’ criteria rather than ‘input’ criteria such as curricula, staff qualifications, attendance, etc.

For example, among a number of TVET institutions, both formal and informal UNESCO found:

“Their reporting tends to focus more on enrolment rather than quality assurance and outcomes.”

Poor Impact Measurement A Major Hurdle to Overcome

UNESCO found, among other things, that:
Public TVET programmes and institutions tend to be poorly funded and have little interaction with the productive sector.
Information about training quality as well as post-training employment experiences of TVET graduates is either patchy or non-existent.
The focus on rural skills development and the aim to reach out to those out of work on the lowest ranks of a skills development ladder [led to] training [that] was largely non–assessed and non-accredited there was no mechanism for judging the quality of provision or of outcomes.
There is little follow-up information about TVET graduates. An ADB (2009) survey of the post-training experiences of VSTP course graduates found that more than 50 percent of VSTP programme graduates reported that their income had increased by at least 15 percent. (Yet a) rigorous evaluations of other programmes have not yet been carried out.

A lack of evidence of the labor market outcomes for beneficiaries is a problem for TVET programme decision-making and planning. Without reliable evidence of the impact of training programs, TVET providers are unable to prioritize, coordinate, and adjust training to workplace needs – something that better and more accurate beneficiary-driven data would be able to help resolve.

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