The Technical and Vocational Education and Training Reform Programme (TVET) is a project funded by the Egyptian government and the European Union to improve the system of technical education and vocational training in Egypt, in order to meet social and economic needs, especially youth employment. The programme also seeks to improve the image of technical education and vocational training in society.
It is meant to increase the governance of the technical education and vocational training system in Egypt, developing quality and related topics, and transitioning to the labour market and employment.
Daily News Egypt interviewed, Executive Director of the TVET Egypt Shorouk Zidan, to learn about the programme’s developments, achievements, and the obstacles facing it.
Photography by Asmaa Badr
What is TVET Egypt?
It is a programme to support and develop technical education and vocational training with a special nature. It aims to come up with a unified system for technical education and vocational training in Egypt and unify the efforts of all relevant ministries to maximise their efforts so that they can bear fruit at the social and economic level to keep pace with the sustainable development plan Egypt Vision 2030, in which all state agencies work to achieve their strategic goals, on top of which is the TVET Egypt programme.
President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi announced during his visit to Germany that 2020 will be the year of industry, starting from the general orientation of the state with interest in industry and training and raising the efficiency of labour to meet the needs of the local market. A programme for developing education, technical, and vocational training was established in partnership with the European Union to fix the system and was entrusted with more than 25 government agencies in addition to the private sector.
Why is it necessary to reform the technical education system?
Technical education and vocational training reform have become an imperative necessity to produce cadres that are fully aware of the market’s needs. During the past few years, there was no awareness of the market requirements, so this system was randomly managed, hence the private sector assumed the task of reforming technical education because it is the most knowledgeable of the skills it needs. In addition, the programme lays down the concept of lifelong learning that begins from the first day for students in school through various stages of education to keep up with all developments of the profession and the market.
What is the plan for the TVET?
The programme plan contains three elements for development, the first is the legalisation of involving the private sector more institutionally, and therefore it is necessary to create sectoral skills led by the private sector in partnership with government agencies. Accordingly, the sector would be able to determine its priorities and needs of specialties that bring about economic development and link international standards with students’ capabilities that make them fit for the job market.
As for the second component, it is the legislative part that connects all authorities entrusted with technical education with the private sector to eliminate working in isolated islands that impede the development of this sector, because each ministry continues to work according to its own strategy. It is true that all agencies work according to the vision of sustainable development 2030, but everyone is flying its own orbit, so we desperately need a unified strategy for technical education and vocational training for all stakeholders in the sector and in partnership with the private business sector.
With regard to the third component of the programme, it is decentralisation, one of the most important elements of the programme to create an opportunity for schools to rely on their own resources in terms of the general budget for each of them, follow-up, and evaluation. We need to create more flexibility in making decisions according to the needs of the local markets, while also taking into account the specialisation of each governorate, so there are coastal, industrial, and agricultural governorates.
What are the funding and participation ratios between the government and the private sector in the programme?
The programme has a special nature where it depends on the Egyptian government for 60% of its finances and 40% from the European Union. It aims to come up with a unified system for technical education and vocational training in Egypt and unify the efforts of all relevant ministries to maximise their efforts so that they can bear fruit at the social and economic level to match the sustainable development plan, Egypt’s Vision 2030, in which all state agencies work to achieve their strategic goals, on top of which is the TVET Egypt programme, which contributes to achieving the strategic goals of the country.
Are there specific paths for students to take after obtaining their diploma to learn skills for the job market?
Indeed, there are technological universities that have become the new legal framework for students of technical diplomas to complete their education at a higher level, which gives them an opportunity for professional development. This will also help each student receive the qualifications necessary to enter the job market with the skills they will need allowing them to work in their preferred field.
Technical education was, in the past, a backdoor to join other colleges.
Does the low view of vocational work still exist?
Unfortunately, there is still a great deal of bad reputation about technical education and vocational training in Egypt that needs to change, and the media should adopt this issue. The media should also confirm that there are countries whose economy is based on this type of education and that we do not need to have thousands of university graduates suffering from unemployment or a population of unskilled labour. The media must also market successful models that have been able to overcome the difficulties and have achieved their dream and have become pioneering models in their field.
Does the programme serve dropouts from education?
There are so-called community schools that aim to train young men and women, housewives, and those unemployed who have dropped out from school and have not completed their secondary education in different skills, both according to the geographical scope of their governorate and according to the capabilities available to them. The community schools aim to protect this segment of society at risk of becoming a victim of child labour and enable them to work on scientific bases and through real training.
Is the large number of ministries responsible for technical and vocational training a distraction?
More than 25 ministries are working to develop technical education and vocational training, and this of course, despite its benefit, sometimes leads to inconsistencies and wasted efforts, and each ministry believes that it applies the correct methodology. Protocols are signed to establish training centres without a clear plan to use these centres, while the cost of training is EGP 50,000 per person. We see the importance of establishing a body or organisation that is fully responsible for technical education and vocational training in Egypt.
Are there features of a change in state interest in this file?
During the activities of the Youth Forum in Sharm El-Sheikh, I sensed the state’s interest in the issue of technical education and training and I see that this is a turning point in this vital file, which is considered one of the most important pillars of economic and social development and enhances opportunities to achieve sustainable development in Egypt. The most important challenge during the coming period is to create an environment that combines the skills of entrepreneurship and the skills of each profession to alleviate the crisis of unemployment and encourage young people to turn towards the free labour market and establish new projects.
Does the programme focus on supporting groups of women and persons with different abilities in training programmes?
Of course, we seek to train women to participate in the industrial sector’s costs, especially those that they have left out. We believe that they have special skills that will lead the industry and development. We have trained a large number of differently abled members, especially in some sectors such as clothing and technology. I must express my happiness with the great cooperation of the private sector in these points.