SEATTLE, Washington — Education is essential to any country’s development. Studies have found that four years of schooling increases a country’s production by 8.7 percent. This is because, in order to build a more advanced society, people with skills across all disciplines are needed to fill all the roles, from politicians to doctors to electricians. Many countries, both developing and developed, have noticed in recent years that technical and vocational training can help a person get into trades such as carpentry, welding and electronics. Technical and vocational training (commonly abbreviated as TVET) can have particular benefits for a country’s development. TVET in developing countries is the next step in economic growth.
The Benefits of Vocational Training
TVET is often seen as an alternative to traditional post-secondary education. Through TVET, many people obtain useful skills that both help them make a living and help fill an important role in society. The benefits of TVET in developing countries can be observed in several countries. In Delhi, a six-month project to train young women on stitching and tailoring resulted in a 6 percent increased likelihood of employment. They also had higher earnings and a better chance of owning a sewing machine if they completed the program.
A study that was performed in Nepal found that graduates of TVET programs overall had better standards of living and higher literacy rates. They also contributed greatly to socio-economic development by improving infrastructure in the regions where they worked. This both helps on an individual level by lifting people out of poverty and on a societal level by giving people the skills to benefit their community.
TVET in developing countries has also been positively correlated with high economic returns. For example, when TVET programs were implemented in Sri Lanka, 58 percent of course graduates were able to get jobs after just a six-month program. That’s over twice the amount generally returned by a year of formal education. Overall, prioritizing TVET in developing countries has been shown to have tremendous benefits.
Ongoing Vocational Training Initiatives
One country that has made tremendous strides lately with regard to TVET is Georgia, a small developing country situated between Turkey and Russia. In 2018, the Millennium Challenge Corporation, one of the most prominent organizations working to fight global poverty, sponsored 10 sites. Here, 1,200 Georgian students are currently learning skills such as welding, industrial automation and crane operation. This program is a part of the MCC’s Georgia II Compact, a $140 million project aimed at improving STEM education in the country as well as leveling the STEM playing field for women in Georgia.
Morocco is another country where vocational training is taking off. Between 2018 and 2019, the number of scholarships for TVET students in the country had risen by 177 percent. The country opened 27 new training centers between 2015 and 2018. TVET programs in Morocco receive $220 million in support from an MCC project called “Education and Training for Employability”, which also covers secondary education and improved access to employment.
TVET in developing countries is one of the foremost ways that education can help bring people and the societies that they live in out of poverty. Organizations like the Millennium Challenge Corporation are working to spread TVET programs to the developing world. If these programs are implemented correctly, they have the potential to jump-start flagging economies by filling them with well-trained individuals ready to fill roles in the trades.
– Kelton Holsen