Towards competence-based technical-vocational education and training in Ethiopia

Getachew Habtamu Solomon

Research output: Thesisinternal PhD, WU

Abstract

In the human development effort, different countries are underscoring the role of technical-vocational education and training (TVET) in providing relevant knowledge and skills to improve productivity, increase access to employment opportunities and raise the standard of living. It is in recognition of this that, in all Ethiopian educational development endeavors, TVET has been considered to play a key role to tackle the country’s socio-economic underdevelopment through knowledgeable and skillful manpower. Since its introduction in 1941, TVET has been guided by different policies and strategies adopted by successive governments who came to power at different times. This thesis investigates how TVET has reached the current stage of its development in Ethiopia and the challenges encountered in implementing a competence-based system aimed at improving present and future TVET practices. Within this broad aim, the thesis looks into the historical pathways TVET in Ethiopia has passed through time, teachers’ involvement in policy and curriculum development and implementation, the extent to which TVET programs are competence-based (‘competentiveness’) and TVET teachers’ training and professional development. A mix of methods (quantitative and qualitative) was employed and data were collected through questionnaires, interview and  documents.Four Polytechnic TVET colleges in Addis Ababa, TVET teachers, students and employed TVET graduates, teacher training teachers and students were involved.

The research findings showed that TVET development lacked consistent and stable policy direction, greatly influenced by government ideology. Competence-based TVET was implemented under severe challenges which include lack of adequately prepared teachers and resources, frequent curricula changes, lack of employers cooperation, discontent of teachers and administrators, etc. The competence-based approach was implemented without extensive deliberations and understanding by TVET teachers in which teachers participation was  minimal. Positive correlation between TVET teachers’ participation in educational reform and perception towards TVET system was observed. Thought teachers, students and graduates observed competence-based education and training (CBET) principles in the Ethiopian TVET system, competence-based TVET is not performing well with regard to the practical dimensions of CBET (mainly the “how” aspect) in accordance with the principles of competence-based education. In a positively perceived work environment, ‘competentiveness’ of a TVET programs and employed TVET graduates’ workplace performance was observed. The TVET teacher training programs lack alignment (coherence) with competence-based TVET curriculum in terms of curriculum design and practices. The delivery is predominantly teacher-centered: more lecture oriented with less opportunity for students self and group reflection; student assessment was norm-referenced, not individual competence assessment. Though teachers believe that teacher professional development (TPD) enhances their professional growth, the practices were not in line with their belief; the personal initiative of TVET teachers to undertake TPD activities was minimal; no systematic professional development plan exists in TVET colleges, more traditional approaches in which TVET teachers’ engagement in research has almost been ignored.

Inconsistency in educational policymaking (unstable policy direction) hampered a consensus-based, national education system including TVET, structuring of TVET starting from the scratch. TVET is implemented without a strong foundation – administratively and manpower and materials/facilities (lack well-crafted implementation strategy), more a product of political than of collective decisions. From the study it appears that lacking proper alignment with employment capacity of the economy is a systemic problem of the TVET system. Enforcement of TVET strategy on TVET teachers and administrators without understanding the new competence-based education, which affected their perception. TVET teachers regarded as implementers of a decision rather than having a stake in the issue, affecting their actions and training outcome. Competence-based education and training (CBET) is practiced in TVET but the instruction and practical components lack alignment with CBET principles (no strong learning environments). Though it requires further evidence, the positive relationship between ‘competentiveness’ of a TVET program and graduates’ job performance found in this study supports the assertion that CBET bridges the gap between classroom learning and labor market reality. Because TVET teacher training programs are not aligned with TVET curriculum and teachers professional needs, it is difficult to say that TVET teachers are well prepared in terms of CBET requirement. In TVET teacher training programs,  competence development focused instructional practices are not well fostered in practice. TVET teachers TPD activities are more conventional, not aligned with CBET and teachers’ needs.

A number of recommendations are forwarded to improve the implementation of competence-based TVET which have policy implications for future development of TVET and practical interventions to be taken to improve the implementation of competence-based TVET in its different dimensions.

Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Wageningen University
Supervisors/Advisors
  • Mulder, Martin, Promotor
  • Wesselink, Renate, Co-promotor
  • Noroozi, Omid, Co-promotor
Award date18 Oct 2016
Place of PublicationWageningen
Publisher
Print ISBNs9789462579002
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016

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Keywords

  • vocational training
  • competency based education
  • competences
  • training
  • training courses
  • education
  • technical training
  • ethiopia
  • east africa

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