5.1.1 Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) centers for persons with disabilities in developing countries

Skill training enhances productivity and sustains competitiveness in the global economy.147 Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) is not just a means of preparing young people for the world of work, it is also a “means of reaching out to the marginalized and excluded groups to engage them in income-generating livelihoods.”148 The first of the Millennium Development Goals is to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger, with a target of halving, between 1990 and 2015, the proportion of people whose income is less than 1 USD a day and who suffer from hunger. Ensuring that workers have the skills to earn a livelihood through equitable access to appropriate learning is one of the six Education for All (EfA) goals established at the World Education Forum in Dakar in 2000.

TVET for poverty alleviation has become a priority for many governments in developing countries. The success and future expansion of TVET programmes in developing countries depends on the continued expansion of existing training programmes and continued cooperation among national and international bodies.

Many developing countries have concentrated on “universal primary education and literacy, but do not pay sufficient attention to skill training for youths and adults.”149 However, in countries such as Nigeria, there are “numerous initiatives focusing on providing education and training people from marginalized groups.” These are often small in scale and are not recognized as part of a comprehensive national educational strategy. The best practices referred to in this section recommend that TVET for persons with disabilities should:

  • Provide qualifications that are part of the educational qualifications framework of the country;
  • Provide certification that is valued by employers;
  • Act as a bridge to return to further, more formal education, should the person wish to; and
  • Take into account the low levels of literacy, numeracy and ICT skills among persons with disabilities, and recognize that previous educational experiences may have been negative.

One of the primary aims of the UN CRPD is for persons with disabilities to become active members of the workforce at all levels of industry, commerce, administration, governance and education. Accessible ICTs hold the potential to enable persons with disabilities to receive job skills that would otherwise be inaccessible to them. For example, assistive technologies can enable access to mainstream office applications commonly used for business management and administration. Traditionally, persons with a disability such as blindness were often given specific and somewhat limiting roles within an organization, such as answering telephones as a receptionist. However, when sufficient and appropriate training is provided, persons with disabilities can reach their own personal potential once they have support and the required accommodations.

The case studies show a variety of job opportunities that persons with disabilities in developing countries are enjoying as a result of vocational training in the use of accessible ICTs. One growth area in jobs for person with disabilities in developing countries is employment at telecenters.150 The Microsoft website also illustrates a variety of ICT-specific careers made possible through the use of accessible ICTs.

147Bharat, The Role Open and Distance Learning in Vocational Education and Training in India

148Alhaji, Ibrahim Hamra. Revitalizing Technical and Vocational Education Training for Poverty Eradication and Sustainable through Agricultural Education. Available at http://www.afrrevjo.com/print/sites/default/files/Volume_2_Number_1_art_9.pdf
Published in African Research Review - AFRREV, January 2008, Volume 2, No. 1

149UNESCO. Meeting EFA goals : Integrating Skills Development in EFA http://portal.unesco.org/education/en/ev.php-URL_ID=34507&URL_DO=DO_TOPIC&URL_SECTION=201.html