One of the most devastating impacts of COVID-19 pandemic is the sharp rise in unemployment.
The International Labour Organization estimates an increase in unemployment, globally, of between 5.3 and 24.7 million. And according to the United Nations, young people, who are already three times more likely to be unemployed than adults, will be severely affected.
One factor is that the pandemic has particularly impacted zero-hours contracts and the informal sector, which accounts for 77 per cent of the types of employment held by young people.
As governments work together to reboot their economies and job sectors, important considerations will include measures to ensure a well-functioning Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) system. This can play an essential role in reducing barriers to work and equipping young people with skills they need to access employment.
TVET has been a priority agenda item for Commonwealth education ministers at their summits. At their request, the Commonwealth Secretariat developed its own TVET Self-Assessment Toolkit to assist member countries to strengthen their TVET systems.
This resource is particularly effective in identifying gaps in policies and is already supporting governments and institutions in Botswana and Sri Lanka in addressing them to deliver strong programmes through the most effective methods.
Created through extensive consultations with education departments and institutions across the Commonwealth, the toolkit will assist countries to boost TVET systems by focusing on six key features:
By assigning five levels of development and a scoring system to each of these features, the Commonwealth toolkit helps countries to assess the strength and effectiveness of their TVET programmes.
This self-assessment is done through a workshop of vocational training providers, employers and those who make policy decisions, participants also examine the results and agree on action plans to fill identified gaps.
The Commonwealth is committed to ensuring countries have access to essential resources such as the TVET Self-Assessment Toolkit, as they design response strategies to the COVID-19 global pandemic.