This article seeks to address the need for an inclusive reform of the educational sector in Liberia where every discipline arguably has a capacity gap. This means policy makers and practitioners in the field must be aware that; post conflict growth and development trajectories can only be sustained by giving keen attention to a vibrant and inclusive educational system.
Viewing the situation as a massively contentious and fragmented one, the author firstly identifies widely the need to strengthen the fabrics of education at all levels while on the other fold argues that Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) is yet to find a suitable place in a society that needs it most.
The history of TVET finds modern traces across Europe and the Americas. The educational framework has since been modeled across countries giving a positive relationship with societal growth and development at individual and national levels. In Liberia, key government functionaries responsible for administering TVET affairs are the Ministries of Education, as well as Youth and Sports.
In practice, the National Vocational Training Center is the biggest institute for TVET. Some private/corporate institutes include the LAMCO Swedish Vocational Training Center (LSVTC) in Yekapa, Nimba County and Booker Washington Institute in Kakata, Magibi County.
Many indicators as discussed in the subsequent paragraphs allude to the reckoning significance of TVET globally but this is still at the struggled level in Liberia.
There are several key points to discuss when envisioning the significance of TVET under a vibrant and inclusive educational system. However, the author has focused on identifying the barriers affecting TVET admission/enrollment on one fold with the other being lack of existing institutions to boast a nationwide campaign that supports rapid man power development in the area. While arguing the significance of TVET, a correlation is established by identifying TVET propensity to give rise to employment.
Arguably in Liberia, certain jobs/careers have been labeled as low class. Therefore, it should not be a surprise that education/training for the same should face similar challenges. There is an estranged belief that only “university education” will lead to a well-paid job that comes with reputation.
Beyond the encumbrances of beliefs, people doing disciplines under TVET have got their fair shares of non-material support based learning environments having poor access to “hands on” pragmatism.
Access to TVET institutes are glaringly limited and don’t support any rigorous campaign for the same.
Many voices have echoed the significance of education at various levels including TVET. A famous one accounts for UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon as cited in the UNESCO Position Paper on Education Post -2015 stating that “Education is a right that transforms lives when it is accessible to all, relevant and underpinned by core values. Because quality education is the most influential force for alleviating poverty, improving health and livelihoods, increasing prosperity and shaping more inclusive, sustainable and peaceful societies, it is everyone’s interest to ensure that it is at the center of the post 2015 development agenda”.
Most specifically, the vitality of TVET has been further backed byUNISCO revealing that TVET as well as “second chance” education opportunities can lead to employment opportunities for groups that have been marginalized and at the same time integrate relevant learning skills as mentioned under the framework for education for sustainable development and poverty reduction.
From this view point of UNICSO, skills are vital for poverty reduction, economic recovery and sustainable development there by giving rise to policy attention to (TVET) worldwide (UNESCO, 2014).
Viewing from the lens of addressing implications of beliefs, policy makers and actors must see need to firstly know that cars they ride and houses in which they live will not be built or repaired by their fellow bureaucrats but rather technical professionals. Thus, people must be encouraged to pick up other careers whereby they can be respected more so to depend on as vocation for livelihoods.
If beliefs and mind sets are changed, where then can interested persons be trained? How many training facilities can be built where and by whom?
Firstly, the social contract between the state and the citizenry puts government at the top most position having many roles reliant on policies and actions.
Policies can be designed and implemented by government itself in establishing and funding TVET institutions nationwide.
On the other hand, policies which encourage or where necessary bind corporate entities must be formulated. Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has gained increased attention no point in time of the existence of mankind like today. The ways in which the literatures have described CSR, one must see it as a means of supporting sustainable development and building capacity through various forms of expertise which include TVET.
The concepts of TVET as they have been stated are key factors for growth and development but will depend on policies and approaches. Studies including a dissertation researchtitled Managing Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in Developing Countries: An Investigation on how Policies and Approaches Affect Livelihoods. A Case Study on Jindal Steel and Power Limited- Indiaconducted by the author of this article have proven that, substantial impacts of TVET will require extensive support materially and faculty wise with the adoption of policies and approaches tailored to the varying socio-economic and environmental concerns.
Recognition of prior learning has been employed at the O.P. Jindal Community College, Chhattisgarh India and this has been noted as an important approach that providescustomized trainings for those with initial apprentice trainings. This leads to certification and increases employment opportunities for apprentice persons.
The music of these sentiments have long been played and the ignorant dance modes have left serious educational and career deficits than one might imagine. Thus, TVET should also be looked at as a form of higher education aimed at addressing some the woes.
The article has mapped broad positions on the state of TVET in Liberia. It has sought to identify plausible barriers and provided ways forward in emphasizing the significance of TVET. Key relationships mentioned include the roles of policy makers and actors and how the formal would initiate research based policies aimed at developing the frameworks as well as how the latter can translate to reasonable outcomes. TVET was identified as having a high positive relationship with employment which is very crucial for the society of Liberia where the broader circumstances find people of various categories lingering for gainful employments.