NBTE Scribe Canvases Paradigm Shift from TVET to NSQF

The Executive Secretary of the National Board for Technical Education, Dr. Masa'udu Adamu Kazaure has canvased for a system of skills training that ensures that all types of skills for employment are recognized and benchmarked on a common framework.

Dr. Kazaure who wants a paradigm shift in skills training from the conventional Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) to institutionalization of National Skills Qualifications Framework (NSQF) said the NSQF is fundamental to the recognition, validation, certification and harmonization of skills qualifications acquired from different learning environment.

In a PowerPoint presentation on “Promoting Impact of TVET through Development and Harmonisation of Occupational Standards and Vocational Qualifications Frameworks” at the 2018 Commonwealth Association of Technical Universities and Polytechnics in Africa (CAPA) 40th Anniversary Conference held in Abuja, Dr. Kazaure said the challenges facing the development of TVET in Africa can be addressed through the promotion of Vocational/Skills Qualifications Framework.

He highlighted the factors hampering technical and professional skills capacity building systems in Africa to include; Poor relations with the labour market, Weak private sector participation, Out-dated curricula, Skills mismatch, Low access and poor infrastructure, Low funding and lack of supportive policy, Lack of trained person­nel and inadequate programmes.

He therefore argued that  these challenges could be addressed through Vocational/Skills Qualifications Framework; a concept which according to him, emphasis a shift from a centralized, public sector, state-controlled system to a decentralized, regulated, and partnerships based learning and training system.

Explaining further, Dr. Kazaure said that National Vocational Qualifications (NVQs) are competence-based qualifications which demonstrate that the holder has the nationally benchmarked skills and aptitude required to perform the job in question; and which could provide avenues for upward progression in the labour market and into higher level education and training routes if desired; and which are also designed on the basis of 'National Occupational Standards' (NOS), which define the standards of performance required for competence in an occupation”.

The Executive Secretary noted that Africa can achieve substantial progress in building the skills of its workforce if countries can make hard choices of  investing in skills to optimize overall productivity growth (Skills for persistent non-wage, informal employment versus skills for catalytic and higher productivity sectors), and investing in skills for today's needs versus tomorrow's (Skills of new cohorts versus skills of the current stock of workers to help them adapt to constant changes in skills demand in a rapidly changing world of work).

For the institutionalization of the Framework, Dr. Kazaure said it is expected that relevant stakeholders are in place to facilitate the development of standards, the organisation of training and the award of the qualifications.

He listed the relevant stakeholders to include; Training Providers/Centres, which are responsible for training, assessment and registration of prospective candidates/trainees for certification; the Awarding Body, which is responsible for developing standards for the qualifications they are awarding certificates for; Sector Skills Councils (SSCs), which are group of industry professionals in specific sector in the world of work responsible for generating standards for qualifications in accordance to emerging trend in the industry or world of work; and the Regulatory Authority, which is the umbrella under which National Skills Qualification operates. The body also has database of every registered candidate, qualified assessors, verifiers awarding bodies, and other professional working in the Framework.

He added that institutionalizing Skills Qualifications would also require a Legislative and Governance Framework, which ensures effective management and coherence of training provision across the entire spectrum of skills training; Quality and quality assurance, this assumes critical importance in the new skills development paradigm which places emphasis on skills acquired, no matter the learning environment; Relevance and Employability, the acquisition of technical and vocational skills must lead to gainful wage or non-wage employment; Assessment and Certification, a holistic and inclusive skills framework requires an assessment and certification system that can validate and certify skills and qualifications acquired from different learning environments, whether formal, non-formal or informal; Access and Equity, the NSQ Framework also emphasizes the notion that access to skills development opportunities should be available to all age groups and categories of learners regardless of sex, physical disability or geographical location; Financing NSQF, there is the need to diversify funding sources and invest in sustainable financing initiatives; and  Link NSQF with the National Em­ployment Plan, the national employment and human resource development plans which should be developed if they do not ex­ist are the essential engine of any skills framework mainly by institutionalizing the mapping and updating of jobs in terms of de­mand of the productive sector.