By Noha Bawazir
UNESCO plays an active role in Palestine to enhance technical and vocational education and training (TVET)* through capacity development, policy advice, knowledge development, and technical assistance.
Education and training are central to the achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. In alignment with Sustainable Development Goal 4 and the Education 2030 Framework for Action, UNESCO developed its strategy (2016–2021) to strengthen TVET systems of Member States and advance youth employment, access to decent work, entrepreneurship, and lifelong learning opportunities in specific national contexts.
The global education community, including the TVET sector, has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, amplifying structural problems in economies and labor markets, making it more difficult for vulnerable groups of people to find decent job opportunities. Therefore, and seeing in the pandemic an opportunity to change course and take action, UNESCO has adopted its new strategy titled “Transforming TVET for successful and just transitions” for 2022–2029. It is responsive to the current global context and captures UNESCO’s expectation that TVET will make important contributions to recovery and to sustainable development over the next eight years. The strategy is aligned with UNESCO’s 2021 Futures of Education report, calling for a new social contract while transforming the future of education.
UNESCO engagement in Palestine aims to foster youth employment and entrepreneurship while promoting equity, tackling gender inequalities, and fostering the greening of TVET to facilitate a resilient, sustainable society.
Youth unemployment is a huge challenge globally, and Palestine is no exception. UNESCO recognizes the power that TVET holds in tackling youth unemployment and empowering young people. Ensuring that youth have access to quality skills training can open doors for them into the world of work. For many, this will lead to entrepreneurship and enable them to carve out the future they envision.
Gender stereotypes often hold people back from pursuing an education or career that will fulfil them. For instance, women and girls in many – if not all – countries are sometimes discouraged from following pathways not traditionally considered “feminine.” UNESCO believes that women and girls should be supported to break with norms and follow their dreams. TVET can be a powerful tool in doing this.
Other marginalized groups, including people with disabilities, also face significant challenges in accessing education and decent work. In order to leave no one behind, UNESCO mainstreams gender equality and promotes equity in TVET to ensure that vulnerable and disadvantaged groups have equal access to learning opportunities.
The climate crisis calls for an urgent transition to green economies and climate resilient, sustainable societies. UNESCO is working to “green” TVET by strategically incorporating green skills in its work on TVET, which will increase employment for sustainable development.
With generous funding from the Belgian government through the Belgian Development Agency– Enabel, UNESCO Ramallah is implementing the TVET4Future project in Palestine to increase TVET competencies for youth in the labor market. Through TVET4Future, UNESCO is employing a holistic and participatory approach to improve the TVET system, enhance youth employment, and foster entrepreneurship. UNESCO also works to better anticipate labor market needs to bridge the skills gap, and has been raising awareness of TVET.
UNESCO Ramallah remains committed to working with its partners in order to enhance TVET in Palestine.
For more information on the work of UNESCO Ramallah, please visit https://en.unesco.org/fieldoffice/ramallah.
* The scope of TVET is the same here as in UNESCO’s “Recommendation Concerning TVET,” 2015: “TVET, as part of lifelong learning, can take place at secondary, post-secondary and tertiary levels and includes work-based learning and continuing training and professional development which may lead to qualifications. TVET also includes a wide range of skills development opportunities attuned to national and local contexts. Learning to learn, the development of literacy and numeracy skills, transversal skills and citizenship skills are integral components of TVET.” The document is available at https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000245178.