South Sudan, one of the youngest countries in the world, suffers from high levels of youth unemployment. Governmental and public infrastructure has been severely limited as a result of conflict. Furthermore, the country’s current provision of technical and vocational education and training (TVET) is fragmented and does not meet the population’s needs.
TVET is an indispensable vehicle of change that can equip individuals with the skills they need to improve their livelihoods and futures. UNESCO, through its Capacity Development for Education (CapED) Programme is working to strengthen TVET in the county by developing capacities so that education systems adopt TVET strategies and plans that foster youth employment and entrepreneurship, and helps prevent youth getting involved in conflict.
To this end, a high-level ministerial meeting on TVET was held on July 2, 2018 in Juba, South Sudan, bringing together key education stakeholders. During the event, UNESCO launched its CapED Programme in support of TVET in the country and shared its findings of its rapid assessment of the TVET sector. In parallel, the EMPOWER project, led by a group of NGOs supported by the EU, was also launched.
The groundbreaking assessment is the first of its kind after many years of the TVET sector being neglected. The report was a collaborative effort between national stakeholders, donor entities, NGOs, civil society, development partners and other stakeholders. The assessment found that 21 government bodies work in the TVET sector, alongside many development partners, who create their own policies, programmes and interventions, causing duplication and confusion. To tackle this, the report recommends a TVET governing body of authority to coordinate all efforts in South Sudan. The assessment will be used by partners in the country to address challenges in the sector and their programme implementation.
“This meeting provides an opportunity for all stakeholders to solidify support in streamlining and strengthening the TVET sector to align with national developmental goals including economic and educational,” said Sardar Umar Alam, UNESCO’s Representative to South Sudan, “We must all work together to strengthen and streamline TVET, so young people can improve their lives and each and every dollar spent goes a long way.”
The report was greatly appreciated and welcomed by the Ministers of General Education and Instruction; Labour, Public Service and Human Resource Development; Culture, Youth and Sports; and Wildlife and Tourism. Also in attendance were the EU Delegation to South Sudan and Ambassadors of Norway and Sweden, who all stressed the need for stakeholders to work together, have a single TVET national policy and coordinated efforts to reduce duplication and promote effective fund usage.
During his opening remarks, the Head of Cooperation, Stefano Ellero, of the EU Delegation pledged support to UNESCO to assist South Sudan in policy work, including the development of a single TVET national policy and a central body of authority in TVET.
“Through technical and vocational education and training, we can convert young people to be champions of peace than being used in war that endangers their lives,” stated Deng Deng Hoc Yai, Minister of General Education and Instruction. “TVET can also be a quick way to generate income for youth and women.”
The assessment’s findings also highlight the need for increased investment in the sector, for policies and interventions to be labour market-responsive, and for the provision of equitable access to TVET for all, as many TVET centres are built in urban centres. As part of UNESCO’s efforts, the CapED TVET programme will continue to support policy, coordination, advocacy and service delivery support to South Sudan to ensure that all young people have development opportunities.
To access the assessment, please visit: http://www.unesco.org/new/fileadmin/MULTIMEDIA/FIELD/juba/pdf/Rapid_Assessment.pdf
The CapED Programme is generously supported by the governments of Finland, Norway and Sweden, and Dubai Cares. If you are interested in supporting the CapED Programme, please contact us for more information at caped(at)unesco.org.