Gender Issues in Technical and Vocational Education and Training

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Gender Issues in Technical and Vocational Education and Training
This paper argues that post primary education in Africa is uneven, biased by gender, location, class and region, resulting in the illiteracy of the majority of girls and women in Africa. A minority of African adolescents undertakes secondary schooling. The majority have little foundation for building on technical, vocational education and training, making technical, vocational education and training the preserve of a few, usually elite students. The rest of adolescents drop out of school and join the informal sector or work on family farms, enterprises and domestic domains with little systematic training. Girls and poor boys start working as early as age five and their schooling has to be undertaken together with unpaid family labour. Boys’ mobility allows them to earn better incomes while girls usually marry early, fall pregnant and have children, resulting in their occupational immobility. Educated adolescents acquire skilled and better-paid jobs with bright career prospects while poorly educated and illiterate adolescents secure poorly paid, easy entry easy exit jobs usually in the informal sector. The global sex industry has emerged a source of employment for young female adolescents who may be trafficked or recruited voluntarily for sex work in Europe, Australia, the United States and Canada. HIV and AIDS are threats to adolescents especially in Southern Africa where they may head households after being orphaned. Orphaned and other poor and vulnerable adolescents are at risk of infection with HIV, dropping out of school, entering the labour force too early and falling sick with overwork in poor quality jobs with meager wages. The paper argues for provision of good quality formal and non-formal primary and some secondary and TVET for adolescents in Africa, especially for girls and poor boys in countries where barriers to schooling are high. The paper cites specific types of TVET which have been implemented in various countries, suggesting that secondary schooling, both formal and informal, be placed on a continuum and restructured to incorporated both formal and non-formal education, be made more accessible to poor, female, vulnerable and other adolescents and enable all students to choose any route to education and to ensure that there is equivalence, comparability and satisfactory quality in all types of education. The content of such TVET must suit the interests and life situations of the adolescents to make it relevant, effective and appropriate for generating decent levels of income and livelihoods for different types of adolescents.
Gaidzanwa, R. (2008). Gender Issues in Technical and Vocational Education and Training.