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The contribution of vocational skills development to inclusive industrial growth and transformation: An analysis of critical factors in six countries

 

The project studies the critical factors helping or hindering skills development initiatives contribute to inclusive industrial growth and transformation. It analyses programmes from a total of six countries by combining approaches from the impact evaluation literature and the political-economic literature on skills formation regimes.

About the project

Background

Renewed donor interest in vocational skills development (VSD) has led to a growing number of initiatives that aim at developing skills for the industry. Little is known, however, about the contribution of such initiatives to inclusive industrial growth and transformation, and, in consequence, to more and better jobs and reduced poverty.

Objectives

The proposed project aims at studying the critical factors that help or hinder skills development initiatives contribute to inclusive industrial growth and transformation. In order to reach this objective, the project will analyse programmes from a total of six countries, whereby three least developed countries from South and Southeast Asia (i.e. Bangladesh, Cambodia and Laos) are compared with three contrasting countries (i.e. Ethiopia, South Africa and Vietnam), two of which being classified as middle-income.

Combining approaches from the impact evaluation literature and the political-economic literature on skills formation regimes, the project is particularly interested in the influence of a) the country context (e.g. the overall political framework, the role of industrial policy, and the priorities in education and training policy) as well as that of b) the respective industry (e.g. its skill needs, its position in the global value chain, and the role of the associations).

Relevance

Developing vocational skills has, again, become an important priority for many governments of developing countries and donor agencies. And, in fact, an increasing number of such initiatives cater to industries, in particular to export-oriented manufacturing (e.g. for textiles or metal products) that is considered relevant in terms of its role for employment creation and economic transformation.

Despite this general re-orientation towards vocational skills development (VSD), there is very little evidence available that would allow to base respective initiatives on research. In fact, what is lacking is substantial evidence on those factors that help or hinder vocational skills development to contribute to sustainable industrial growth and transformation. This question is particularly relevant for policy making in developing countries, for which there is an agreement that industries require skilled personnel at all levels. At the same time, this question is of tremendous relevance for middle-income countries, too, many of which are caught in the middle-income trap, once critical rea-son being their lacking capacity to design and implement adequate skill development strategies.

The project will assess the following hypotheses: firstly, VSD initiatives that focus on higher skill levels are more likely to contribute to inclusive industrial growth and transformation than those that focus on lower skill levels; secondly, VSD initiatives in countries with a clear strategy and the respective capacity to link education and training to industrial development are more likely to contribute to inclusive industrial growth and transformation than others. If these hypotheses were to be correct, this would also imply that a stronger political focus on developing skills at all occupational levels in industries of low and middle-income countries will be an important element to reach the newly declared SDGs.

Geographic scope

  • Laos
  • Bangladesh
  • Vietnam
  • Cambodia
  • Ethiopia
  • South Africa

Research consortium

Grantees

  • Prof. Dr. Markus Maurer, Zurich University of Teacher Education, Switzerland
  • Prof. Philipp Gonon, University of Zurich, Switzerland
  • Prof. Bounseng Khammounty, National University of Laos, Lao PDR
  • Dr. Mariam Erum, BRAC University (BIED-BRACU), Dhaka, Bangladesh
  • Prof. Hadush Berhe, Mekelle University, Ethiopia
  • Dr. Stephanie Allais, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, Republic of South Africa

Coordinator

  • Séverine Chuffart, PHZ, Lagerstrasse 2, 8090 Zürich, Tel. +41 43 305 54 56, severine.chuffart@phzh.ch

Partnerships

  • Institute of Adult Learning, Singapore
  • Regional Association for Vocational Teacher Education in East and Southeast Asia, RAVTE

Project website and link to P3

  • Link to project website (forthcoming)
  • Link to project on SNSF research database P3

 

 

 

Further information on this content

 Contact

Prof. Dr. Markus Maurer Zurich University of Teacher Education Lagerstrasse 2 CH-8090 Zürich +41 43 305 66 12 markus.maurer@phzh.ch