Changing philosophy and aims of TVET in response to demands for sustainable and inclusive development

The Chair for this session was Dr. Muna Al-Jardaniyah, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Manpower for Technological Education and Vocational Training, Sultante of Oman. Presentations were delivered by Kenneth Barrientios, Programme Officer UNESCO-UNEVOC International Centre, UNESCO UNEVOC Bonn, Germany and John Fien, Professor of Practice, School of Architecture and Urban Design, RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia.

Transforming TVET for Sustainable and Inclusive Development
Kenneth Barrientos (on behalf of the Director of UNESCO-UNEVOC Bonn) 

We are experiencing changing philosophy and aims in response to sustainable and inclusive development. What does it mean to pursue ‘transformative’ learning? It is to build on existing knowledge and develop new mindsets, encourage behavioural mindsets, to ensure education is relevant to current and future challenges. 

We cannot pursue transformative education without identifying the different goals and agendas that constitute the SDGs, interconnected goals. Improving access to quality education sits at the centre, is the key to achieving a whole range of outcomes related to gender equality, health, climate change, employment, and peace. 

Within this framework, it is important to think about transforming TVET: TVET needs to respond to economic imperatives, industry and the labour market; TVET needs to respond to questions of equity; and, TVET needs to employ a transformational lens (lifelong learning, sustainability, promotion of well-being).

Transforming TVET: What are the Major Research Needs and Questions? 
John Fien (RMIT University, Australia)

The three categories of philosophies of education, that is, classical & vocational; liberal & progressive and reconstructionist & socially critical are presented. Some questions that are important to consider are: What do these have to do with TVET? How do they relate to TVET for sustainable and inclusive development? 

These philosophies permeate all aspects of education from our education systems; curricula; learning materials; school architecture through to professional development of academics, teachers and trainers. There is a move from classical vocational or productivist orientation in TVET to include more liberal and reconstructionist notions.

You can see this movement in various declarations on TVET – Seoul (1999), Bonn (2004) and Shanghai (2009) and in the International Labour Organization (ILO) and UNESCO recommendations on TVET for the 21st Century. The presenter concludes the presentation with a series of questions relating to the research implications surrounding TVET.