Today, during the Higher and Further Education caucus of its 8th World Congress, Education International launched “Technical and Vocational Education and Training as a Framework for Social Justice” – a new study arguing that a holistic approach to TVET can deliver better results than the human capital theory. In an uncertain future of work, better TVET can help students grow as workers but also as individuals who adapt and continue learning and citizens who contribute to their communities.
Authored by Gavin Moodie, Leesa Wheelahan and Eric Lavigne, the study is the result of a project spanning several years and features seven case studies from Argentina, Australia, Ethiopia, Germany, Ivory Coast, Taiwan and the United Kingdom.
The study makes the case for a capabilities approach to TVET, as opposed to the current and narrow human capital approach. Capabilities go beyond 21st century skills, covering a broader range of knowledge, skills and attributes that individuals need in order to be productive at work, to continue learning in order to advance their careers and become involved in decision making about work. In addition to the practical skills their learn, TVET students need to understand how their field of practice fits into their community and society and they require the capacity to be citizens within their field, so they can help shape its future. By preparing skilled workers who are also engaged and empowered citizens, better TVET can bring the world closer to achieving social justice.