National technical and vocational education and training (TVET) systems require comprehensive reforms and increased funding to allow for curriculum reforms, tutor trainings and a wide range of digital equipment.
Some African governments are already focusing on TVET and technical and vocational skills development (TVSD) reforms as the key route to youth employment, and have earmarked additional funding for the sector. Increasingly, young people are looking to TVET/TVSD to get the technical skills and entrepreneurial know-how they need to launch start-ups.
The key role of the Global e-Schools & Communities Initiative
The Global e-Schools & Communities Initiative (GeSCI) is an international non-profit, non-governmental organization, headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya, that works with developing country governments and state agencies to integrate ICT in education, science, technology and innovation systems through professional, institutional and technical capacity building.
In addition, GeSCI has adopted the approach of integrating 21st century skills at school, vocational and tertiary levels and has sought to improve the capacities of youth and children to engage in the digital economy.
In the last few years, GESCI has pioneered a new model for digitally driven skills and entrepreneurship for youth, which can be scaled across Africa. The original focus of using “living lab” to empower youth in the digital creative media is now being developed with partners as an accredited, internationally recognized certificate in animation and visual effects for disadvantaged youth in refugee camps and host communities.
The model is a 9 to 12-month digital training hub that provides a mix of expert tuition and skills development to industry standards in three areas: animation, digital games and apps, and music design and production.
Using industry mentors and support, a cohort of up to 40 young entrepreneurs collaborate, leading to the formation of start-ups. The model allows one to develop blueprints and models for scaling and applications in other ICT-based skills environments. Incorporation of the living lab methodology and outcomes from policy fora are used to refine the model.
GESCI has also developed an e-readiness system assessment tool for the education sector that helps countries to assess their enabling environment, their approaches to school management of ICT integration, teacher development, integration of ICT in the curriculum, community outreach and the necessary levels of ICT infrastructure and equipment for successful integration. Additionally, we have developed a tool that allows government to estimate various scenarios of the likely purchase and roll-out costs of ICT integration in education depending on the type of equipment and infrastructure proposed.
Finally, as an international non-governmental organization (INGO), GESCI’s approach, in developing and trialing new whole school digitally - driven models for teaching and learning as well as new digital skills for employment programs, is to provide Governments with realistic, scalable and sustainable models for reforms of education and training systems.