The digitization of TVET in Africa, an opportunity for vocational training funds (Session 3 of the RAFPRO workshop)

About the RAFPRO workshop in Senegal

The RAFPRO was created in 2006 in Cotonou by ten (10) continuing professional training institutions and funds from nine African countries. It currently has twelve (12) institutions and funds and covers eleven (11) African countries of which eight (8) are in the Western subregion and three are in the Central subregion. Its vision is to bring together institutions and vocational training funds to gain a foothold in the field and capitalize on experiences in order to synergize actions.

Through high-level exchanges between RAFPRO managers and experts, actors from public and private sector, the civil society and TFPs, the objective of the November workshop was to deepen the concepts, tools, current practices and methods likely to improve and diversify the strategies for mobilizing and managing funding within the Network.

Three themes were selected to fuel the debates over three days around alternative modes of financing vocational training in Africa:

  • Theme 1 : Panorama of the financing of vocational training in Africa
  • Theme 2 : Fund professional learning
  • Theme 3 : The digitalization of TVET in Africa: what role and opportunities for the Funds?

For each theme, the work prepared for the workshop was introduced by experts mobilized for the occasion. The participants then discussed and shared their experiences and approaches, during group work on in-depth sub-themes.

The digitization of TVET in Africa, an opportunity for vocational training funds

In view of the debates around this third theme of the RAFPRO workshop, a preliminary survey was submitted to the participants in order to prepare the discussions. This survey, entitled "The role of the Funds in the digitization of TVET in Africa: challenges, needs and future perspectives", was completed by 45 participants from 16 countries, of which 58% belong to the Funds and the rest to the private sector and to other TVET actors.

At the launch of the third session of the workshop, the results of the survey were presented by the international consultant Ibrahima Diagne, expert in digital transformation. The reactions of the participants in the discussion around the results of the survey showed a strong interest in the theme, with an emphasis on the use of digital technology to strengthen equity / inclusion and professional learning, taking into account the difficulties in implementing digital technology in contexts with low penetration of internet networks.

The challenges of digitizing TVET in Africa

The main challenges mentioned by the participants to accelerate the digitization of TVET were:

  • the weakness of basic digital infrastructures within vocational training centers;
  • the low capacity of trainers in terms of digital skills.

While these challenges do not concern TVET actors but rather political choices and investments in digital technology at the state level, other more specific needs reported by participants directly challenge TVET stakeholders, in particular:

  • reconversion into a hybrid learning method;
  • capacity building of trainers;
  • support for the development of a digital training offer.
The axes of work of the Funds to improve access to TVET in Africa through digitization

To meet these challenges, several lines of work have been envisaged for the Funds, which have a key role to play, particularly in terms of setting up partnerships between the productive sectors of ICT and training centers. Here are the main areas of support envisaged:

  • strengthening the digital skills of trainers;
  • support for the digital transformation of curricula and educational tools;
  • mobilization of the private ICT sector (partnership), including in fund governance;
  • the reorientation of the training offer towards digital professions and digital skills in other professions;
  • digital management of training centers (administrative and management functions, registration process, exams, personnel management, etc.).