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Vocational education and training in Southern Africa: A comparative study

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Corporate author/s:

Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC), HSRC Press

Person/s author/s:

McGrath, Simon; Gewer, Anthony; Akoojee, Mahomed Salim Ahmed





This volume is intended to develop and share knowledge within the southern African region regarding the challenges faced by vocational education and training (VET) systems and the responses to these challenges. Some of these challenges arise out of the history of VET in the region, whilst others relate to current international discourses about VET. The field of VET in southern Africa has been badly neglected. It is very difficult to find an article in the international journals on the topic, and it is even less likely that it will have been written by a national of the region, based at one of its research institutions. VET has also attracted little attention in the policy community for more than a decade, given the donor fascination with basic education since the World Conference on Education for All in 1990 (McGrath 2002). However, VET can play an important role in supporting social and economic development goals, and major VET policy reforms and the creation of new institutions are either underway or planned in all seven countries under study in this book. Therefore, it is my intention in this introduction to illuminate the nature of some of these changes, their origins and their likelihood of success. In so doing, I will show how VET is an important policy nexus - located as it is between economic and educational policy, between the state and the market, and between concerns with poverty and growth. Before this volume turns to examine this complexity through an exploration of the experiences of seven countries (Botswana, Lesotho, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Swaziland), it is important to locate these national and contemporary debates in the historical evolution of ideas about VET. In so doing, I will look at both internal trends within Africa and the impact of external ideas.

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