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The million dollar question: How do you make sure that TVET programmes are relevant?

From a census study on technical education in the Ecuadorian provinces of Manabi and Santo Domingo done in December 2013, it was confirmed what was already thought and is a big problematic issue in many countries: the programmes offered by technical schools in those provinces are out of tune with what is demanded on the labour market. This means that youngsters are not being equipped with the right technical skills to be able to find jobs at the labour market.

Determining the gaps between supply and demand

To tackle this, the Ecuadorian Ministry of Education asked VVOB’s assistance to design a methodology to determine the gaps that currently exist between supply and demand. With the help of the statistical company ISVOS, the following methodology was designed and approved by the Ministry:

It basically looks into existing economic databases combined with field interviews with a sample of companies to determine in a certain area what the most productive sectors and occupations at the level of TVET secondary education are and what big economic projects are in the pipeline (future demand). From those data, a catalogue of the most important occupations are derived. This is then compared with the existing offer of technical education. Via a mathematical analysis the breaches between the two are calculated.

The result is the following:

Testing the methodology

What we can see is that, at the moment in the provinces of Santo Domingo and Manabi, where the methodology is currently being tested, is a fairly good match between the amount of students in the programme of ‘Produccion Agropecuario’ (agriculture and livestock) and the demand of the labour market for such skills. But there is a strong oversupply of students in accountancy and administration and ICT while there is far more labour demand than students graduating in the programmes of construction, auto mechanics, the transformation of milk-derived products, cooking, restaurant etc.

The Ministry is very excited about this methodology

This analysis can be done at the zonal level, the provincial level and the district level in detail. After careful analysis and validation, it will help determine what type and how many programmes of secondary TVET should be offered in a certain area.

This is a first analysis and the information on new economic projects is currently reviewed so in the end, new programmes, should appear in the graph. But so far, the Ministry is very excited about this methodology, has already started gathering the necessary data on the TVET supply in other provinces so the methodology, once completely fine-tuned, can be duplicated.

It would be a great achievement of the VVOB programme if in the end this would contribute to the redistribution of the supply of secondary TVET programmes in Ecuador, because it will give more youngsters more opportunities in the labour market.