Supporting Vocational Training, Combating Youth Unemployment
With about 400,000 young people entering the job market every year, there is a substantial need for vocational training in Afghanistan. Between 2002 and 2014, the number of vocational schools across the country rose from 41 to almost 300, while the number of students soared from about 1350 to more than 56,000. The Afghan Government is planning to further increase the number of vocational students to around 155,000 by 2021, requiring about 600 vocational schools to be available by then – twice as many as existing today. Against this backdrop, there is still a need for new school buildings and properly equipped amenities. Reforms are also required to address the management issues in the vocational training sector and thus ensure that the new infrastructure is utilised effectively.
More vocational schools, training places and jobs in Afghanistan in the coming decades will do much to support integration of young people of vocational training age into the economy and society. At present, however, only around 2.4% of Afghans receive formal vocational training, whereas as many as 28% of young people are being trained in the traditional manner by small businesses in the informal sector. This creates scope not only to focus on school-based vocational training but also to expand workplace training by linking in with traditional systems.
The Afghan-German Cooperation supports the systematic expansion of the formal vocational education and training system in Afghanistan by providing advice on TVET reform, the construction of vocational schools and teacher training. A further aim, in improving the quality of vocational training, is to increase young people’s employability.
Measures & Results
Through the Afghan-German Cooperation, the German Government has supported a range of initiatives to develop the vocational training system. The project has achieved some impressive results: in Kabul, Mazar-e Sharif and Kunduz Province, six vocational schools have been built and seven have been fully equipped with a focus on energy efficiency and sustainability. In these seven schools, students are being trained in car mechanics, electrical and mechanical engineering, plumbing, public administration, accountancy, commerce, IT and agriculture. Here, more than 14,000 young people, 23.6% of them women, are currently undergoing training. Basic equipment for workshops and classroom furnishings have been provided for more than 50 schools. Seven new commercial and technical training occupations have so far been developed and launched in 51 vocational schools.
Teachers play the pivotal role in any education system. Good teacher training is a prerequisite for high-quality vocational education. A system for the initial and continuing training of vocational school teachers – previously lacking in Afghanistan – has therefore been established. From 2015-2018, more than 1,500 serving teachers, 18.5% of them women, have attended over 300 training courses in vocational education and specialist areas. Currently, some 350 young people, a third of them women, are attending teacher-training programmes at two vocational schools in Kabul and Mazar-e Sharif, which were built with support from the project. After completing their training, these teachers can act as multipliers by sharing their newly acquired knowledge with their colleagues.
Until now, around 28% of young people have received informal training in the traditional manner from around 500,000 small businesses specialising in crafts and trades and based in the bazaars. However, this type of training was not formally recognised. This is now changing as a result of the TVET project. With the new system of weekly attendance at a vocational school, the traditional training system is being updated, giving vocational students the skills and knowledge they need to practise new professions or run a modern business. Practical work placements during school hours and vocational training fairs, which provide information for students and parents, have also been introduced. About 690 Afghan companies have now opened their doors to students wishing to undertake a work placement.
As a general principle, the more vocational schools, training places and jobs are created over the coming decades, and the more relevant the skills acquired, the more this supports the social and economic integration of young people of working age, enabling them to make a positive contribution to their country’s development.