Increasing resilience and business continuity in Lebanon’s TVET sector

The ILO has developed an online version of its Arabic-language “Know About Business” entrepreneurship programme to enable remote entrepreneurship education.

News | 01 September 2020
In 2019, the ILO initiated a technical cooperation project in Lebanon, funded by the Norway Global Fund and entitled: “Support to formal and informal TVET and skills training systems in Lebanon” that aims to:
  1. integrate entrepreneurship and financial literacy in the Lebanese TVET curricula to equip the youth with the required skills and improve their school-to-work transition and,
  2. strengthen Sectors Skills Councils’ involvement to improve the market relevance of training programmes.
In 2020, the entrepreneurship education component of the project was disrupted by a series of events, namely the country’s political unrest, the economic crisis, the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown, and most recently, the devastating explosion in Beirut, which led to delays in project implementation and interruption of activities related to the “Know About Business” entrepreneurship education programme.

As a first step to ensure business continuity in the TVET sector and as a response to the COVID-19 related lockdown measures imposed by the Government, the ILO developed an online version of its Arabic “Know About Business” (KAB) entrepreneurship programme which will be pilot tested in the academic year 2020-2021. This will allow TVET institutions to introduce entrepreneurship education in their curricula and instructors to remotely provide KAB modules to their students.

The Know About Business (KAB) entrepreneurship education programme targets young women and men enrolled in general secondary schools, vocational/technical education and higher education. The programme introduces its beneficiaries to entrepreneurship at the personal and business levels. Under the framework of this project, two KAB Training of Facilitators’ workshops were held in 2019 targeting 40 TVET instructors.

Despite the spread of COVID-19 virus in the country and the recent tragic explosion, the ILO succeeded in organizing, with the continuous support and commitment of the Director General of TVET, a third KAB Training of Facilitators’ workshop from 17 to 29 August 2020. The workshop’s objective was to build the capacity of 23 additional teachers on the technical content and the participatory teaching techniques of the KAB programme. The workshop was organized in a setting that was compliant with the highest safety and hygiene measures, with daily temperature checks, social distancing, PPE kits, proper ventilation, and a tracing system in place in case of confirmed COVID-19 cases among participants.

Although the workshop was held shortly after the Beirut explosion, participants demonstrated motivation and eagerness to learn new topics and skills related to entrepreneurship.

Karine Khater Chidiac, a 40-year-old teacher from the Lebanese town of Zahle, is one of the 23 Lebanese technical and vocational school teachers who attended the workshop. When asked about her experience she said: “The workshop was postponed several times, and I am glad to have finally attended. The KAB programme offered many of us TVET instructors the opportunity to broaden our teaching techniques and explore unconventional ways to convey ideas. I am looking forward to deliver this subject to my students”.

The KAB Regional Key Facilitator Wael Ghosn discussed briefly the proceedings of the workshop: “During the first few days of the training, I could feel the tension and unease among participants, especially due to the pandemic and the unfortunate situation in Beirut after the blast. This tension decreased as days went by and participants were able to disconnect from the harsh reality and focus on the workshop topics and games. They were a group of active and driven teachers; together we managed to set a fun and safe learning environment despite everything going on in the country.”

At the end of the workshop, participants expressed their appreciation for the ILO’s perseverance and determination to hold the KAB training workshop and increase their resilience by equipping them with much needed skills to continue teaching, even remotely, and help future generations secure better opportunities in the labour market.