The TVET Reform Project is an initiative of the Government of Bangladesh that will modernize the TVET system, strengthen its contribution to economic development and reduce poverty in Bangladesh. In doing this, it also aims to enhance the labour market participation, social inclusion and empowerment of disadvantaged groups in TVET. This includes youth with low literacy and numeracy, child workers, women and rural communities and people with disabilities. These groups are mostly excluded from substantive participation in publicly-funded TVET courses due to constraints such as:
Difficulty faced by the rural population in attending courses at urban training centres
Difficulty faced by people leaving income-generation activities to take part in training
Young people undertaking informal apprenticeships not supported
Lack of assessment tools which can recognize prior learning and certify existing skills
Difficulty entering TVET courses (Grade 8 is the lowest entry education level to TVET institutions in Bangladesh)
Lack of capacity within key agencies to provide support to underprivileged groups
Difficulties for women as training is not gender-sensitive
Occupational segregation and gender stereotyping prevailing
Difficulty faced by persons with disabilities in accessing training and employment
As part of the TVET Reform Project mandate, the following objectives have been set to address these constraints:
1. Community-Based Training (TREE) mainstreamed into TVET
2. Increased access of working children to TVET
3. Informal apprenticeships improved and supported
4. System for recognition of prior learning (RPL) developed
5. TVET extended to people with low education levels
6. Enhanced capacity of key agencies (DTE, BTEB, BMET)
7. Access of women to TVET and employment increased
8. Access of people with disabilities (PWD) to TVET and employment improved
In order to ensure that the scope of the project was realistic, research studies were conducted on Community Based Training (adaptation of ILO TREE methodology) applications, female participation in TVET and Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL). Fellowships to other countries in the region then allowed national TVET stakeholders to see practical strategies for increasing access to TVET for underprivileged groups first-hand.
The project developed a draft Recognition of Prior Learning System for Bangladesh and it will be updated based on the Course Accreditation Documents developed for 12 occupations. A Code of Practice has been developed for informal apprenticeships and it will be piloted in two informal work places.
In collaboration with ILO’s Urban Informal Economy Project (UIE) working on child labour and UNICEF’s Basic Education for Hard to Reach Urban Working Children (BEHTRUWC) project new methodologies have been developed to assist TVET professionals to develop specific teaching strategy and learning materials for students with low literacy and numeracy and ensure that their course delivery methods are flexible and inclusive. Training sessions have then been delivered to communicate these concepts face-to-face and also equip TVET practitioners with the skills to lead reform in their individual sectors.
The TVET Project in collaboration with these two projects and after extensive consultations with key stakeholders developed 8 Competency Skills Log Books (CSLBs) for undertaking vocational skills training programmes for child workers following competency based training methodology. These CSLBs can also be used for informal apprenticeships as well as for training of adult workers.
A number of workshops and stakeholder consultations were conducted on topics such as inclusion of underprivileged groups, community-based training, informal apprenticeships, access of women and, access of people with disabilities. These workshops recommend developing national TVET capacity and up skilling national professionals to assist activities for inclusion of underprivileged groups.
The first pilot program in the project has just started in collaboration with a private enterprise, Interfab Shirt Manufacturing Ltd and Centre for the Rehabilitation of Paralysed (CRP) to train nine disabled women and three underprivileged women in industrial sewing. This is the first of seven pilots which will test methodologies developed and serve as learning opportunities for TVET practitioners and industry stakeholders.
The project is continuing to work on developing two pre-vocational levels which will give people with low education levels the opportunity to enter TVET. The pre vocational levels seek to bridge the gap in language, literacy and numeracy including basic technical skills and thus seek to address the lack of minimum education qualifications to access formal TVET courses. The project will be piloting several pre-vocational courses to demonstrate pathways for underprivileged groups to enter into formal TVET courses at NTVQF level 1 or level 2 by completing the relevant pre-vocational course.
It is also working on strategies to promote gender equality, challenge gender stereotypes and increase access of men and women to non traditional skills.
The collaboration with the ILOs Urban Informal Economy (UIE) project for working children and UNICEF’s BEHTRUWC Project is continuing to develop strategies and methodologies for skills development of child workers. The Project has also been working with the UNDP’s the Chittagong Hill Tracts Development Facility (CHTDF) project and in the Urban Partnerships for Poverty Reduction Project (UPPRP) for economic empowerment of poor communities through newly adapted TVET training strategies.