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Vocational education and training for African development: a literature review

Mcgrath, Simon; Ramsarup, Presha; Zeelen, Jacques; Wedekind, Volker; Allais, Stephanie; Lotz-Sisitka, Heila; Monk, David; Openjuru, George; Russon, Jo-Anna


Simon Mcgrath

Presha Ramsarup

Jacques Zeelen

Volker Wedekind

Stephanie Allais

Heila Lotz-Sisitka

David Monk

George Openjuru


The SDGs mark the clearest global acceptance yet that the previous approach to development was unsustainable. In VET, UNESCO has responded by developing a clear account of how a transformed VET must be part of a transformative approach to development. It argues that credible, comprehensive skills systems can be built that can support individuals, communities, and organisations to generate and maintain enhanced and just livelihood opportunities. However, the major current theoretical approaches to VET are not up to this challenge. In the context of Africa, we seek to address this problem through a presentation of literatures that contribute to the theorisation of this new vision. They agree that the world is not made up of atomised individuals guided by a “hidden hand”. Rather, reality is heavily structured within political economies that have emerged out of contestations and compromises in specific historical and geographical spaces. Thus, labour markets and education and training systems have arisen, characterised by inequalities and exclusions. These specific forms profoundly influence individuals’ and communities’ views about the value of different forms of learning and working. However, they do not fully define what individuals dream, think and do. Rather, a transformed and transformative VET for Africa is possible.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Nov 5, 2019
Print ISSN 1363-6820
Electronic ISSN 1747-5090
Publisher Taylor & Francis Open
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
APA6 Citation Mcgrath, S., Ramsarup, P., Zeelen, J., Wedekind, V., Allais, S., Lotz-Sisitka, H., …Russon, J. (2019). Vocational education and training for African development: a literature review. Journal of Vocational Education and Training,
Publisher URL
Additional Information This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Journal of Vocational Education and Training on 05.11.2019, available online: http://www.tandfonline....0/13636820.2019.1679969