Joint Emerging Economies Study on the Role of the Private Sector in Vocational and Educational Training

Bringing together leading think tanks from emerging economies as part of its Policy Initiative on Innovation and Economic Diversification, the Economic Policy Forum (EPF) in cooperation with the Cologne Institute for Economic Research (IW) published a study on “The Role of the Private Sector in Vocational Education and Training (VET)”. The study features inputs by the Observer Research Foundation (ORF, India), the Human Resources Development Service of Korea, the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC, South Africa) and the Central Institute for Economic Management (CIEM, Vietnam), which first convened during a workshop facilitated by EPF in Baku, Azerbaijan, where the idea of the joint study was first conceived.

The study focuses on developments and success factors with respect to the VET systems of India, South Korea, South Africa, and Vietnam. All four countries have identified the VET system as a key factor for meeting the growing demand for an adequately skilled workforce.

VET systems prepare young persons for the labour market, thus improving their employment prospects. At the same time, a skilled workforce provides a solid foundation for a sustainable growth strategy for the economy as a whole. Importantly, well-functioning VET systems are crucial in readying society for the challenges of the future, such as those associated with the digital economy.

All profiled countries face the same challenge: designing a VET system that makes the country future-proof. Key recommendations and conclusions to overcome these challenges include the following:

  • Overall strengthening of private sector involvement in VET
  • Assignment of clear responsibilities within VET institutions
  • Development of national VET standards
  • Incremental introduction of dual VET, comprising theoretical and practical elements
  • Promote labour market perspectives of VET to the general public in order to overcome stigmatization
  • Increase the permeability between VET and higher education
  • Implementation of an institutionalized system supervising developments in the labour market and forecasting future skill demand

The results of the analysis allow the identification of promising reform options and policy recommendations in VET which also have the potential to be transferred to other countries.

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