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Initiative: Promoting Post-Primary Education and Research

The initiative on post-primary education and research consists of two distinct tracks.

Track One: Technical and vocational skills development

Background

Technical and vocational skills are crucial for enhancing competitiveness and decent work. Despite the fact that training in the informal sector is the primary avenue through which young people can acquire technical and occupational know-how, it has, to a certain extent, been neglected. The initiative will develop technical and vocational skills development (TVSD) interventions in the informal sector in two areas: Rural community-based TVSD linked to economic opportunities; and apprenticeship systems, predominantly in urban areas.

Objective

The objective of the TVSD Initiative is to equip more young women and men in the informal economy with skills that will improve their employability in more productive and decent work.

It is the aim that more than 50,000 young people will benefit directly or indirectly from improved skills and employment through this initiative.

Strategic approach

The initiative will build on existing positive experiences and prior assessments of needs and capabilities (where available).

The initiative will be aligned with national policies and strategies and local and national institutions. It will only be pursued in countries where it forms part of a national strategy or effort for technical and vocational skills development. Implementation will take place through national organisations with relevant mandates, and support for capacity development will be provided.

The initiative will be demand-driven. As such, the private sector (including the social partners, i. e. employers and employees) will have key roles in the implementation arrangements at country level to ensure that training is focused on skills that are needed. Sustainability would be fostered through capacity development by facilitating institutional linkages and networks with social partners, businesses, non-governmental organisations, and national and local government agencies.

The initiative will take account of the numerous lessons learned, reviews and evaluations of programmes within this field. ²

Lessons learned will be documented and shared, preferably through a regional organisation.

Gender equality will be mainstreamed, for example in terms of beneficiaries and vocations, with a view to ensure that women and men benefit equally.

The feasibility of developing certification of knowledge and competencies that can be utilised across borders will be studied.

The initiative will be launched initially in two to three countries in West Africa. Criteria for selection will be developed further, but might include the extent of regional collaboration (sharing lessons, certification), level of need and national policies as well as experience.

Activities Community-based TVSD Activities would include:

  • Selection of rural communities in line with national policies
  • Establishment of committees of stakeholders in the communities, including the private sector, local and national government, women, etc. These will build on existing structures to the extent that they exist in local and national contexts
  • Identification by stakeholders of local employment and income-generating opportunities and of skills gaps to be filled to exploit opportunities, e. g. related to agricultural value chains
  • Design and delivery of appropriate training and post-training support, preferably through existing training providers in the private and public sector. The initiative will support capacity development of the local training providers. Training could include entrepreneurship for self-employment
  • Monitoring and documentation of lessons learned to inform national policies and share experience between countries and communities

Upgrading informal apprenticeships

Informal apprenticeships are self-regulating and self-financing knowledge systems embedded in local contexts. Building on these apprenticeships, the initiative will enhance the quality and relevance of training, improve employability and productivity of apprentices, and strengthen incentives for master craftspersons and young people to participate in apprenticeships. The details of the activities need to be defined, but could include:

  • Work with central and local government, formal and non-formal training institutions, small business and sector associations and informal businesses to assess apprenticeship systems and prospects for private sector development, and identify constraints and opportunities in terms of skills acquisition and decent work outcomes
  • Assess training needs and design of interventions as part of national strategies/effort, including coordination of informal apprenticeships within the formal schooling system and the formal training system, and of co-financing arrangements
  • Collaboration with education providers, youth groups, NGOs and micro-finance institutions will open apprenticeships to greater numbers of young people and will smooth the transition from school to apprenticeships and from apprenticeship to employment
  • Setting-up certification of training, monitoring quality and ensuring recognition of acquired skills
  • Monitoring and documentation of lessons learned to inform national policies and share experience between countries and communities

Expected output

Under the assumption of an USD 18 million investment, the initiative would include the following results:

  • 10,000 young women and men will benefit from the community-based TVSD
  • 3,000 master craftspersons will be trained in technical, core, business and pedagogical skills and the rights of apprentices to decent work
  • 6,000 apprentices will benefit from the improved training by their master craftsperson
  • 50,000 apprentices will be reached through shorter formal or non-formal training courses in a variety of skills to increase their employability
  • 10,000 graduate apprentices, skilled workers and master craftspersons will benefit from the improved recognition of their skills through skills assessment and certification

Setup (management and organisation)

The programme will be implemented as part of the national policy implementation and in the selected countries be aligned to the national structures, e. g. Ministry/Authority responsible for TVSD and local government authorities.

Overall budget

A budget frame for the start-up phase (three to five years) is USD 18 million in two to three countries.

Process Action Plan
May – Sep
2009:
Finalisation of programme
documentation including
final selection of countries
May – July
2009:
Consultations with
possible partners
Oct 2009 Final programme
documentation
Nov 2009: Agreements entered into
Jan – March
2010:
Programme starts up


[2] Such as the French development agency’s survey in seven African countries on experiences of support to TVSD in the informal sector including apprenticeships, World Bank studies, the ILO policy reviews, local surveys, and workshops on experiences etc.

Track Two: Linking university education, research and business in sustainable agriculture

Background

This initiative will help develop sustainable capacity for innovation and for high-quality tertiary education in support of national and regional agricultural policies and development, including AU-NEPAD’s CAADP. ³

Objective

The objective of the initiative is to promote innovation and entrepreneurship by increasing and strengthening collaboration between universities, research institutions and the private sector. Closer collaboration between higher edu cation, research and the private sector requires additional and a different capacity at universities. Supporting development of this capacity will therefore be a priority.

Strategic approach

Criteria for allocating support will include:

  • Sustainability of results in terms of capacity developed within agriculture including natural resource management
  • Gender balance in terms of beneficiaries
  • Incentives to retain qualified staff and help recruit from the African Diaspora.
  • The relevance of the proposal for fostering innovation and competitiveness along whole agricultural value chains to create sustainable growth, jobs for youths and reduce poverty
  • The depth, quality and contextual appropriateness of proposed changes in curricula and in teaching and learning methods and demonstrable feedback links with agricultural value chain actors to ensure suitability
  • Improving linkages between education, research and business in teaching and research, with a view to strengthening education, research and innovation
  • Care will be taken to ensure that poorly-resourced universities are not excluded
  • The activities must be part of comprehensive strategies for adopting value chain approaches
  • Research partnerships will be eligible but they must support education programmes
  • Collaboration with African and non-African institutions in other countries and regions
  • Arrangements for networking or twinning with international centres of excellence
  • Proposals to include arrangements for monitoring, evaluation and learning
  • Sound governance of the institutions or programmes to be supported and strengthened
  • Grants will be made on a competitiveness basis
  • Proposals must have co-funding from two or more sources

There will be a need to raise awareness and market the facility on the internet, at existing forums, workshops at national level, and so on. The facility will initially be restricted to institutions in a limited number of countries (three to five) depending on the available funding and the need to ensure that an effective and efficient programme is developed.

Grants would probably be in the range of USD 2 million over three to five years, possibly including support for the formulation of full proposals, based on the submission of concept notes for initial selection. In order to ensure dissemination and exchange of lessons learned from the institutes receiving the grants, an existing successful network will be supported or, if necessary, a new one established.

Activities

The initiative will take action within three areas:

Fostering agricultural innovation

Support will be provided to encourage and facilitate innovation in the private sector through establishing better linkages between universities, research and agro-businesses in addressing constraints and opportunities in agricultural value chains.

Activities will include:

  • Development and implementation of programmes for collaboration between universities, research institutions and the private sector that foster innovation, for example by supporting collaboration with existing businesses in research, facilitating business start-ups by graduates through establishing “innovation camps” at universities, or enabling universities to link-up with businesses in local communities and at national or regional levels. It is envisaged that this will involve holistic packages of supporting measures including assistance with the initial concept, financing, business skills, mentoring and access to knowledge and tools for self-learning; and support to inter-disciplinary and multi-agency research teams that include students, farmers and rural communities in action-oriented research and development projects
  • Engaging universities in agricultural development and, together with the CAADP, new thinking, and for investment in improved facilities
  • A number of PhD fellowship grants (gender-balanced) on topics that emphasise: Innovative problem-solving relevant to the needs of the rural poor; climate change mitigation; and sustainable economic growth

Improving agricultural teaching and learning at graduate and postgraduate levels
Support will be provided to enable universities to engage with research institutions and the private sector in developing improved, up-to-date and contextually relevant teaching and learning approaches, and resources for graduate and postgraduate programmes.

Activities will include:

  • Three-way university-research-business engagement in revising curricula
  • Development and implementation of improved open access teaching and learning resources for undergraduate and postgraduate programmes with the emphasis on: Problem-based learning; practical and experiential training with internships; agro-business; analytical skills; systems skills for teamwork relating to diverse stakeholders; and managing interdisciplinary and multi-institutional programmes that address emerging issues such as climate change, water scarcity and energy
  • There will be provision for PhD training with focus on strengthening understanding of and improving African agricultural value chains and innovation systems. These will be designed to strengthen the capacity of less well-resourced universities and women candidates in particular
  • The available resources will be leveraged through participation in Erasmus Mundus and other schemes in association with the Network of European Agricultural (tropically and sub-tropically oriented) Universities and Scientific Complexes Related with Agricultural Development (NATURA) and other networks

Exchanging experiences, resources and knowledge for agricultural development

Support will be provided to further develop and sustain one or more successful tertiary agricultural educational networks to extend collaboration beyond the member universities themselves. This will enable them to collaborate with agricultural research institutions and private enterprise firms.

Activities will include:

  • Strengthening a successful tertiary agricultural education network to facilitate the exchange of experiences and dissemination of knowledge. The aim is to promote change and sensitise recipients to the need for change and innovation
  • Sharing of human and physical resources to build critical mass in quantity and range of capacities to address critical issues, including improving teaching and learning and capacity to respond to challenges emerging from climate change and globalisation
  • Documenting experience and the impact of the supported programmes and exchanging lessons learned

Foto

Expected output

Output will include contextually appropriate education programmes at universities for BSc and MSc, based on modernised curricula and taking full advantage of e-learning and web-based teaching resources; more research programmes in collaboration with farmers and agro-business; increased use of research at farms and in agro-business; and greater contributions by universities, research institutes and private enterprises to African agricultural development. The integrated education-research-business triad will create feedback loops that will enrich each other and produce more relevant graduates who are able to start enterprises on their own and create employment and economic growth. These actions will encourage more African students to apply for agricultural courses as their first rather than, as at present, their last choice. It will also increase the number of graduates that become entrepreneurs which will be economically beneficial: Evidence shows that when graduates start their own business they employ more people than non-graduates do.

Process Action Plan
May – Sep
2009:
Finalisation of programme
documentation
May – July
2009:
Consultations with other
possible partners
Oct 2009: Final programme
documentation
Nov 2009: Agreements entered into
Jan – March
2010:
Programme starts up

Setup (management and organisation)

The facility will be managed by the FARA under agreement with the African Union Commission.

The board of FARA, which is comprised, amongst others, of representatives of the four African Sub-Regional Organisations for agricultural research, farmers’ organisations, and the Pan African Agro-business Consortium will be responsible for the overall strategies of the facility. The Programme Sub-Committee of FARA’s Executive Board, supplemented with a few relevant experts, will receive progress reports, approve work plans and decide on grant allocations based on competitive applications. To ensure quality assessments of the grant applications, the Programme Sub-Committee’s decisions will be informed by a peer-review mechanism, involving experts drawn from Africa and other regions.

Overall budget

A minimum budget of USD 20 million is envisaged. The funds will be provided by development partners (bilateral development partners, international organisations) and philanthropic funds.


[3] “Urgent action must be taken to restore the quality of graduate and postgraduate agricultural education in Africa” (Framework for African Agricultural Productivity, NEPAD 2006)




This page forms part of the publication 'Realising the Potential of Africa’s Youth' as chapter 20 of 25
Version 1.0. 09-06-2009
Publication may be found at the address http://www.netpublikationer.dk/um/9336/index.htm

 

 
 
 
 
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