Enhancing TVET Financing Mechanisms in the Arab Region with UNESCO

In today’s Arab world, the employment and labour market conditions have remained challenging over the years. As the region is confronted with volatile socio-political unrests, armed conflicts, humanitarian crises, and population displacement, the fragility and volatility in societies impact the vulnerable groups of the population, particularly the youth. They experience labour market barriers that impede their ability and potential to engage in productive activities, and TVET is always regarded as a powerful tool to prepare people for the labour market and provide lifelong learning opportunities.

As part of its endeavors to enhance the capacity of all relevant stakeholders to strengthen TVET financing, the UNESCO Beirut Office organized an Online Capacity Building Workshop of Financing Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) in the Arab Region from November 9th to 10th, 2021. The workshop welcomed around 40 participants coming from 13 countries in the Arab region.

Despite the national and international priorities for skills development in the region, TVET remains significantly underfunded today, facing many challenges, such as system fragmentation, outdated infrastructure at TVET schools/institutions, low participation of private sectors, limited compatibility between the TVET programmes and labour market needs, programmes and curricula are thus become obsolete and relatively underdeveloped to labour market requirements, and are generally characterized by a low or poor response to changes and technical developments in the labour market. Regarding its close connection with variations in population and labour markets, TVET systems need to change and adapt to these developments. Financing plays an essential role to achieve this goal, and it does not only matter how many resources are required; there also tends to figure out how to allocate and diversify the funds.

The session was opened by Salim Shehadeh, TVET programme specialist at UNESCO, with a brief introduction on the overall programme and current situation of TVET financing in the Arab region. It was followed by Mr. Martino Rubal Maseda’s presentation on alternative sources of finance for TVET and the main findings of the research. The two-day event also highlighted the in-depth discussion on funding mechanisms and income generation on TVET in the Arab region. Ms. Marie Dorleans from the European Training Foundation (ETF) presented the topic of formula funding, and Mr. Ahmed El-Ashmawi from Egypt discussed the example of private sectors’ involvement in the TVET.

Over the course of the two days, participants from different countries actively discussed and raised the dilemmas of TVET financing, including providing with new funding mechanisms to increase training suitability. All the discussions will be integrated into the Report of Financing TVET in the Arab Region, which is currently being written by the UNESCO’s consultant, Mr. Martino Rubal Maseda. The Report is anticipated to be published in the coming year, as UNESCO continues to collaborate with the member states in the Arab region on enhancing and strengthening the TVET systems.