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Skills needed for work and life

By Abhimanyu Singh (

09:29, May 16, 2012

"Building Skills for Life and Work: China gears up for Shanghai World Congress"

The Third International Congress on Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) opens in Shanghai on May 14. Convened by UNESCO in partnership with international development partners, it will bring together about 800 delegates from UNESCO's 195 member states representing a wide range of stakeholders including ministries of education, labor, finance and health; international organizations, the private sector, employee organizations, trade unions, academia, youth and civil society. The participants reflect the multi-dimensional nature of the challenge of reforming TVET at a time when skills and employment have become a leading policy concern worldwide.

Thirteen years after the Second International Congress in Seoul in 1999, the Shanghai Congress comes at a time when there is strong demand for upgrading skills, acquiring new ones, and improving linkages between learning and work in the face of demographic shifts, rapid labor market changes and youth unemployment in many countries. The uncertain global economic conditions have heightened the need to transform TVET systems to make them more responsive.

The central focus of the Congress is on how to transform and expand TVET to ensure that all young people and adults can develop the skills needed for work and life. The Congress will provide a unique platform for the sharing of knowledge, best practices and innovative ideas and charting new directions for transforming TVET systems.

In preparation for the Congress, UNESCO has organized several regional and global consultations. UNESCO will launch the World TVET Report and World Database on TVET to provide an important resource for policymakers, practitioners and specialists.

China has earned the distinction of hosting the World Congress through its impressive achievements in expanding and modernizing its vocational education system in tune with its development model. The TVET system has expanded since reform and opening-up was launched in 1978 and played a key role in the development of the country.

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