10th ADEA-WGHE/AAU Webinar: Informal Technical and Vocational Education and Training System: Lessons for Skilling Africa

For years, most African countries have focused the majority of their reforms in skills development using the formal system of the technical and vocational education and training (TVET). By so doing, they have neglected the other systems of skills development: the informal and non-formal systems. However, the context in training and skills development is changing. A better understanding of the challenges remaining in skilling Africa has changed the perception on informal TVET.

Among the challenges faced by skills development in Africa, there is the very limited access to formal TVET with training centers often located in major cities, poor infrastructure which cannot accommodate the high out flow of school youth (illiterate and drop-outs). With the limited access offered by formal TVET ranging from 1 to 12%, it is recognized that in some countries, the informal and the non-formal systems train more than 80% of the youth (African Union, 2013). As huge providers of workers, the systems should be taken into account.

Furthermore, there is a mismatch between skills acquired in the formal training and skills needs of the labor market, with a low rate of transition between training and employment. The reasons are known: the nature of the African economy with the predominance of the informal sector which employs more than 80% of the labour force; and the inability to predict labour market needs (African Union, 2013).

Lessons on the Informal TVET System 

The informal TVET system has several assets. Training processes and environment are mostly comfortable and familiar to the apprentice/learner, most especially the use of the national languages, and more accessible training cost for families. Self-employment rate is higher than in the formal system.

A lot of reforms in informal TVET have already been initiated, especially, in West Africa.  They focus on the renovation of traditional apprenticeship with the introduction of “the dual system”, public-private partnership in reforming the informal training system, and the search of quality in certification. In Ghana, 85 % of the workers state that they have acquired their skills either through the informal training system or directly on the job (African Union, 2013). The Council for Vocational and Technical Training (COTVET) has implemented several of reforms focusing on quality and lifelong learning. In Benin, the government and stakeholders have started reforming the traditional apprenticeship since 2001 with the implementation of a strong partnership of master-craftsmen and professional bodies and the introduction of two certifications: one for renovated apprenticeship and the other for traditional apprenticeship enabling apprentices to sit for their exams in the national languages.

Way Forward

Despite the existence of these reforms, the informal TVET system is still confronted with many challenges. There is a need to focus on quality, on access to include neglected populations and, more importantly, on integration into the labour market. Effective measures should be envisaged in these areas.


The objectives of this webinar are:

  1. Present the challenges facing skills development in Africa;
  2. Highlight the potentials of the informal TVET system in providing skills;
  3. Describe some of the reforms in the informal TVET system using two case-studies (i.e. Ghana and Benin);
  4. Analyze the results of these reforms and discuss effective conditions to ensure that skills development in the informal system become a real driver for sustainable economic growth.

Expected outputs

The expected outputs of this webinar are:

  1. A better understanding of the potentials for skills development in informal TVET;
  2. Highlighting of the conditions for the informal TVET system to become a real driver for sustainable economic growth in Africa.


The deliverables of the webinar are:

  1. Presentation;
  2. Interaction with various participants and stakeholders; 
  3. Lessons learned from the presentation as well as the questions and answer (Q/A) session.

Information on the webinar presentation

Date: Thursday, 18th May, 2017

Time: 12:00 GMT

Venue: Online (Adobe Connect Platform) 

Language: French

Organizers:  This Webinar is organized by the Association for Development of Education in Africa (ADEA) through its Working Group on Higher Education (WGHE), hosted by the Association of African Universities (AAU).

Target audience                                                                                 

This webinar is open to all - most especially , Technical and Vocational Divisions of the various Ministries of Education in Africa,  African Union Commission’ TVET Expert Group , ADEA-Working Group on Non-Formal Education (WGNFE), Heads and Staff of Technical Universities and Vocational and Technical Institutions in Africa, Non-Governmental Organizations, African Diaspora, Private sector, Youth Organizations, and others.

How to participate                                                                             

  1. Register at www.aau.org/webinars
  2. Webinar will be livestreamed on: https://meet53484183.adobeconnect.com/wghetalks
  3. Make sure you have Adobe flash player installed on your device (computer, smartphones etc.)

Live Tweeting and Event Hashtag:

  1. Join the conversation following #WGHETalks and share your comments and questions.
  2. Follow the webinar via our social media channels:

AAU  @AAU_67      |    AAU  AAU    |    ADEA  @ADEAnet    |    ADEA  ADEAnet

For any further information, please contact the following phone numbers for assistance:

(+233) 302.77.44.95/ 71.55.88, (+233) or email us at kasam@aau.org and ndhlamini@aau.org

Webinar presenter: Dr. Ayele M. Adubra

Dr. Ayele M. Adubra is a technical and vocational skills development specialist who has worked with many international organizations (e.g. the African Development Bank Group (AfDB); ADEA; Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC); UNESCO and USAID).

Her expertise is in the design, implementation and evaluation of technical and vocational skills development policies and programs. She has also worked as a teacher and teacher trainer and served as a school inspector in the Ministry of Technical and Vocational Education, in Togo for over 15 years.

She is a member of the African Union TVET Working Group and the World Bank Partnership for skills in Applied Science, Engineering and Technology (PASET) Consultative Advisory Group.

She holds a Ph.D. in Workforce Education and Development from Pennsylvania State University (USA).