Vocational training and education changed forever due to the pandemic

17 Jun 2021

A complete return to pre-pandemic TVET policy and practice is unlikely, says a new report by the Association of Colleges released today at the British Council’s international education conference Going Global.

The report from the British Council and authored by the Association of Colleges outlines how international technical and vocational education and training (TVET) is innovating and changing as a result of the challenges and opportunities presented by the pandemic. 

Based on research across five countries (Ghana, India, Malaysia, South Africa and the UK), the report How are vocational institutions innovating, evolving and changing as result of Covid-19? sets out key observations for digital transformation, curriculum development and work-based learning.  

Findings from the study of practice and perspectives in the five countries include:

  • Only 6% of institutions say they will maintain pure face-to-face teaching delivery 
  • 9 in 10 had to change their institutional policies since the onset of Covid-19
  • Just under half made changes to their assessment methods for the future. 

Change that was initially implemented as an emergency response to lockdowns and campus closures has generated efficient and sustainable practices that suggest a complete return to pre-pandemic TVET policy and practice is unlikely. The report provides recommendations for both TVET policy-makers and practitioners to solidify temporary changes into more permanent policy in areas such as blended learning and the upskilling of teaching staff. 

The report also highlights that TVET is vital for international social and economic advancement and that changes in institutional practice could have lasting long-term benefits. However, pre-Covid-19 challenges in TVET remain, particularly around student inclusion. TVET plays a fundamental role in the skills infrastructure of all five countries cited in the report and the impact of the pandemic between technology, staff, students, employers and the curriculum provide an opportunity for policymakers and governments to reflect on the impact of digital transformation in TVET.

Dr Rossi Vogler, Senior Consultant Skills Systems, British Council, said:

“The British Council is pleased to present its latest research findings to policy-makers and practitioners to support the TVET reform in the aftermath of Covid-19 and to encourage international collaboration. The report gives encouraging indications that emerging innovation can contribute to reinvigorating TVET and contribute to a more resilient skills sector in the future, a sector so crucial for the post pandemic recovery and for economic prosperity and social inclusion more generally.”

Emma Meredith, International Director, Association of Colleges said: 

“The presence of Covid-19 across the world has brought immense challenges but also innovation within education and training. The move to remote learning and shift in practices has allowed institutions to experiment and evolve and to raise the profile of TVET both locally and nationally. Policymakers and practitioners should incorporate the recommendations set out in this report in their recovery programmes and long-term strategy for TVET.” 

You can read the full report here.