To Vocationalize or Not to Vocationalize? Perspectives on Current Trends and Issues on TVET in Africa

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Forty years ago, Philip Foster exploded the vocational school myth in Africa. He argued that ‘it might be more fruitful to encourage small-scale vocational training schemes closely associated with the actual ongoing developments and quite divorced from the formal educational system’ (Foster, 1965, p. 154). He even recommended that ‘the burdens of vocational training should be shifted to those groups who are actually demanding skilled labour of various types’ (p. 158). Many writers have continued to address the issue of vocationalization in various contexts (see e.g. Heyneman, 1979, 1986, 1987, 1997; Neuman & Ziderman, 2003; Gill & Leigh, 2004; Hawley, 2003; Middleton, Ziderman & Adams, 1993; Blaug, 1973; Pscharopoulos, 1997; Green, 1998; Ngome, 1992; King & Martin, 2002; Wilson, 2001, 2005;Wolf, 2002) and many of the arguments in support of technical and vocational education and training continue to be based on the assumption that vocational training is more useful for job entry than general education.