Taking a systems-thinking approach, the NIRAS-led Social Perception Project is looking at innovative ways to turn around out-dated TVET attitudes
Earlier last month, 89 participants from ten stakeholder groups gathered to participate in a “whole-system-in-the-room” (WSR) retreat hosted by the TVET Egypt Programme and the Social Perception Project (SPP) on the North Coast of Egypt in the Alexandria Governorate. They were there with one purpose in mind: to collectively determine their common goals to improve the perception of the country's technical and vocational education and training (TVET) sector.
Co-funded by the European Union and the Egyptian Government, TVET Egypt aims to provide technical and financial support to the social and economic environment in the North African nation through the development of a strong TVET programme. Reform is necessary for the sector to thrive. Implemented by NIRAS, SPP was established to overcome entrenched negative perceptions about the TVET ecosystem in Egypt. While TVET is generally perceived as useful and provides an added value to its graduates of TVET institutions, many Egyptians agree for the most part that there are issues, factors, and characteristics that contribute to shaping the negative image within the society. Some include lack of practical training during years of education, lack of modern equipment and tools, old curricula, low salaries and lack of good opportunities, and mismatch of technical vocational training to market needs.
The private sector stakeholder group discussing what they are willing to do in the coming three months and three years to pursue the common goals
Participants in the WSR retreat included the most influential players with an impact on the social perception of Egypt’s TVET ecosystem.
“Successfully reforming the TVET sector and improving social perceptions requires the responsibility of all players within the system, not just the traditional actors,” explains Patrick Papania from the SPP. “Everyone has a role to play, and everyone needs to be at the table when decisions are being made.”
The WSR retreat used a systems approach to build partnerships within the ecosystem to address social perceptions of TVET. The goal was for the entire sector to participate in the decision-making process and ownership of collaborative actions to transform current negative attitudes.
Starting in the past, the retreat took participants on a journey whereby they listed main milestones that impacted perceptions about the TVET sector and skilled labor generally from three perspectives: personal, local, and global. This included current trends that continue to have an influence. Participants also collectively envisioned the TVET sector ten years down the road as a way of exploring desired future scenarios.
Throughout the self-managed exercises, the WSR encouraged participants to understand where they could reach an agreement and how they would tackle the challenges. After a successful 12 hours of exercises about the past, present, and future of the sector, ten common goals were established to address social perceptions about TVET over the coming years, constituting a National Strategy that was agreed by everyone present.
In concrete terms, participants created collaborative work plans broken into 3-month periods, which SPP will use to enhance the Perception Campaign being launched in the coming months.
The whole system is in the room, diverse stakeholders representing 10 stakeholder groups gathered in the main hall for the 16-hour collaborative work planning retreat
More information can be found at this link (in Arabic).
The policy dialogue was organised as part of the EU-funded project entitled “Development and Implementation of a National Strategy and Action Plan for Improving the Image and Social Perception of TVET in Egypt” which started in in 2017 and will run until December 2019. The project, implemented by NIRAS, has a contract value of EUR 2,363,480.