Transforming TVET: Building skills for work and life

Third International TVET Congress, Shanghai, China, 13-16 May 2012

The first International TVET Congress in Berlin in 1987 and the Second International Congress on TVET held in Seoul, Republic of Korea, constituted crucial moments for the international TVET community. Building on these milestones and the UNESCO Strategy for TVET which was approved by the UNESCO General Conference in 2009, the 3rd International Congress on TVET was organized to take stock of the developments since Seoul, and aimed to identify and discuss current and future challenges facing the TVET sub-sector and explore appropriate responses; build better understanding of and share knowledge on improving the contributions of TVET to sustainable development; and inform perspectives for international cooperation in the field and define strategic directions for future work and support to TVET at national, regional and international levels.

UNESCO organized the Congress in collaboration with the International Labour Organisation (ILO), the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the World Bank and the World Health Organization (WHO), as well as the European Training Foundation (ETF), the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the African Development Bank (AFDB) and the Association for the Development of Education in Africa (ADEA).

The Congress provided a unique global platform for almost 800 practitioners, experts and policy makers from around the world to share knowledge and reflection on the future of TVET. During the Congress, UNESCO Secretary General Irina Bokova stated that "too few young people and adults are gaining the skills, knowledge and attitudes they need to find decent employment in today's rapidly changing job market, where the capacity to learn and adapt is essential. This is a top political concern everywhere and it calls for concerted policies."

During the Congress, spanning over 3 days, various plenary, special and roundtables sessions were held on a wide range of topics related to global TVET development. Alongside the main activities, Microsoft organized the Education Leaders Forum, hosted jointly by UNESCO, UNESCO-UNEVOC, Microsoft, Nokia, Promethean and the Open University, which brought together education policy makers, experts and technology industry representatives for a regional debate on the opportunities and challenges related to ICT and TVET.

On Thursday 17 May 2012, a post-Congress meeting was held that brought together some 20 UNEVOC Centres from all parts of the world at a special UNEVOC Network meeting. During the meeting, the representatives of the UNEVOC Centres discussed how to encourage and further promote the development of TVET systems in UNESCO Member States; how to develop the capacities of UNEVOC Centres and associated TVET practitioners to serve the TVET community; and how to share knowledge, know-how and competencies through good practices and innovation in TVET.

As a result of the Congress, a new vision for TVET as a quality learning option should emerge. The recommendations that were agreed during the Congress provide directions regarding areas in which policy dialogue and capacity building are required by Member States at the national, regional and international levels.

Shanghai Consensus: Recommendations of the Third International Congress on TVET

Other links

UNESCOPRESS on 3rd Congress

Main working document (English)

3rd TVET Congress website with agenda, presentations and other useful documents

Video interview with Qian Tang, Assistant Director-General for Education

Photo gallery Education Leaders Forum



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page date 2012-07-23

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