Translating GESI Policy Objectives into Reality and Action
Enabling policies and a regulatory environment for inclusive VET and targeted active labour market measures for disadvantaged are critical pre-conditions for transformative change. However, how effectively are these policies and groups interventions translated into projects and practice? How successful are governments when introducing targeted interventions, quota or incentives? And how can projects bring about change when collaborating with training providers, the business sector and specialised organisations?
To translate and implement equity and social justice in dual VET projects and to achieve the desired impact, multi-level interventions are required. The government has a pivotal role in providing an enabling environment and acting as positive driver for GESI. Therefore the efforts need to include sensitising the political leadership and providing support to develop GESI sensitive and enabling policies and legislations (ILO, 2011). The following examples provide insights how governments take measures towards more inclusive VET systems:
- South Africa – equality and social inclusion policies: The National Skills Development Strategy (NSDS) identifies the main areas to allocate the skills levy with the aim to improve access to training opportunities and reduce inequities linked to class, race, gender, age and disability (ILO, 2017: Skills for Employment).
- Bahamas – expansion of access to VET for disadvantaged and remotely based students and women by fostering remote access to training and IT industry-based certifications (Robertson, 2020).
- India – skills council for persons with disability: The council involves the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, the National Skill Development Corporation and the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII). It focuses on setting standards and arranging industry relevant skills training for persons with disabilities, assigning employers of persons with disabilities with direct influence on training policy (India: Skill Council for Persons with Disability).
- Bangladesh – national skills development policy (NSDP): The NSDP puts women’s economic empowerment and the inclusion of minorities and people with disability in the centre of the skills reform process. The recommendations of the NSDP include an access quote of 40% for girls and 5% for persons with disabilities at all VET institutions, the provision of stipends, accommodation and transportation when necessary and the design of accessible training institutes and reasonable accommodation (ILO, 2021: Disability Inclusion in the Bangladesh Skill System).
DC dVET BarCamp & Further Resources: How can development cooperation support governments in realizing inclusive (dual) VET?
During the 2nd DC dVET BarCamp on “Translating GESI policy objectives into reality and action in dual VET cooperation projects” the following aspects were highlighted amongst others:
- Address the nexus between politics (political will), policy (vision/strategy) and programme (realisation) simultaneously: Implementing multi-level interventions – raising political awareness and will, fostering a dialogue to move towards an enabling environment, effective policies and legislations as well as allocating adequate resources to actually be able to implement the policies with the required results.
- Use GESI guides and tools throughout the project cycle to identify barriers, design projects, select sectors, identify partners, build teams and implement and monitor projects.
- Address stereotypes and sensitise all actors about key principles of GESI and barriers faced by women and other disadvantaged groups at all levels to affect how public and private sector employers recruit, train and retrain students and staff, how resources are allocated for a safe learning environment and how learners join the labour market.
- Encourage collaboration and partnerships with and between stakeholders so that specific barriers faced by women and disadvantaged groups are more likely addressed and lead to more effective and self-sustaining initiatives. Without due attention to both supply and demand and goal-oriented collaboration, initiatives aimed at changing the composition of a workforce might be ineffective.
- Both, targeted interventions and mainstreaming GESI are required to ensure that GESI in dual VET is truly incorporated. Quota and targeted interventions can accelerate progress and ensure that the barriers for specific groups are effectively addressed with the support from partner organizations and provision of additional support measures (see e.g. GIZ-ASPYEE; GIZ-ATVET; GIZ-STEP IT UP; SDC, 2015; UNESCO-UNEVOC-STEM/ITC).
- Address potential barriers and exclusion pro-actively across the whole training process to increase access, avoid dropouts and reach better labour market outcomes.
- Measure progress and communicating learnings and good case practices are critical for sensitization and encourage others to engage (companies, instructors, apprentices).
For more in-depth information on the keynote by Dr. Usha Bhandari (SDC Nepal) and discussions during the exchange sessions please consult the following resources:
Further resources from DC dVET members, other donors and organisations and projects:
Today, donor agencies, including the DC dVET members ADA, BMZ, LED and SDC and their implementation partners actively promote GESI in their policy dialogue and projects and have developed a rich inventory of comprehensive policy documents, guides and tools, particularly for gender equality but increasingly for social inclusion. They are used for designing and implementing and monitoring GESI progress impact in (dual) VET and labour market integration programs. There is a wide range of policy documents and resources available: