7.2 Governance and Organisation
7.3 Planning and Research
7.4 Certification and Accreditation
7.5 Training for the Poor and Disadvantaged
7.6 Private Sector Training Provision
Comparing the VET system in Tanzania at the start of the economic reforms in 1986 and 12 years later in 1998, it is clear that major changes have occurred with respect to many aspects of VET provision. In particular, increased institutional autonomy coupled with increased cost recovery have made public sector training provision more demand-driven. A more enabling environment has also resulted in the rapid growth of for-profit private sector training centres. The VET Act created a new autonomous training agency financed by a training levy paid for by all registered enterprises. In the manufacturing sector, improved, more intensive training provision has played a critically important role in the restructuring process with impressive increases in labour productivity being recorded.
The depth of the fiscal crisis in Tanzania has been the major factor in forcing public sector training institutions to commercialise their training activities and ensuring that government gives them the autonomy to do so successfully. The role of donors has also been crucial in the overall process of VET reform. In particular, the high degree of donor-dependence of the NVTD was crucial in giving donors the necessary leverage to create VETA and introduce the training levy.
While very significant progress has been made in adjusting the VET system in order to meet the major skill requirements of a rapidly liberalising economy, it is equally clear that this process of adjustment is still far from complete and that, without very significant changes to current government and donor policies and practices, the skills that are vital for sustainable long term economic growth will not be forthcoming.
The major areas of concern are as follows:
· The creation of VETA and the current use of the training levy is unlikely to result in a demand-driven training system that responds efficiently and effectively to the training needs of enterprises, particularly in the formal sector.
· In the context of a low-income country such as Tanzania, the growth of private sector training provision will remain quite limited, at least in the short term. With no effective regulation of PSTIs, an unacceptably high proportion of the training provided is of a sub-standard quality.
· Faced with major cuts in government funding which have only been partially compensated for by increased cost recovery, enrolments at vocational training centres as well as the majority of the other ministry-based training centres have fallen during the 1990s and standards of training have also declined.
· While many enterprises have increased their level of training since the start of economic liberalisation, this response is not sufficient in order to attain the levels of labour productivity needed to become internationally competitive. The training response of tourist enterprises has been particularly weak.
· The government, strongly influenced by donors, is 'letting go' of the VET system too quickly which, given the limits to which VET provision can be privatised, will result in significantly lower levels of VET provision.
· The training needs of the poor, both in rural and urban areas, are not being adequately catered for. The poor cannot afford the course fees charged by for-profit PSTIs and public sector training intended to promote productive self-employment (particularly the post-primary technical centres) has collapsed. Not for profit, mainly church training centres are struggling to maintain current levels of provision in the face of declining financial support from donors, limited opportunities for income-generation, and growing competition from private secondary schools.
· Girls and women continue to be massively under-represented in all technical areas of training provision.
Important changes have also occurred in the VET system in Zimbabwe since the start of economic liberalisation in 1990. In particular, there has been very rapid growth in private sector training provision. Compared to Tanzania, however, there has been very little effort to reform public sector VET. In the face of large budget cuts, MOHE and most other ministry-based training centres have been unable to maintain training quality and the actual number of trainees has fallen considerably at a significant number of institutions.
As in Tanzania, it is equally clear that economic liberalisation on its own has not resulted in the creation of an effective and efficient demand-driven VET system. Public sector VET provision in Zimbabwe remains heavily supply-driven which is a consequence of centralised state control of training resources (especially the training levy), the general lack of interest and hence lack of involvement of other key stakeholders, and massive social demand for post-secondary VET. In striking contrast the situation in Tanzania, the government in Zimbabwe has not be prepared to relinquish its very tight control over the VET system. In many ways, this is surprising given the relatively large size and sophistication of the Zimbabwean economy which provides a much better basis for the creation of a genuine demand-driven training system.
There are also the same sets of concerns about the lack of training provision for the poor and the disadvantaged (particularly women and the disabled) and the uneven and, in overall terms, inadequate training response of enterprises.
The following discussion will briefly consider the main VET reforms that are still required in both countries in order to ensure that the skills necessary for successful economic and social development are forthcoming.
7.2.1 National Training Agency
The most important area of further reform in both countries is the creation of a properly functioning national training agency (NTA) which is truly national in scope and which, therefore, has a comprehensive mandate to facilitate skills development throughout the formal and informal sectors.
As the apex organisation in a truly national training system, the NTA should have overall responsibility for the planning and regulation of the VET system as a whole. In particular, the NTA should give government detailed advice on national training priorities and related (public) resource allocations. In order to establish a clear separation between the planning and funding of training and the actual provision of training activities, the NTA should not have direct responsibility for individual training institutions. It is for this reason that the national and regional vocational training centres in Tanzania should be separated from VETA and be funded and managed as autonomous training institutions within the Ministry of Labour.
The NTA itself should be an autonomous body. It should not be attached to any one ministry, but should be located in the Office of the President/Prime Minister. To be truly demand-driven, the governance structure of the NTA must be representative of all key stakeholders in the economy as a whole. Of overriding importance, employers must feel that they have a high degree of ownership otherwise it will be perceived as an essentially a government body that does not properly represent their interests and seek to meet their training needs. The same is true for training providers, both public and private. The interests of the poor and other disadvantaged groups must also be adequately represented. While government must also be represented especially in order to ensure that public resources are properly spent and accounted for, this does not mean that politicians and public servants should comprise a majority of the Board.
The experience of other countries shows that, while it is essential that power and resources over VET provision are devolved to employers and their organisations, government still has a critical role to play in ensuring that the requisite skills are available for sustainable long run growth. Relying entirely on the short term training demands from companies is likely to result in seriously sub-optimal provision. Consequently, the NTA must develop a comprehensive training strategy that, in particular, is able to identify the skills that are or will be needed in order to ensure the successful development of key sectors. Where these are not or are unlikely to be met by the private sector, it will be necessary to intervene.
7.2.2 Sectoralisation and Industry Lead Bodies
The governance and planning structures of the NTA need to be able to respond to the training needs of all the main economic sectors. Industry Training Committees should, therefore, to be established for all major industries or groups of related industries which have clear executive authority to plan and fund training programmes that meet the primary training needs of their member enterprises. The larger industry training committees will need to be supported by their own professional staff.
As public funding for enterprise-related VET continues to fall, the training levy will become the key resource for both pre-employment and job-related training. How the levy is utilised by NTA is, therefore, of paramount importance. Assessing all the competing demands on scarce levy resources will require effective planning and well functioning board and industry committees that are seen to reach decisions about training priorities and related resource allocations on the basis of sound technical analysis and deliberations that are transparent and fair. More than anything else, it is the lack of transparency in use of training levy and the effective monopolisation by public training institutions of the levy itself that is objected to by employers in both Tanzania and Zimbabwe. Only by allowing enterprises from all industries to utilise levy funds as they deem appropriate will it be possible to establish credibility in VETA and achieve the much higher levels of VET that are essential if these economies are to thrive in the future. Each Industry Training Committee must, therefore, have control over a significant share of the levy resources contributed by its members. Every enterprise should be requested to provide regular information about its priority training needs and how these could be met. This can then be assessed by the appropriate Industrial Training Committee and its professional staff and decisions made on which training should be approved, taking into account industry training priorities and availability of resources. But it should be up to each enterprise to decide who should deliver the training.
For larger, industry-wide training programmes, a process of open tendering would allow training providers, both public and private, to compete for this business. In this way, all training providers can compete against each other on a more or less level playing field, unlike the situation now, where VETA training centres and other public sector providers get the lion's share of public training resources.
7.2.3 Public Sector Training Institutions
Accelerating the pace of organisational reform among public sector training institutions is a top priority in both countries. There is a small minority of training centres in each country that are financially well supported by their parent organisations and/or have managed to obtain sufficient external support from industry and aid donors. However, for the large majority of training centres, it is clear that the rapid deterioration in the level of financial support during the 1990s has meant that they have been unable to maintain training standards and that, in key areas, the size of the overall training effort has contracted sharply.
The most obvious solution to what amounts to a training crisis in the public sector is to secure much improved funding from parent ministries for both pre- and in-service training activities. However, given the severity of the fiscal crises in each country, it is unrealistic to expect any significant reversals in the funding situation for VET, at least in the foreseeable future. Other, more far reaching reforms are, therefore, needed.
There are three types of organisational reforms that could be pursued, namely divestiture, the public sector agency model, and internal restructuring.
Divestiture: Where there already exists good quality and extensive private sector training provision, one obvious option is for government to go out 'into the market' and purchase the training services it requires. Public sector training centres in these areas should, where possible, be sold off or managed as going concerns to private sector operators. Where this is not feasible, these centres should be closed down and, where appropriate, land, buildings and other assets should be sold.
Established tendering procedures can be used for larger training contracts in order to ensure transparency and maximise competition. Given the size of public sector training requirements in areas such as computing, secretarial, and general administration and management, ministries and parastatals should be able to secure relatively low prices for training courses.
The Agency Model: The second option is to create semi-autonomous public sector training agencies along the lines of the School of Mines and ZIPAM in Tanzania and Dar Es Salaam Technical College in Tanzania. Each agency would have their own governing boards with effective representation for all key stakeholders and full management autonomy to establish their own policies and practices with respect to all key management functions including financing and conditions of service. Since government would no longer directly fund these training centres, they will have to generate all their own income by selling their training services to both public and private sector clients. This type of reorganisation tends to work well in those areas of training that are directly or closely linked to particular industries or sectors (e.g. mining, tourism, horticulture, telecommunications) and/or there is considerable private sector demand.
Internal Restructuring: The third option is for public sector training centres to remain directly under the control of their parent ministry or parastatal, but for incentives to be created that will encourage greater financial self-reliance and greater efficiency. In particular, Treasury regulations concerning the authority to retain incomes earned from additional training and consultancy activities as well as production activities need to be comprehensively revised. Formulae can be devised that will ensure an appropriate division of income earned between trainers, the training centre and the Treasury. Given the low levels of motivation that prevail, unless training staff are given the opportunity to increase significantly their incomes, there is little or no likelihood that training provision can be improved. This type of restructuring is particularly appropriate for those types of training provision where the public sector is the main clientele (e.g. agriculture extension, nursing).
A demand-driven training system is more information-intensive than the old supply-driven systems that relied on simplistic manpower planning models. While it is obviously important to monitor employers' training needs, reliance on surveys alone will not generate the information that is needed to plan effectively and efficiently. Ultimately, giving employers themselves control over training resources and letting them decide (both individually and, where appropriate, as an industry as a whole) what training they wish their employees to undertake is the best guarantee that the system is demand-driven and obviates the need to conduct time-consuming and ultimately fairly ineffective training needs surveys. Having said this, data on the current status of labour markets for precisely defined occupational groups is essential but, given the rudimentary labour statistics in most developing countries, this will require an enormous planning effort by NTAs in order to develop an operational training market information system. Developed countries do not have information system of this kind, so it seems unrealistic at this stage to expect countries such as Tanzania and Zimbabwe to develop one.
The best way forward is, therefore, to establish decentralised planning procedures that enable employers of all types to articulate their training needs, particularly with respect to job-related training for their workforce. Planning for pre-employment training will, of course, have to be done, but the temptation to focus too much of this type of training should be resisted. Planning capacity needs to be developed quickly in order to undertake rapid tracer surveys of appropriate cohorts of graduates of all types especially for those where there are signs that serious labour imbalances (either on the demand or supply side) exist. A lot more effort needs to be made to monitor what VET is actually being undertaken, especially by enterprises that take training seriously and also the for-profit private sector training centres because their training provision is clearly demand-driven (both in individuals and enterprises).
Strategic training needs clearly have to be catered for. However, it is important to recall that planning in the old VET system was driven by the perceived training needs of overly ambitious development strategies. While, therefore, it remains the responsibility of government to ensure that the necessary skills will be available in the future for activities that may not be in demand now, primary reliance should be placed on correctly interpreting current labour market signals for specific occupations and skills.
Between 25-30 percent of the working population in Zimbabwe and around 10 per cent in Tanzania are estimated to be infected with the AIDS virus. It is clear, therefore, that very careful thought needs to be given to how the training systems in these countries should respond to rapid increases in levels of attrition across the entire range of occupations.
The VET qualification systems in Tanzania and, to a slightly lesser extent, Zimbabwe are outdated and excessively segmented and therefore disjointed. The trade test system is particularly archaic and discredited. A national qualifications framework similar to one that has recently been introduced in South Africa and which is based on an unified, flexible system of qualifications that encourages individuals to improve their skills throughout their working lives and thus provides career-progression and the creation of a 'high skill-high participation' economy urgently needs to be introduced. The traditional professional-technician-artisan trichotomy no longer corresponds to the labour process of training providers in modern enterprises and institutional structure and qualification systems that perpetuate artificial occupational boundaries need to be replaced.
Accreditation is also another essential function of a national training agency. As was discussed in Chapter 2, neither country has the institutional capacity to register and inspect training providers in a timeous and professional manner, especially training outside its traditional areas of provision viz the traditional manual trades. Establishing this capacity quickly especially in the key growth industries (tourism, mining, financial services, etc.) is critical if the private sector is to develop properly. Some decentralisation of these functions may be possible for the more common areas of training (computing, secretarial and the basic manual trades) but in small economies, a fairly high degree of centralisation is unavoidable for more specialist, industry-specific training.
NTAs should take the lead in establishing a coherent strategy for training of microenterprise entrepreneurs who generally have a low perception of their training needs (especially in relation to other business priorities). However, properly targeted training can result in significant improvements in productivity and income earning capacities among these type of enterprises. Thus, on both equity and efficiency grounds, there is a strong case to be made for redistributing public resources for training towards poorer producers in both the rural and informal sectors. PSTIs, but especially NGOs, are well placed to provide relevant, usually low cost training.
Most microenterprises are not registered and, therefore, do not pay the training levy. However, they employ the bulk of workforce in Tanzania and government has a clear responsibility to support human resources development in this sector. One possible course of action is, therefore, the establishment of a Microenterprise Training Committee with its own professional support staff. Each NTA must decide how much of the training levy should be allocated to microenterprise training. A strongly pro-poor training strategy would certainly devote at least one-third of training levy contributions to help promote skill development among the poor.
Clearly, government and donors should provide additional funding for microenterprise training which, like the other industrial training committees, will need to institute competitive tendering for major training contracts. Since training on its own is rarely sufficient, the Microenterprise Training Committee will have to work with other agencies (credit, technical assistance) in order to ensure that the training provided is properly integrated in the right package of services and other inputs.
As noted earlier, women remain heavily under-represented at most public sector training centres in Tanzania and Zimbabwe. VETA has gone the furthest in introducing an effective affirmative action policy, but the share of women students at VETA training centres was still only around in 1997. With a comprehensive national mandate for VET, each NTA should be in a good position to introduce a range of affirmative action measures (in particular quotas and lower entry qualification requirements) that will result in significant increases in female enrolments.
7.6.1 Registration and Inspection
The current registration and subsequent inspection of PSTIs needs to be considerably strengthened in each country. Registration processes are unwieldy, lack rigour, and generally take far too long to complete. Once registered, PSTIs are rarely visited by the designated officials. There is no meaningful process of inspections that would ensure that minimum training standards are being maintained and that would provide professional advice and, where necessary, resources to improve training provision. Large numbers of PSTIs continue to operate illegally in both countries.
On its own, the market is a poor regulator of private sector training mainly because the demand for training is so high and information about the costs and examination performance of PSTIs so scarce. Furthermore, most professional institutes and other examination bodies have no effective procedures for accreditation of local PSTIs.
A separate division of the NTA should have responsibility for monitoring and improving training standards in both public and private training institutions. Small regional teams also need to be established with the appropriate professional expertise to register, inspect and provide advice to a training institutions.
Concerted efforts need to made to control effectively non-registered PSTIs, especially those that are for-profit. There is also a significant amount of training by NGOs which is usually free. Nonetheless, it is still important that these activities are registered in some way and are monitored on a regular basis. At present, government and other major stakeholders know virtually nothing about the training activities of NGOs and are, therefore, unable to provide support for priority areas.
7.6.2 Market Information
Improving the quality and overall availability of information about training costs and examination performance of PSTIs is likely to be a very cost-effective measure for improving the quality of private sector training provision in Tanzania and particularly Zimbabwe. At present, training markets function very imperfectly because the relevant information needed by consumers to make informed choices about which course to take and which institution to attend is generally not available. It is important, therefore, that government takes the initiative and obliges PSTIs as well as public training institutions to provide at least annually information about the tuition fees, enrolments, and examination pass rates for courses that they offer.
7.6.3 Local and Overseas Courses
Economic liberalisation has dramatically opened up vocational training markets to foreign competition in Zimbabwe and, to a lesser extent, in Tanzania. Foreign courses and qualifications are strongly preferred by both individual and corporate clients of PSTIs in virtually all subject areas. It is entirely healthy that individuals and training institutions themselves are able to choose between the different training services of competing professional institutes and other examination bodies. Having to rely on one sub-standard qualification would be very undesirable.
7.6.4 Staff Development
Urgent action needs to be taken to improve the quality of instructors, both full and part-time, employed by PSTIs. Proprietors have little or no incentive to improve the subject knowledge and pedagogical skills of their staff. Turnover is very high and the majority of instructors are only part-time.
Effective inspections should identify the main areas where individual instructors need to improve their skills. It is important, therefore, that properly accredited, modular-based, short training courses are available that directly address the most common areas of skill deficiency. Contracts for training PSTI instructors should be awarded by the NTA on a competitive tender basis. When selecting PSTIs to undertake publicly funded training, strong preference should be given to training centres that have instructors who have completed these training of trainers courses.