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Message from Head of UNEVOC Network
Dear Network colleagues,
The deadline for the Education for All goal in 2015 is approaching, and as the economic crisis in the developed world threatens global progress, in all our institutions (at government and national level, in our different national bodies, training and research institutions) we need to ensure that we are providing the right mix of skills and we are maximising their use so that employment and economic growth can be boosted and social inclusion promoted.
It is more important than ever for the UNEVOC Network to engage in serious policy dialogue at national level so that schools, universities and training institutions do not “produce” graduates who do not have the skills needed to enter the employment markets. All of us, who are in positions to make a difference, need to ensure that the chronic misalignment of the education and training system and employment markets stops.
Countries need their policy makers, advisers and technicians, those who are at the head of training institutions, to propose credible strategies for linking skills development in education and training to the promotion of new growth sectors in an increasingly knowledge-based global economy, for developing basic competencies and flexible skills associated with problem-solving. All of us who are linked to providing education and training, especially in the UNEVOC Network, have to influence the political and economic agenda so that there is a shift from education systems geared towards a public sector job to productive and entrepreneurial employment. We should not remain complacent and shirk our responsibilities.
Promoting learning for work and life needs to be high on the agenda, both nationally and internationally. Investment in skills (both specific and generic) that promote employability are necessary to boost economic growth and facilitate the (re)integration of individuals into the labour market. The UNEVOC Network has an important role to play in national, regional and international debates so that governments ensure that expenditures on skills formation are efficient and effective and appropriately shared between public and private sectors.
Above all, we need to ensure that generic skills are not limited to a minimalist view but rather include attitudes, knowledge, attributes and capacities to enable the individual to successfully and consistently perform activities or tasks, whether broadly or narrowly conceived, and that can be built upon and extended, in a perspective of lifelong learning and employability. Generic work-related skills also belong to emerging critical skills as they enable people to adapt in various situations of work besides job-specific requirements. In this regard, we need to foster a holistic and inclusive approach of education and training, shifting from a supply-based to a demand-led approach and taking into account socio-economic situations of learners.