Abuja, Dec. 10, 2018 (NAN) The UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) on Monday urged member countries of ECOWAS to adopt a unified National Qualification Framework (NQF) to accommodate formal and informal workers.
The Regional Director of UNESCO, Mr Yao Ydo, made the call in Abuja, Nigeria at a two-day technical regional workshop on National Qualification Frameworks (NQFs) in the ECOWAS region.
Ydo said that the NQF was an initiative of ECOWAS, UNESCO, International Labour Organisation (ILO) and other partners to ensure that countries in the region had a criterion to identify different qualifications and a reference of certification for informal jobs.
He said that the adoption of the unified and regional qualification system would enable citizens of ECOWAS member countries to work in sister countries without any form of restriction.
« The NQFs encourage countries to make sure that every type of work done has a reference and certification, with a known degree or diploma.
« The NQFs enable a regional certification. In 2020, ECOWAS wants to migrate from an economic community to an ECOWAS of People.
« This means that the unified qualification system will allow mobility of students, teachers, for instance.
« If we have the same reference for training, certification in the entire region; it will make the mobility of employment, qualification in Africa easier, » he said.
Besides, the regional director said that the qualification framework would enable civil servants and skilled workers to have an opportunity to certify their skills and competencies, while working as professionals.
« In Africa, we have many people who learn skills like masonry, carpentry, car mechanics who don’t go to schools but are skilled in those fields.
« When these people are employed, they are not employed at their value; they are just employed informally.
« If these people are formally employed, it could help them plan themselves, » Ydo added.
Also speaking, Mr Emile Tanawa, the Director of Francophonie Institute for Education and Training, said that ECOWAS countries needed a common ground for people to work in the region.
Tanawa said that the emphasis was, however, placed on Technology Vocational Educational Training (TVET) as well as women and girls.
« We are joining ILO, UNESCO to make sure we have, at the end of the meeting, some key tools that can allow different ECOWAS countries to work together.
« The common tools will improve the quality of TVET in our countries.
« We are working to improve the circulation of qualification among our people and for that reason; we need to have common languages, common tools to improve our vocational training.
« ECOWAS countries need to share common methodology to improve education, especially for women and girls, » Tanawa said.
Mr Adeyeye Odunayo, an Assistant Director in the Federal Ministry of Education, said the Federal Government had been encouraging the youth to embrace TVET.
« TVET is meant for the youth, it is aimed at developing every individual technologically and at the end of the programme, every individual will be self-reliant even without having white-collar jobs, » he said.
Besides, Odunayo said that the Federal Government was also upgrading the curriculum of science and technology education, adding that the outcome of the exercise would be made public soon.
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the NQFs workshop was initially organised in Dakar, Senegal, in June and the forum then highlighted the complexity of conducting certification system reforms.
The reforms involve the necessary combination of technical, conceptual and policy actions as well as the importance of regional cooperation as a driver of change. (NAN)