Human migration and TVET

Wedekind, Volker; Fakoush, Haya and Alla-Mensah, Joyceline (2019). Human migration and TVET. UNESCO-UNEVOC, UNESCO-UNEVOC TVET online library.



In the context of increased international migration, the importance of education and training and a global governance of migration is widely acknowledged in academic and international development debates.
However, immigration debates and the governance of migration are plagued with divisions and disagreements regarding the benefits and the costs of migration for migrants, origin and host countries.
Although some are of the view that migration needs to be prevented, others note the need to better manage migration to minimise the costs while maximizing the benefits. Irrespective of these arguments, migration will continue to be prominent with increased conflicts, natural disasters, strained economies and development. An analysis of the relationship between migration and technical and vocational education
and training (TVET) is therefore needed to enhance the role that TVET can play in mitigating the causes and tackling the effects of migration.
The first part of this discussion paper describes the scale of migration and distinguishes between three types of migration: forced, labour and environmental migration. The underlying causes of the three types
of migration, in addition to the peculiar issues that pertain to each are analysed. The main findings in this section are:
• Migration is multi-causal and needs to be addressed holistically. However, an understanding of the drivers pertaining to each type of migration is necessary to comprehend the role of TVET.
• The refugee population has increased by about 65% in the last 5 years and by the end of 2016 the number of refugees reached 22.5 million. The majority of refugees reside in developing countries which adds pressure to already strained public systems.
• Quantifying the scale of irregular migrants is a challenge conceptually and methodologically. This hinders their support and protection by states and international humanitarian agencies.
• An estimated 2.8 million asylum seekers are awaiting decision. With some exceptions, most host countries do not grant asylum seekers access to education or the right to work until their status is confirmed.
• Increased changes in the biophysical environment have the potential to drive irregular internal and international migration. Therefore, international agreement on the definition and recognition of environmental migrants is necessary to estimate the scale of those affected and to address their needs.
• Labour migrants constitute the majority of international migrants. In 2013, they numbered about 150 million, slightly below two-thirds of the total number of international migrants, which was 232 million.
While this presents an opportunity for countries with aging populations, it raises implications for TVET and the recognition of skills.
The second part of this discussion paper describes some of the consequences of migration for migrants, host and origin countries. It concludes that migrants are bound by barriers that result from their migrant status.Mental health challenges, legal constraints, education and training obstacles and labour market barriers are discussed. In addition, the implications of migration for TVET and its organization in host and home countries are outlined. The main findings are:
• The recognition of prior learning and the articulation of qualifications across national systems is a mechanism for facilitating migration. Developing stronger international mechanisms, but also deepening
cross-system understanding is essential, as is the ability to offer flexible courses that address specific gaps.
• The mental health of migrants is important for their education, training and social integration, although support for this is limited in refugee camps and educational institutions where they are mostly
• More funding is needed to provide adequate teacher training and support for providers who are often overwhelmed by the increased responsibility associated with migration.
• While it is often taken for granted that teachers will be able to handle diverse students, it is found that they often lack understanding of intercultural education.
• Vocational education and training opportunities for adult migrants in current dual-track TVET systems are limited.
• Quality general language support for migrants is vital. However, TVET institutions and skills development programmes need to develop packages aimed at accelerating the vocational language proficiency of
migrants to facilitate their entry into labour markets.
• Increased diversity resulting from international migration requires TVET curricula to incorporate intercultural modules that emphasize awareness of diversity, inclusion and cultural competences.
• Good career guidance is essential to enable migrants to navigate unfamiliar labour markets and education and training systems of host countries. The final section of the report proposes a few key areas where the UNEVOC Network can begin to collaborate.

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