The UNESCO Chair in applied research for education in prison attended the “international Forum on the role of the UNEVOC network in the transformation of TVET (Technical and Vocational Education and Training) for a sustainable future” – Bonn, Germany

From November 14 to 16 last, the UNESCO Chair in applied research for education in prison was invited to present a communication on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the UNESCO-UNEVOC network, on the subject of the role of the UNEVOC network in the transformation of TVET for a sustainable future, at the head office of the United Nations, in Bonn, Germany.

This invitation by UNESCO-UNEVOC to present GEGEP Marie-Victorin’s UNESCO Chair in applied research for education in prison (mission, objectives and activities) was a unique opportunity to discover a network that up to now had remained unknown to us. We were able to meet a variety of dynamic people, using bold and imaginative practices and initiatives. We hope to develop future collaborations with the UNESCO-UNEVOC network and its various centres around the world.

We thank very warmly Mr. Shyamal Majumber, Head of Office, for his invitation as well as all the members of the Bonn team for the quality of their welcome and the professionalism they demonstrated throughout this wonderful Forum.

Our conference took place in the presence of three other international UNESCO Chairs including those of Russia, China and Jordan. Over 115 people participated in this international Forum where 52 countries were represented. The Marie-Victorin CEGEP was represented by Mr. Jean-Pierre Simoneau, director of operations for the UNESCO Chair in applied research for education in prison who presented a communication in English. Due to the presence of other UNESCO Chair representatives, one of the aims of the conference was to look into the possibilities of creating links and potential partnerships with TVET (Technical and Vocational Education and Training). A few examples of the technical and vocational training offered by some agencies in the UNESCO-UNEVOC network seem very well suited to meet the needs of adult students to whom we offer training both in penitentiaries and in the community at large.

The UNESCO-UNEVOC International Center in Bonn

UNEVOC means Center for Technical and Vocational Education and Training, in accordance with a UNESCO 2001 recommendation. In 1991, following an agreement with Germany, the UNESCO-UNIVOC execution unit was created and became operational in 1993, in Berlin. Today UNESCO-UNEIVOC has over 268 centres located in over 168 countries. It is an integral part of the many major challenges facing education on a global scale and the Millennium Development Goals (MDG).

The creation of the International UNESCO-UNEVOC Center is meeting this challenge and supporting the development of competencies as an essential element of educational systems.

In 1987, the member States put forth the suggestion that UNESCO should support the creation of an international Center for research and the development of technical and vocational education. The personal commitment and leadership of Mr. Hans Krönner since 1987 led to the creation of the Bonn International Center. It became operational in 2002. UNESCO and the government of the German Democratic Republic (GDR) signed an accord for the organisation of a UNESCO international centre for technical training and vocational education in Bonn, Germany, on July 12, 2000.

Teaching technical training and vocational education

Technical training and vocational education is an ideal solution for developing in closed prison environments the innovative and promising initiatives enabling these excluded populations to reintegrate society through training that meets the current needs of the labour market.

Until the 1990s, there was no global network of TVET (Technical and Vocational Education and Training) professionals. A network of TVET establishments was created in response to the absence of a platform for international cooperation in this field. A range of global networks also exists in higher education.

Over the years, UNESCO-UNEVOC has succeeded in giving TVET an important place in the international education agenda. It is noteworthy that youth currently account for 50% of the world population. Given the general consensus that a population lacking in competencies as regards the labour market will suffer high unemployment, particularly in this age group, and that the consequences of this situation can lead to even greater problems, governments around the world are now looking to TVET as a powerful means of empowering women and men to enable them to work in dignity, to overcome poverty and to participate in the development of inclusive societies.

During the third international TVET congress in Shanghai, China, from May 14 to 16, 2012, a consensus led to a series of recommendations aimed at improving the relevance of TVET for the development and implementation of a global TVET vision.