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In a World Bank-sponsored effort, seven East African nations have begun harmonizing technical and vocational education and training qualifications.

The Inter-University Council of East Africa is working with Dutch consultants Cadena International Development Projects to develop a Regional TVET Qualifications Framework. The organization has developed a draft framework to be questioned throughout the process.

It started in September with a validation workshop in Nairobi and is intended to facilitate student and personnel mobility throughout Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, South Sudan, and Ethiopia.

“The harmonization of TVET qualifications and occupational standards has the objective of increasing access and improving the quality of TVET programs in selected regional Flagship TVET Institutes, and supporting regional integration in East Africa,” said Gaspard Banyankimbona, executive secretary of the IUCEA.

As part of the World Bank’s East Africa Skills for Transformation and Regional Integration Project, the harmonization process is component three of the project’s project implementation.

The division aims to improve regional TVET collaboration by harmonizing standards and mutual recognition of qualifications in key sectors such as manufacturing, agro-processing, energy, transport and infrastructure, and ICT.

“It contributes in part, to the broader goal of the IUCEA of implementing the common higher education area in the EAC region,” added the secretary, noting that the process of synchronization of qualifications began in March 2020 in a meeting that saw the need for harmonization of TVET qualifications and occupational standards.

The panel also suggested the formation of a Technical Working Group to expedite the harmonization process.

It also aligns with the announcement of the East African Community heads of state Summit in May 2017, which declared the region a common higher education area.

The declaration effectively ushered in a regime where all national higher education and training systems operate and are guided by a common regional framework under which curricula, examinations, and certification as well as academic and professional qualifications, and the quality of the educational and training output in universities is now harmonized, he added.

To attain a fully harmonized and integrated higher education and training system, Banyankimbona observed that the council had already established the East African Qualifications Framework for Higher Education and set in place procedures to enable quality assurance and mutual recognition of qualifications.

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