Posted on April 29, 2018

In partnership with UNESCO, College of the North Atlantic-Qatar (CNA-Q) hosted the International Experts' Meeting on TVET (Technical and Vocational Education and Training) for Sustainable and Inclusive Development, April 17-19.

The Experts' Meeting brought together 70 government, academic, and industry experts from 12 countries, including H.E. Dr. Hamda Al-Sulaiti, Secretary General of the Qatar National Commission for Education, Culture and Science (QNCECS); Dr. Muna Salim Al Jardinaniyah, Undersecretary from Sultanate of Oman's Ministry of Manpower for Technological Education and Vocational Training; and Dr. Azzah Ahmed Al-Maskari, Dean of Ibra College of Technology in Oman. To facilitate inter-regional knowledge sharing and coordination, Dr. Eunsang Cho, TVET Programme Specialist from UNESCO Thailand and Ms. Kenneth Barrientos from the UNESCO-UNEVOC International Centre for TVET in Bonn, Germany, also participated. The meeting was organized by Dr. Rupert Maclean, who co-currently holds the UNESCO Chair on TVET for Sustainable Development and the QAPCO Professional Chair in Vocational Studies, at CNA-Q.

The objective of the Experts' Meeting was to establish a research agenda for TVET in Qatar that responds to the rapidly changing demands of 21st Century work, and recognizes the importance of supporting sustainable and inclusive development. The highlight of the meeting was drafting the 'Doha Declaration on Strengthening and Upgrading Research in TVET for Sustainable and Inclusive Development.' The draft acknowledged the progress made during the 2005-2014 UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development and endorsed the 2015 UNESCO Recommendations of TVET. It elicited a commitment from those present to work towards the reorientation of TVET as an important means of achieving sustainable and inclusive development here in Qatar.

Delegates reflected on the areas driving TVET's transformation including youth, environment, social equity, and industry. Deliberations were grounded on the Qatari context but also extrapolated to encompass regional and global experiences. Over the three-day meeting, panelists presented on a diverse range of topics including the nature of 21st Century skills and industries, strategies for improving access and outcomes for women, people with disabilities, and migrants, the challenges around establishing National Qualification Frameworks, curriculum and pedagogy development, improving stakeholder coordination efforts, and balancing social, environmental and ethical concerns with economic imperatives.

CNA-Q and UNESCO host 2 [].jpg

Dr. Anna Paolini, Director of the UNESCO Doha Office, delivered closing remarks, thanking participants for their contributions and restating UNESCO's commitment to work with partners to transform TVET for the future. She said, "Vocational education and training are central to achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Our office will continue to work closely with Member States in the Gulf region and learning institutions, like CNA-Q, to realize the potential of TVET to foster employment and entrepreneurship, ensure equity and equality, and facilitate the transition to green economies."

Ms. Samah Gamar, CNA-Q's Vice President-Academic said, "The College is pleased to partner with UNESCO to initiate the inaugural meeting of TVET experts here on our campus. As the leading provider of TVET in Qatar, we at CNA-Q feel it is our duty to promote discussion on TVET and bring the importance of 21st Century Skills to the forefront. Expansion of TVET in Qatar is vital to achieve Qatar National Vision 2030, as technical skills are a crucial part of becoming a knowledge-based economy."

Dr. Hamda Al Sulaiti said, Secretary General of QNCECS said, "TVET will unleash the potentials of young people, and will develop their skills as needed for a work force necessary for sustainable development. TVET is the most appropriate way to build successful and distinctive career pathways, not only for young people but also for the employers themselves, as they would benefit from such trained and active young people who are keen on continuous learning and innovating new ideas. The State of Qatar has sought to integrate sustainable development, and relevant values and practices into the curricula of both regular and technical education to achieve Qatar's National Vision 2030, which aligns very well with the goals of the global sustainable development plan 2030 in general."