Despite rapid expansion in the provision of technical and vocational education and training (TVET) in Lebanon, the current TVET system does not meet the personal aspirations of youth1 or the needs of local and regional labour markets. In the absence of a national TVET policy to systematically engage social partners,2 communication of the competencies and skills required in various economic sectors has remained weak, and TVET provision has remained delinked from the actual skill requirements of employers. In light of the evident mismatch between TVET supply and labour market demand, many youth have been reluctant to pursue a vocational pathway.
Recent educational reforms, including the 2010 National Education Strategy Framework, have not sufficiently addressed the TVET sector. The Higher Council for TVET, which is mandated to ensure the systematic involvement of social partners in TVET policy design and strategic planning, last met in the year 2000. The Directorate General for Technical and Vocational Education and Training (DGTVE), on the other hand, lacks sufficient financial and human resources to fully deliver on its TVET mandate at the national level. As a result, the number of TVET providers has expanded without a clear vision for the sector as a whole.
Even though Lebanon established its first National Qualifications Framework (NQF) in 2011, outlining eight levels of qualifications, the framework was never formally endorsed.3 The 2011 Action Plan, which called for the creation of a TVET quality assurance agency, was also never operationalized. As a result, monitoring and evaluation of the TVET system has been weak, providing employers with little assurance regarding the quality of education or type of skills acquired.
Responding to these challenges, the Government of Lebanon, with the support of UNICEF and the ILO, has developed the 2018–2022 National Strategic Framework for TVET in Lebanon. This proposed strategy is a key outcome of the Government’s TVET initiative in partnership with UNICEF and the ILO (see Appendix I),4 which seeks to widen access and improve the quality of TVET provision. The TVET initiative brings together the MEHE (represented by the DGTVE), MOSA, the NCVT, the NEO and the MOL, as well as NGOs. The initiative also involves technical and vocational institutes, schools, and official and private training centres. Participating international organizations include the United Nations Organization for Education, Science and Culture (UNESCO), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the delegation of the EU to Lebanon, ETF, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), the World Bank, and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). Social partners who participated in this process include the Association of Lebanese Industrialists, the Syndicate of Lebanese Contractors, the Association of Crafts, the Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture, and the General Confederation of Lebanese Workers. Other international and local NGOs include, inter alia, GIZ, the Association of Volunteers in International Service (AVSI), Mouvement Social, Caritas, IECD, the Arab Near East Refugee Aid (ANERA), Makhzoumi Foundation, YMCA, Safadi Foundation, LOST, René Moawad Foundation, WARD association, SHIELD, and the Lebanese Physically Handicapped Union. Other stakeholders were briefed and consulted throughout the process including the Ministry of Industry, the Office of the Minister of State for Displaced Affairs, the Office of the Prime Minister, and members of the livelihood core working group at the national level.
Within the framework of the ILO–UNICEF initiative, several working groups were formed in 2017 to systematize consultations with key TVET stakeholders. These included working groups for:
- MEHE, represented by the DGTVE;
- the MOL, including the NEO and the NVTC;
- the MOA;
- the MOL;
Each of these working groups identified their own strategic goals and priorities for 2018–2022 (see Appendix II). The 2018–2022 Framework synthesises a wide range of consultations that were carried out in 2017, paving the way for developing a roadmap to reform the TVET sector as a whole.