The global community is Wednesday commemorating the 2020 World Youth Skills Day (WYSD), aimed at recognising the strategic importance of equipping young people with the appropriate skills for employment, decent work and entrepreneurship, as well as highlighting the crucial role of skilled youth in addressing current and future global challenges.
In response to rising global youth unemployment, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), in November 2014, declared July 15 as World Youth Skills Day. The day seeks to generate greater awareness of and discussion on the importance of technical, vocational education, and training as well as the development of other skills among youth, relevant to both local and global economies.
This year’s celebration is being convened by the UNESCO-UNEVOC International Centre for Technical and Vocational Education and Training, in collaboration with the Commonwealth of Learning (COL) under the theme “Skills for a Resilient Youth.” Since this year’s commemoration is happening in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, a virtual conference on skills for a resilient youth was held July 6-14 on the TVeT Forum.
The virtual conference was aimed at assessing the short-, medium-, and long-term impacts of the pandemic across different country contexts; sharing good practices from technical and vocational education and training (TVET) institutions about how they have responded to the pandemic. For instance, how institutions have provided distance learning in no-tech, low-tech and high-tech scenarios, and how teachers and trainers have been supported.
The COVID-19 pandemic and its resultant lockdown measures had led to the worldwide closure of TVET institutions, threatening the continuity of skills development. UNESCO Estimates show “nearly 70% of the world’s learners are affected by school closures across education levels.” Moreover, respondents to a survey of TVET institutions, jointly collected by UNESCO, the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the World Bank, reported that distance learning had “become the most common way of imparting skills, with considerable difficulties regarding, among others, curricula adaptation, trainee and trainer preparedness, connectivity, or assessment and certification processes.”
As a fallout of the pandemic, more than 1 in 6 young people are currently out of work. UNESCO believes as young people are called upon to contribute to the recovery effort, they will need to be equipped with the appropriate skills to successfully manage evolving challenges and the resilience to adapt to future disruptions. Therefore, WYSD hope to contribute to reducing unemployment and underemployment among the youth across the globe, by taking stock of the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on skills development and exploring strategies for responding to the unfolding economic crisis.
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