Comparing vocational education in India, South Africa and United Arab Emirates to develop guidelines for South Africa
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Vocational education is specific education, which has the main purpose of preparing one for employment in a recognised occupation. Since education is considered the key to effective development strategies, vocational education must be the master key that can alleviate poverty, promote peace, conserve the environment, improve the quality of life for all and help achieve sustainable development. This dissertation is premised on examining vocational education at post-school level in India, South Africa and the United Arab Emirates with a view to developing guidelines for vocational education in South Africa. The study sought to explore positive transferable characteristics and features of vocational education programmes in each of the countries, which could be adopted by similar institutions in South Africa. The need to provide competencies necessary for employment, economic, technological and national development has renewed the demand for improvement and reform in vocational education systems to make them adaptable to market conditions. The study worked within a qualitative research paradigm to explore, analyse and compare key vocational education features in India, South Africa and the United Arab Emirates. Document analysis was employed as a research tool for data collection to evaluate vocational education trends, such as funding mechanisms, governance, curriculum and stakeholder participation in the countries under study. Similarities and differences in vocational education policies were also identified in India, South Africa and the United Arab Emirates. The study revealed that vocational education policies and philosophy in all the countries covered by the study were similar, but differed in implementation. The study discloses that vocational education systems in some countries have failed to provide the much-needed competencies required by the job market. A need has been identified for South Africa to investigate possible strategies for leading curriculum change at post-high school level. The findings of the study indicated that a vocational education college curriculum in the South African college reform was imminent. Such a reform has the potential of contributing to the improvement of employment and productivity in various ways. The findings also emphasised the crucial need for managerial strategies to prepare for current and future vocational education curriculum challenges. The study has the potential of providing insight for researchers and policymakers, particularly in South Africa, regarding the policies, experiences and implementation of vocational education in other countries, which, in turn, can be adopted as a basis for ongoing vocational education reforms. Gaps, silences and positive aspects of the analysed key features were revealed for improvement and consolidation to meet international requirements. Vocational education practitioners reflected that products of vocational education institutions lacked the skills, knowledge and abilities required by employers. Limited funding, inexperienced staff, minimum links with the industry and a poor public perception of vocational education are some of the challenges seen to be negatively affecting vocational education.
- Education