From Prejudice to Prestige: Vocational education and training in Ghana

Background to the project

By Chris Gale

Higher skills levels are required to boost productivity, underpin economic growth, and create opportunities for individuals in Ghana. Technical and vocational education and training is (TVET), however, poorly perceived, often being seen as the reserve option for those unable to achieve the grades to enter into higher education. Unless TVET begins to be seen as the important component of economic and social development that it is, a lack of skills will ultimately have serious consequences for Ghana’s economy. These negative perceptions of the sector are limiting the career opportunities available to Ghanaian youth.

Upon establishment, the Council for Technical Vocational Education and Training, Ghana (COTVET) highlighted a need to better understand perceptions of vocational education in Ghana as they look to target future development of the sector.

Project overview and approach

The City & Guilds Centre for Skills Development and the COTVET sought to gain a better understanding of the sector in Ghana to target areas for future development of the sector.  We explored the attitudes of key stakeholders, including young people, parents, training providers and a range of employers (from both the formal and informal sectors). 

The data suggests some stark issues for the sector to address, notably an ongoing perception of vocational training as for the poor and the academically weak.  In addition a number of graduates and parents emphasised that some vocational-related careers were not viable as a livelihood, with poor training provision, as well as volatility in opportunities post-training.  These issues were often in contrast with employers who noted the key role that VET graduates played within their businesses.

Key recommendations (click on links)

The recommendations from the research are being shared with key organisations in Ghana and will be used to inform COTVET’s future activities, aimed at improving the image of vocational education and training.



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Practical knowledge or skills without an academic certificate is useless in seeking employment in Ghana. 

Informal graduate

Project date: January 2010 – June 2011