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What should governments and the private sector do to move forward in recognizing and validating skills acquired in the informal sector?

Reactions (9)


Robert-Jan Scheer
2016-09-6 15:26

I am by no way an expert in this field, but the way we would handle this back home would be to define minimum skills and introduce an independent exam or test. How you acquire the skills would not matter. You could gradually make the requirements more stringent, or introduce levels. Are there any experiences with this? Big risk of course is fraud and corruption.

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Sara Johansson de Silva - International Development Consultant
2016-09-9 11:12

In many low and middle income countries, most people work in the informal sector, mostly for themselves or their families. For this reason, and as discussed in our book “Improving skills development in the informal sector: Strategies for Sub-Saharan Africa”, the informal sector is also a major source of skills development in different trades, as young people are taken on as apprentices, or simply learn on-the-job. From a government perspective, traditional apprenticeships have many strong points as a skills development tool: they have an immedi... read more »

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Racky Balde & Micheline Goedhuys - UNU-MERIT
2016-09-9 12:50

The informal sector is important in generating skills for uneducated people. For instance, in Senegal, population is weakly educated with a literacy rate around 44.8% (Enquête de Suivi de la Pauvreté au Sénégal, 2011). Despite increasing educational expenditures, 66% of youth do not complete primary school and end up without skills. Nevertheless, many of them learn a job in the informal sector; some of them even acquire excellent skills over time. 
However, for these people, moving up to jobs in the formal sector or even changing jobs within ... read more »

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Aminu Mamman - University of Manchester
2016-09-12 14:47

I think the starting point for recognizing and validating informal skills is to recognize the value of the sector to the economy. The next step is recognizing the value of each skills to those who consume the skills or the product of the skills. This will then lead to a survey of the customers of the informal skills to determine their level of satisfaction and what they need more to be more satisfied. The outcome of the survey should be evaluated against similar survey of the informal sector. This should be followed by codifying the skills need... read more »

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Charles Darlinton Afare - Ministry of Education, Non-formal Division, Ghana
2016-09-12 17:17

Education remains the hub through which every nation develops its human resource capacities for its growth. There is therefore no doubt that governments have the responsibility of creating an enabling environment for harnessing the potentiality of its citizens. Governments should therefore, facilitate the provision of a policy framework that will mobilize both the state actors, private players and other stakeholders in education to move forward the agenda for an all inclusive education. The policy should among other things define the role of al... read more »

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Miriam Katunze - Economic Policy Research Center
2016-09-13 09:03

Government and the private sector can recognize and validate skills acquired through the informal sector with the help of local/community leaders. These community leaders, whether local council chair persons or community leaders can be used to validate if a particular person is skilled or not. This is because they spend a significant portion of their lives interacting with people in the informal sector.

Taking the example of acquiring a passport in the Uganda, one is required to receive certification from the local council that he/she is ind... read more »

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Ms Madhu Singh - UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning
2016-09-13 17:01

The sectoral approach to skills recognition  is driving skills development in the informal sector in several countries. In India,  the Skills Council for the Manufacturing Sector  is defining and classifying skills standards for common trades such as masons, welders and carpenters, based on industry and client requirements. The main aim of recognition and validation of prior competences of informal sector workers is to relate the worker's skill to a sector standard which is universally acceptable in the industry.

National Qualifications Fram... read more »

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INCLUDE secretariat - INCLUDE
2016-09-16 13:34

While there is general agreement about the importance of recognizing the skills acquired in the informal sector, contributors to this question have identified a number of challenges that make such validation particularly difficult, including: highly varied quality of training in the informal sector; limited transferability of skills, as they are often very specific and learned ‘on the job’; and big risk of fraud and corruption when it comes to official skills-recognition.

To address these challenges and promote the recognition and validatio... read more »

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Derek Eldridge - Global Development Institute, University o f Manchester , UK
2016-09-19 21:03

The issue of the informal sector has constantly worried governments concerned with, for instance, the need for 'tidy' civic spaces, with efforts put in to regulation at the expense of recognising the true value this sector brings---services provided by poor people for poor people. In the context of more jobs being created in this sector than in the formal one, the true worth of what is happening has to be recognised, i.e. the sector is a hive of informal learning as other contributors have already said. In enacting more formal approaches to scr... read more »

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