VOCATIONAL TRAINING IN SENEGAL: IDENTIFYING THE OBSTACLES TO IMPLEMENTING REFORMS

02 Jun 2016

Some forty Senegalese stakeholders in vocational training met in Thiès, from May 30 to June 3, to participate in an in-depth diagnosis workshop on the obstacles faced in implementing a new vocational training policy.

On behalf of the entire Senegalese vocational training system, the Ministry of Vocational Training, Learning and Handicrafts of Senegal (MFPAA) signed a framework partnership agreement with the IIEP Pôle de Dakar, on May 23rd 2016, to formalize its collaboration within the framework of the Platform of expertise in vocational training (Pefop), which is developed by the Pôle with the financial support of the French Development Agency (AFD).

The first steps of this collaboration are intended to identify and analyse the challenges involved in the implementation of vocational training policies in order to achieve a proper diagnosis of the sector. Following this diagnosis, targeted activities will be designed and compiled into the Program to operationalize the reform (PROCOR), which will roll out during the next three years.

Following a preliminary diagnosis conducted last May, the Pôle de Dakar and the Unit of Studies and Planning (CEP) of MFPAA asked the stakeholders from various sectors - government, private and social - to gather in Thiès to analyze collectively the in-depth causes of the identified obstacles. Since 2000, Senegal has engaged in reforming its technical and vocational training system. In this respect, Mr. Siré Bâ, Technical Adviser No. 1 of the MFPAA and focal point for the Pefop, stressed the relevance of the five priority axes of the Pefop, which perfectly match with the orientations of the reforms initiated by the Senegalese government.

The Pôle de Dakar experts helped participants brainstorm collectively to identify and analyse obstacles by organizing thematic focus groups framed according to the Pefop priority axes.

Mr. El Hadji Saliou Ngom, Coordinator of CEP in the MFPAA, expressed his satisfaction with the method: Relevance can often be found in simplicity. And this is the case with the approach of the Pefop, which can be summarized in three steps: 1). what are the different problems we encounter, 2). which stakeholders can raise these issues, 3). what are the needs of these stakeholders. We realized that many problems we have thought to be obstacles were not in fact, but they were badly targeted. And as the adage says: a problem well posed is half-solved. Here the Pefop helps us to overcome the problems we face.

Accordingly, Mr. Mbaye Sar, President of the Employment & Training Committee of the National Confederation of Employers of Senegal (CNES) indicated that the approach used by the Pefop is promising: “For the first time it does not boast the success stories, but we try to track down problems and constraints”.

In short, this type of workshop has been ideal in highlighting concrete examples of the obstacles faced, such as the mutual ignorance of the actors that hampers the development of public/private partnerships. In the opinion of most participants, the momentum generated by these focus groups and the involvement of all these vocational training stakeholders in Senegal bode very positive results for the rest of the process