East African countries, including Ethiopia, Kenya, and Tanzania, have taken a significant step toward creating a harmonized labor market by adopting a framework that enables mutual recognition of qualifications and awards. This framework aims to promote the free mobility of skilled labor and contribute to labor market harmonization in the region.
At a recent workshop in Mombasa, Kenya, these East African nations validated and adopted two critical documents: the Regional Framework for Occupational Competency Assessment and Certification (RFOCAC) and the Regional Policy Framework for TVET Integration (RPFTI). These documents will play a pivotal role in establishing standardized and harmonized occupational competency assessment and certification systems, integrated through Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) across the region.
The workshop brought together high-level government officials from the three countries, members of the Regional TVET Qualifications Framework (RTQF) Implementation Advisory Group, TVET experts, representatives of the private sector, and the team from the Inter University Council for East Africa (IUCEA), the Regional Facilitation Unit for the project.
During the workshop’s opening session, Dr. Esther Muoria, the Principal Secretary for the State Department for Technical and Vocational Education and Training in Kenya, emphasized the significance of these frameworks. She stated that they mark a milestone in the efforts to integrate TVET systems in East Africa, paving the way for a harmonized TVET system. This harmonization will enable the mutual recognition of qualifications and awards, fostering the free movement of skilled labor and ultimately contributing to the creation of a unified labor market.
Dr. Muoria added that these frameworks will ensure the comparability and compatibility of TVET systems, equipping graduates with the skills and knowledge needed to succeed in both regional and global labor markets.
Dr. Cosam Joseph, the Regional Project Coordinator of the World Bank-funded East Africa Skills for Transformation and Regional Integration Project (EASTRIP), emphasized the project’s role in developing TVET systems and preparing the region’s youth for the evolving world of work. The Regional Framework for Occupational Competency Assessment and Certification and the Regional Policy Framework for TVET Integration are significant outputs of the project and support the goal of regional integration.
The RFOCAC will serve as a guiding system for harmonized occupational competency assessment and certification in the region. This will ensure that workers are assessed and certified according to the same harmonized standards, regardless of the country where they received their training.
In contrast, the RPFTI is a more comprehensive document, providing a framework for the integration of TVET systems across the region. It outlines key areas of cooperation, including curriculum development, quality assurance, teacher training, and assessment.
These regional frameworks will play a crucial role in ensuring that skilled workers in East Africa possess the necessary skills and knowledge to contribute to the region’s economic development. Furthermore, they will be able to practice their professions in any of the three countries within the region.