World Bank & ETF

The World Bank & ETF: What do both have in common for the future of vocational education?

"Human capital is what really determines the wealth of nations" said Rafael De Hoyos Navarro, Program Leader for Human Development, EU Member States, at the World Bank in an interview with the ETF.

De Hoyos will be speaking alongside representatives of the other leading international financial institutions, including the European Investment Bank (EIB), the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and German Development Bank KfW, at a meeting organised by the ETF today, 30 November 2021. The aim of the meeting is to discuss the role of policy in investment in human capital development and explore the potential for cooperation between the ETF and development lenders. The event is also expected to tackle the policy reforms needed for better implementing the UN 2030 sustainable development agenda, therefore representing a living proof of the successful cooperation and exchange of expertise taking place between the World Bank Group alongside EU affiliated institutions, including ETF. It is worth saying this is part of the ETF’s 2027 strategy to build more strongly on global and interinstitutional partnerships to deliver real change in the countries where it works.

The World Bank is the largest funder of education in the developing world, with education programmes in more than 80 countries. In line with the 2030 development goals, it focuses on facilitating access to quality education and lifelong learning opportunities for all. "If you want to reduce disparities and poverty, and promote inclusion and social mobility in a single strategy, human capital accumulation, provision of skills and education play a crucial role." Added Navarro.

" Human capital accumulation is at the heart of economic and social development; without people with tools to construct their life projects, the process of development cannot be triggered."

The ETF and the World Bank see eye to eye on many issues. One is the importance of a strong focus on core competences – what the World Bank calls foundational and soft skills – alongside technical skills. Another is the importance of inclusiveness. “You cannot have productivity and long-term growth in a sustained way, if this is not inclusive” says de Hoyos. “In striking a balance between triggering productivity and pushing forward the inclusion agenda, vocational education and training systems have a critical role to play.”

"Vocational training and education systems are the ones providing skills to the relatively disadvantaged youth."

For the World Bank, as for the ETF, action on VET and skills is framed by the far-reaching global changes that are reshaping labour markets across the globe, as well as aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. “The question is how can skills provision systems react as of today to make sure that we will be providing our graduates with the set of skills that will make them adept, fungible and productive is the labour market of the future?” asks de Hoyos.

De Hoyos sees two areas of potential cooperation between the World Bank and the ETF. One is in providing hands-on contextualised support to individual countries in developing their education and trainings systems; another is in moving the global policy agenda on human capital forward. “There are challenges that are not related to a single country, but are more global in nature” said de Hoyos, “megatrends that require research, that require analysing data and the existing evidence. And this is where I think there are few institutions better placed than the ETF to tackle these challenges".

For more info on the role of ETF and the World Bank in supporting human capital, click here.

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