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UNESCO Director-General meets UNEVOC Centre in Colombia

Friday, 03 February

UNESCO Director-General Irena Bokova met with Alfonso Prada, Director of the National Training Service (SENA), an institution that is part of the UNEVOC Network since 2014, as part of her official visit to Colombia.

UNESCO Director-General Irena Bokova with Alfonso Prada ©SENA
Ms Bokova visited Colombia 1 to 3 February 2017 and met, among others, the President of Colombia and Laureate of the 2016 Nobel Peace Prize, Juan Manuel Santos Calderón, and other high-level Government representatives. During her visit she paid close attention to the role of education, including technical and vocational education and training (TVET), to build sustainable peace and as a tool for conflict resolution.

Her meeting with the Minister of Education Ms Yaneth Giha Tovar emphasized the relevance of education for citizenship, as well as the need to advance quality and inclusive education. On this last point, Ms Bokova underscored the importance of TVET for social mobility.

Given TVET’s close links to the labour market, it provides an opportunity for all to gain the skills and competencies for decent employment. As part of the emphasis on lifelong learning, TVET also enables those who already work to continue to learn and progress, both as active citizens as well as professionally.

To highlight the important role TVET plays, Ms Bokova met with Mr Prada and visited one of SENA’s Agricultural Biotechnical Centres in Mosquera. The public institution is one of many which provide free training to millions of Colombians. The visit also provided Ms Bokova the opportunity to hand Mr Prada the UNEVOC Network plaque in recognition of SENA’s membership in the UNEVOC Network.

For more information on Ms Bokova’s visit, please see UNESCO Headquarters’ news release, as well as a short video from SENA on her visit to the Agricultural Biotechnical Centre.

UNEVOC Network in Colombia

The Latin American Economic Outlook 2017 – Youth, Skills and Entrepreneurship (OECD 2017) notes that TVET systems in Latin America are often not well aligned to the needs of the labour market, and also struggles with quality, prestige and status in various countries. Linking TVET to labour market not only ensures its quality and relevance, but also improves its image and attractiveness. SENA is one of key institutional bodies in Latin America that systematically tries to consult employers.

SENA has been a UNEVOC Centre since 2014. The Technological School – Central Technical Institute is the other UNEVOC Centre in Colombia. A member since 1994, the school also contributes to the development of TVET in Colombia by offering over 18 post-secondary TVET programmes.

For more information on the UNEVOC Network, please visit the UNEVOC Network Portal.

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