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TVET innovation and eBooks

TVET and the eBook

Higher Education gets a lot of attention in most societies. It’s importance to the economy  takes centre stage in discussions about how to grow skills for an advanced and technologically driven society.

Vocational training has had little attention or space in which to make its voice heard by comparison. Yet each  year sees a significant number of young people leave the schools system who have never been exposed to Higher Education and have little preparation for employment.

There are 50 million unemployed in Nigeria.

In July 2015 a new research group,  Innovations in Technical Vocational Education and Training (ITVETRG), was inaugurated at the Nigerian UNEVOC Centre  by the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Nigeria, Prof. Benjamin Chukwuma Ozumba. UNEVOC CETVETAR Article

This is very welcome move. Good research and empirical data are vital for sound policies and decisions to support funding. Research in TVET systems innovation, programme delivery and best practices in skills development in formal and non-formal settings are amongst the group’s worthy objectives.

Skills development relies on technical information and knowledge, not only for the students but especially for the tutors and instructors guiding them. This requires both formal and informal systems to  transfer knowledge for an individual to be ready for employment. The aim is to provide consistent centres across the country to develop the skills the market needs.

What of the individual?  What prepares the individual for skills training?

Reading and writing are the basic building blocks for an individual to accumulate knowledge and participate in society. Where practical skills are being taught it requires less need to be academic but still relies on the need for comprehension and an ability to communicate via the written word.

We have all heard of that person who has “made it” without any education. I don’t see this as something to be lauded and it does happen but not for 50 million individuals.The more exposure to reading that young people have the better their chances of succeeding in developing skills in a specific field. Their passion for that skill and ability to develop it is enhanced by being able to read everything about how it is applied and used.

Does reading impact learning a trade or profession?

Whatever a person reads brings benefits.  It’s  the place to go for knowledge and enjoyment. But where do eBooks fit in to TVET?

HTML5_stickereBooks are new and evolving rapidly. The technology (HTML 5) within the eBook format (ePUB3) has the potential to bring more knowledge and enjoyment to those outside of the Higher Education system than conventional books.

An eBook, made interactive with content that is creatively and imaginatively presented,  has the means to enthuse younger generations to learn faster, easier and to develop their passion.

Why could this be so? Just look at family and friends who don’t normally read books. They do engage with web sites where content is of perceived value to them.  To gain more information the web site leads them to books to find knowledge. An eBook is a packaged web site. It incorporates the text of a book with images,videos, links all combined to tell the story or impart a piece of knowledge.

Creating ePUB3 format eBooks for vocational readers needs publishers and authors to think afresh about their audience. TVETRG has an important part to play in encouraging innovation in publishing to support skills development.