[EV05-ICT] ICTs in TVSD: Promises and Challenges for Inclusive Development Reaching the Poorest Populations

DAY 2 – Tuesday 3 May – 11:15-12:45
Swiss Tech | Room 3B | Level Garden

Moderators | Summary | Panelists



Bhavani Rao
Amrita University, India

Prof. Bhavani Rao is the Director of AMMACHI Labs at Amrita University, which focuses on innovating and deploying new applications in learning technologies to benefit the poor with a focus on women from socio-economically underserved communities. AMMACHI Labs does pioneering work on technology-enhanced learning and computerized vocational-education training delivered through multimedia-enriched applications and cost-effective haptic-enhanced simulators for perfecting manual skills. A central focus of Prof. Bhavani’s work has been to explore the use of skill-development as the baseline strategy, and women empowerment as the underlying vision. Her current project is a massive sanitation-awareness campaign that empowers women in rural communities to become ambassadors of change, by educating them about sanitation practices and training them to build their own toilets.


Joost Monks
NORRAG Network for International Policies for Education & Training, Switzerland

Joost Monks is the Managing Director of NORRAG, Switzerland. He is in charge of the Network’s international development and partnerships and runs the Program of Work on “Urban Violence, Youth and Education.” Previously he served as management consultant in a wide range of national and international public organizations, including UNESCO, WIPO, and ILO, and he worked in the field of organizational development in higher education institutions in Europe and China. He holds a Bachelor and a Master Degree from the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies and obtained his PhD in political economics from the University of Geneva.



Technical and Vocational Skills Development-TVSD (defined as to the acquisition of knowledge, practical competencies, knowhow and attitudes necessary to perform a certain trade or occupation in the labor market) is making a come- back on the international development agenda (in particular in relation to SDG goal 4 and 8). One of the important drivers to this change have been the rapidly advancing ICTs that have transformed the world of work and demanded for new skills development, while offering at the same time new modes of training delivery. ICTs provide hope for equal opportunities and for marginalized groups to access TVSD, both in the formal and informal economic sectors, for instance through open educational resources, massive open online courses (MOOCs) or tablet-based training simulation for vocational training.

Nevertheless, the promises of ICTs as a vector for training democratization, of masses’ integration and poverty reduction have to be demonstrated contextually. Indeed, the impact of ICTs in TVSD depends on different contextual factors, such as the infrastructure available (e.g., the access of electricity and internet), the quality and relevance of the TVSD program providers, the quality of the data collected and its utilization for policy development, the value of certification (formal and non-formal training), the recognition by employers of the skills acquired, the labor and economic markets characteristics (e.g., dominance of the informal sector in many developing countries) as well as the development of associated personal and life skills.

The session proposed by NORRAG (Geneva) and Ammachi Labs (Amrita University, India), aims to engage a critical debate and unpack the issue of the promise and challenges of ICTs in TVSD for inclusive development, by building both on the international policy debate and evidence around the topic, as well as the practical experience and insights gained in the Indian context by Ammachi Labs. This includes a number of internationally recognized pioneering approaches and projects such as the Women Empowerment (WE) Project aiming at improving conditions for rural women in India through Ammachi Labs’ innovative computerized vocational education and training (cVET) programs in combination Life Enrichment Education (LEE) tailored to the needs of the community. The aim of this blended approach is to ensure students receive the technical knowledge required as well as the confidence and support to take the learned skills forward.