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18. Revised Recommendation concerning Technical and Vocational Education (2001)
(Adopted by the General Conference of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, Paris, France, 2 November 2001)

I. Scope

1. This Recommendation applies to all forms and aspects of education that are technical and vocational in nature, provided either in educational institutions or under their authority, by public authorities, the private sector or through other forms of organized education, formal or non-formal, aiming to ensure that all members of the community have access to the pathways of lifelong learning.

2. For the purposes of this Recommendation “technical and vocational education” is used as a comprehensive term referring to those aspects of the educational process involving, in addition to general education, the study of technologies and related sciences, and the acquisition of practical skills, attitudes, understanding and knowledge relating to occupations in various sectors of economic and social life. Technical and vocational education is further understood to be:

(a) an integral part of general education;

(b) a means of preparing for occupational fields and for effective participation in the world of work;

(c) an aspect of lifelong learning and a preparation for responsible citizenship;

(d) an instrument for promoting environmentally sound sustainable development;

(e) a method of facilitating poverty alleviation.

3. Technical and vocational education, being part of the total educational process and being a right as described in Article 26 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, is included in the term “education” as defined in the Convention and the Recommendation against Discrimination in Education adopted by the General Conference of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization at its 11th session (1960) and the Convention on Technical and Vocational Education adopted by the General Conference at its 25th session (1989). The provisions of these documents are therefore applicable to it.

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II. Technical and vocational education in relation to the educational process: objectives

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7. Technical and vocational education should begin with a broad base which facilitates horizontal and vertical articulation within the education system and between school and the world of work, thus contributing to the elimination of all forms of discrimination, and should be designed so that it:

(a) is an integral part of everyone’s basic general education in the form of initiation to technology, the world of work, and human values and standards for responsible citizenship;

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8. In terms of the needs and aspirations of individuals, technical and vocational education should:

(a) permit the harmonious development of personality and character, and foster spiritual and human values, the capacity for understanding, judgment, critical thinking and self-expression;

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IX. Staff

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Teaching staff

74. All teachers in technical and vocational education, including instructors/trainers who teach practical skills, should be considered an integral part of the teaching profession, and should be recognized as having the same status as their colleagues in general education. In this regard: 

(a) the Recommendation concerning the Status of Teachers adopted by the Special Intergovernmental Conference on the Status of Teachers on 5 October 1966 is applicable to them especially as regards the provisions concerning preparation for a profession, continuing education, employment and career, the rights and responsibilities of teachers, conditions for effective teaching and learning, teachers’ salaries, and social security;

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X. International cooperation

93. Member States should give priority to international cooperation between the North and South, as well as between countries of the South, with the assistance of concerned international organizations, to renovate and sustain technical and vocational education systems, with particular emphasis on the following:

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(d) recognition by all stakeholders, including international financial authorities, of the contribution of technical and vocational education to the maintenance of peace and stability and to the prevention of social dysfunction, and the need to incorporate support for this sector of education in their assistance to recipient countries.

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100. Internationally recommended standards and norms should be continuously evaluated through sustained research on and monitoring of the effectiveness of their application in each country, with a view to enabling countries to use lifelong technical and vocational education as a means of narrowing the disparities between the North and the South and as a bridge to a more prosperous and peaceful future in the twenty-first century.