Technical Vocational Education and
Training in Ethiopia
Schokland Programme on TVET
1 General Background 1
2 Formal and non Formal TVET sector in Ethiopia
a Facts and figures
c Education Sector Plan
d Main Actors
e Key donors and interventions
f Demand and supply
3 a Labor market in Ethiopia
b Facts and figures
d Formal and informal economy
e Employment and unemployment rates focus on youth,
f Main actors (private sector, supporting agencies)
g Transition from school to work. Existing approaches to
h Demand and supply from the labor market
4 Lessons learnt from previous interventions/ approaches,
5 Practical and policy challenges
6 SWOT of key actors of TVET and labor market
7 Opportunities for the future for improved harmonization of
different actors (TVET institution, labor market, donor
8 The way forward: from understanding to practical support
Recommendations and niches
1. General Background
The Ministry of Education and the Regional Education Bureaus have shown their
commitment to improving access to Technical Vocational Education and Training. After
the introduction of the Education and Training policy in 1994, the number of formal and
non-formal TVET provision centers has mushroomed. The Ethiopian government has
recognized the importance and the need for establishing a large number of TVET
institutions in the effort to promote economic and technological development in the
country. Within a short period it has managed to increase the number of TVET centers
from 15 in 1994n 10 388 in 2006/7. Realizing the importance of linking education and
the world of work has finally bear fruit in Ethiopia, districts are requesting for the
provision more and more TVET centers. Presently over the 200 districts don’t have
In the past, there have been attempts to investigate the status of TVET provisions in
Ethiopia by different groups and individuals. Among the many others, the study made by
Birhanu Dibaba (et al. 1992) came up with the major finding i.e. “there are no clear cut
guidelines regarding plans, programs, and resources given to technical and vocational
schools. Pior to 1992 TVET schools didn’t have the required qualified human power, in
particular teaching staff. There was no planned or programmed contact between the
training institutions and production/business enterprises. It has been more than two
decades since these insight full findings were reported.
The need for more information on the link between TVET institutions and the world of
work is required by policy makers, planners, employers, trainees and the research
community. Recently another study was made on Non-Formal TVET mapping in
Ethiopia whose findings have been incorporated in this study. This desk study is another
attempt to cover the art of review of the status of formal and non-formal technical and
vocational education and training in the country. It is initiated by the Educan foundation
who works for the promotion of TVT provision based on market demand.
1.1 Rationale for the mapping
Conducting the present TVET mapping is taken as a strategic activity to map the existing
stakeholders and their interests in TVET; past experiences and good practices regarding
demand and supply of TVET; and strong and weak elements of the TVET sector. The
importance of the mapping exercise lies in the establishment of future relevant
partnership and design activities with them to improve TVET provisions. The results of
the mapping process will function as a guide for TVET further development and
strengthening partnership and produce partnership proposals.
The overall objective of this study is to describe the policy environment and the current
situation regarding demand and supply of TVET, as well as to identify the performances,
problems, strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, lessons learned and options
for (coordinated) support for the TVET sector in Ethiopia. In addition, the mapping
describes the main policies, actors and practices of the labour market and the relation of
vocational education and work.
The specific objectives of the mapping are the following.
a. Analyse the context of the labour market and the TVET sector: facts, figures, trends and
performances (TVET sector).
b. Analyse the prospects on the labour market and employment rates. Formal and informal
economy, type of main labour, required skills, divided in rural and urban contexts.
c. Assess lessons learned from past experiences, concrete results achieved in terms of
quality TVET, numbers of skilled workforce available for the labour market in the last
decades, the transition from education to the labour market.
d. Review and evaluates in retrospective the experience of vocational education in terms of
processes adopted and policy and practical challenges confronted both at (macro and
e. Analyse key players and their relevant policies and intervention strategies: the
government, knowledge institutions, private sector, including local civil society actors
and international donors and NGOs. What is the role of the labour market in relation to
TVET (refer to both formal as the informal economy, and formal as non-formal TVET)?
Role and function of knowledge and resource institutions, if involved.
f. Determine the strengths and weaknesses of different actors.
g. Provide several options for better coordination among different actors and/or for
improving responsiveness to the specific needs that exist in the labour market.
h. Present ideas for the way forward: from understanding to practical support.
Reviewing the available documents on TVET was one of the measures taken in
generating data for this study. Discussions were made on issues of importance with key
experts of the MOE, Oromia Regional state, Addis Ababa City Administration TVET
officials. All together the key officials contacted were seven.
1.4 Reporting mechanism
Composition of the study team: Ato Anbesu Biazen and Ato Amha have undertaken the
study. Both have adequate experience in research and evaluation and are familiar with the
This validation workshop is so that participants could reflect on existing status of TVET
program and generate activities that could alleviate the provision of effective and
efficient programs. Feedback given in the workshop will also be used to enrich the report.
1.5 The context
The newly issued 2007 Central Statistics estimate indicated that the total population of
the country was 79,221,000 of which 50.1 % were males and 49.9 % females. The
population of the country is increasing at the rate of 2.7% every year and this has become
an additional concern to planners, development workers and the government at large.
About 17 % of the total population lives in urban settings and 83 % in rural areas. About
50 % of the population is between the ages of 15 and 54 and 4 % of the population is over
the age of 60.
Ethiopia is known as one of the poorest countries where its over 31 million people live
below the defined poverty line of 45 US cents per day and millions of people are at risk
of starvation every year (TVET Strategy 2006).
The Plan for Accelerated and Sustained Development to end poverty (PASDEP),
Ethiopia second poverty strategy Paper, estimates that the country has to raise its average
economic growth rate to 8% annually in order to achieve the Millennium Development
Goals. According the MOE, the major barrier to economic and social development is low
skill level and very low average educational attainment characterizing the Ethiopian work
force of around 35 million people. It is said that over 26% of the work force is
unemployed in urban areas and a much larger figure in the rural areas.
The way out from the problem of poverty is thought to be comprehensive capacity
building and human capital formation. In this regard, the Non Formal and Formal TVET
institutions are expected to play key role in building the needed skilled, motivated and
competent work force.
The TVET strategy provides the following useful statistical information.
90% of the poor live in rural areas, most of them exclusively engaged in
Out of the registered small and medium sized enterprises, for example, 85% are
grain mills. Most of the registered large and medium sized enterprises in the
manufacturing sector (about 800 of them) are concentrated in Addis Ababa.
Only 27% of large-scale manufacturing industries in 2002/3 were privately
Around 35 million people of the Ethiopian work force are characterized by low
skill levels and very low average educational attainment.
Only 10% of the urban population has post-secondary school education. As a
consequence, 75% of the workforce is concentrated in low skill employment
sectors such as commerce, services and elementary occupations.
Less than half of the urban workforce is engaged in wage employment. A
significant portion of the urban workforce works for unpaid family business.
More than 40% are self-employed in the informal economy, most of which live on
the edge of poverty.
In urban areas, about 26% of the workforce is officially unemployed, a figure
believed to underestimate the real situation.
The TVET strategy makes it clear that unemployment among the youth is significantly
higher than the rest of the workforce. Generally it is said that there is a substantial skill
gap throughout the economy, especially in economic sectors with a higher skill level and
outside of Addis Ababa.
2. Formal, Non-formal and informal TVET sector in Ethiopia
TVET is seen as an overarching term to describe all modes of formal, non-formal and
informal training and learning below higher education provided by all government and
non government providers. The TVET aims to provide more TVET opportunities to a
wide range of different groups including, school leavers, dropouts, people without formal
education including illiterates, entrepreneurs and employees, farmers and their families,
people from marginalized ethnic groups and other groups.
Realizing the need for skilled human power, it has been envisaged that:
“Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) in Ethiopia seeks to create
competent and self-reliant citizens to contribute to the economic and social development
of the country, thus improving the livelihoods of all Ethiopians and sustain ably reducing
It was with this vision that measures were taken to expand the formal and non-formal
TVET program across regions and Woredas. Formal TVET has been provided mainly to
secondary school leavers. Working people have also been benefiting from the program
through evening classes and distance learning. Non-formal TVET has been offering
training to a wide range of groups.
Informal TVET sector is also recognized and described as those operations which are
unregistered and operating on a very small scale and with a low level of organisation. The
informal sector operates without fixed locations or in small shops, outlets or through
home-based activities. The government has little or no direct involvement in informal
TVET in other words it is not supported, or regulated by the government.
2a. Facts and figures
The Formal TVET Sector
According to the Education and Training Policy (ETP), the formal TVET system of the
country requires completion of a tenth-grade education to obtain certificate, diploma and
advanced diploma upon completion of the levels 10+1, 10+2 or 10+3 of the TVT
program. In order to provide options for the increasing number of school leavers, the
Government embarked upon a massive expansion of formal TVET since 1993. Between
1996/7 and 2006/7, the number of TVET institutions providing formal and non-
agriculture TVET increased from 17 to 388, and enrolment from 3,000 to 191,151. Of
these, over 30% were trained in non-government TVET institutions. Around 60% of
formal TVET is provided in the form of regular programmes and 40% in evening classes.
Despite the enormous expansion of formal TVET program, it only caters for less than 3%
of the relevant age group. Enrolment figures in formal TVET programmes show a
considerable gender disparity with about 43% female students. Besides girls are over
proportionately represented in commerce and typical female occupations such as textiles
and hospitality, and underrepresented in traditional technical occupations. In 2004/05,
42,000 trainees were enrolled in agriculture TVET programmes and some 10,000 in
teacher training institutes and colleges. It is believed that more students were enrolled in
agriculture and teacher training institutes in the follow up years.
The growth of enrollment in formal TVET institutions could be observed from the table
Table: Number of students by sex and gender
2002-03 2003-04 2004-05 2005-6 2006-07
Male 37,377 45,798 51,940 61,415 107,327
Female 34,785 41,360 54,396 62,142 83,824
Total 72,162 87,158 106,336 123,557 191,151
% of females 48.2 47.5 51.2 50.3 43.9
Average 30.2 24.6 27.6 30.0
Source: MOE, Annual Statistical Abstract 2008.
Note! The actual enrollment data could be higher than that shown in the table above since
data from Afar, Somali, Gambela and Harari regions was not included.
The table shows that there has been steady increase in the number of students enrolled in
formal TVET training institutions. The total enrollment that was only 72,162 in 2002/03
became 191,151 in 2006/07. The annual average increase was 28.1%. Definitely this is a
big success story. However, compared to the youth population in need of TVET training,
there is a need for the establishment of a large number of formal and non-formal TVET
Gender: In the last seven years, female enrollment has also significantly increased in
TVET centers. There have been years when the gender gap was in favor of girls and other
times in favor of boys. It could be said that the gender gap was not consistent. The
number of female students was lower than male students in 2003/03 and 2003/04 and it
was greater in 2004/05 and 2005/06. It sharply widened in 2006/07. The reason for this
is not yet clear.
Generally, it is important to examine the gender gap and take measures that could bridge
the gap. It is also important to examine the types of trades girls are enrolled in. As it is
often said girls should not be limited to traditional female stereotype roles. They need to
equally participate in all vocational areas including the prestigious ones.
The following table provides a more detailed 2006/07 enrollment figures in TVET
centers by region
Table Distribution of enrollment by region
Region Total NO. TVET No of teachers Teacher-student
Enrollment centers ratio
Tigray 19,420 40 862 1:23
Afar - - - -
Amhara 29,830 61 1,238 1:24
OROMIA 52,596 103 1,768 1:30
Somali - - - -
Benshangul 3,707 14 188 1:20
SNNP 36,198 63 1,155 1:31
Gambela - - - -
Harari - - - -
Addis Ababa 45,195 98 1,742 1:26
Dire Dawa 4,208 9 130 1:32
Total 191,151 388 7,083 1:27
In 2006/07, the number of TVET institutions owned by the government and private
sectors was reported to be more or less equal. The table also shows the disparity in terms
of teacher student ratio the lowest being 1:20 and the highest 1:32.
Twenty broad vocational areas have been identified for the TVET program by the MOE.
Over 163 trades were also intended under the twenty vocations. The table below shows
the number of the trades identified and the levels at which the trades are provided.
No. Occupations Number Levels at which the trades will
of trades be provided
1 Construction 18 Level iii (6); Level iv (7)
2 Electricity/electronics 7 Level iii (3), Level iv(3)
3 Metal manufacturing 3 Level (iii) (2); Level iv (1)
4 Automotive 5 Level iii (2); Level iv (3)
5 Textile technology 7 Level ii (1); Level iii (4); Level
6 Leather technology 11 Level iii(6) Level 4 (5)
7 Agro food processing 23 Level iii (3) Level iv (5)
8 Industrial laboratory 5 -
9 Business and services 10 Level iii (3); Level iv (5)
10 Hotel and tourism 9 Level iii (3); Level iv (4), Level
11 Information-communication 5 Level iii (2); Level iv (2), Level
technology v (1)
12 Metrology 3 Level iii (1); Level iv (3), Level
13 Health 16 Level iii (1); Level iv (13);
14 Culture 8 Level iii (4); Level iv (3) Level
15 Craft 1
16 Transport 14 Level I ( 2), Level ii (3) Level
iii ( 3); Level iv (6)
17 Defense 10 Level iv (10)
18 Water technology -
19 Agriculture -
20 Sport -
The number of trades is not yet exhausted, more could be identified. Currently the formal
TVET institutions are providing about 39 trades in regular, evening and distance learning.
There is great disparity in terms of trades offered by the different regions. It ranges from
6-39 in regular classes 5-18 in evening classes and 2-11 in distance learning in
government institutions. The training areas provided in non government organizations
range from 4 - 28 in regular classes, 1-24 in evening classes and 6 to 16 in distance
learning. A one year training program is organized for the 10 + 1 program certificate
students, a two year program for 10+2 diploma students and a three year program for
10+3 advanced diploma students.
The Ministry of Agriculture runs 25 of the 388 TVET centers. It enrolled more than 20%
of the students (35,365) in 2006/07. The percentage of enrolled female students from the
total was 13%. The MOE also runs agricultural TVET programs. The major trainings are
animal science, plant science, natural resources, animal health and co-operatives.
At the beginning of the launching of the TVET program, the Ministry of Education was
in charge of identifying the vocational areas and the specific trades offered under each
vocation. It was also responsible for developing training materials centrally. It could be
said all training centers were using similar materials for the same training areas. It is
envisaged that taking existing experiences of other countries could promote the country
to the technological and economic development level that others have reached as much as
possible within the shortest period. Thus, with the technical support of GTZ experts, the
experiences of Australia and Philippines have been adapted and used as a bench mark.
Occupational standards were developed for all the trades being provided in formal TVET
institutions with the involvement of stakeholders. The Ministry of Education has also
facilitated the development of occupational standards for vocational trainings provided by
the Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Culture and Tourism,
Ministry of Defense, Road Authority and a few others
TVET curriculum is no more centralized. Each training institution is accountable for
developing its training materials based on the centralized occupational standards. It is
facilitated, monitored and evaluated by regional TVET Bureaus or Commissions.
Developing training materials has become a challenge for all TVET institutions. To curve
the problem, model training materials have been developed and disseminated. However,
training institutions are seen using old materials and the model materials without much
change. The government expects all training institutions to develop materials that reflect
local needs and environments.
The other major problem observed in curriculum development was the continuous change
made in it. At the beginning, all training materials were prepared centrally and used by all
institutions with similar in puts and processes. That was changed shortly by occupational
standards which were prepared for 10+1, 10+2 and 10+3 program. Lately the
development of the occupational standards has been re-categorized into five levels i.e.
Level 1, Level 2, Level 3, Level 4 and Level 5 packages. This has created a feeling of
discomfort on both developers and implementers and is seen as wastage of time and other
The Level 1 and Level 2 training packages are developed for students who drop out
before completing grade 10 and for those not entitled to enroll in the 10+1, 10+2 and
10+3 program. The Level 1 and Level 2 packages are short term programs for those who
need to acquire specific skills and enter the world of work
As has been pointed out earlier, trainees are offered certificate, diploma or advanced
diploma program that is provided for one, two and three years respectively. The program
has career development opportunity for those who deserve it after giving service in the
world of work. In this regard, one of the major challenges is trainers’ capacity. Many of
the trainers are said to be old timers and lack the creativity and practical skills to
competently give the desired training using the new equipments available in TVET
A number of short term training has been organized to capacitate trainers. The
government has made efforts to bring expatriate trainers who could bridge the gap. Yet
many feel that care be taken in the selection and deployment of expatriates and more
efforts be done to continually upgrade the capacity of local trainers.
The other challenge with regard to TVET training is the lack of opportunity for
Practicum. There are no adequate number of factories, production units and other
opportunities for attachment. The few that are available are not willing to provide
Facilities and equipment
It is said that many of the government TVET training institutions are well equipped and
furnished. Most contacted individuals appraise the effort made by the government to
support and facilitate the formal TVET program.
Experts feel that there is plenty of opportunity for self employment of TVET trainees. It
is very difficult to accept this assertion unless labor market assessment and tracer studies
are made. As it stands very little is known about the whereabouts of x-graduates since
tracer studies have not been made.
The Non-formal TVET
For decades short-term non-formal technical and vocational training has been provided to
different groups of youths and adults. Community Skill Training Centres (CSTC),
prisons, farmers training centres, rural appropriate technologies, etc are known non-
formal TVET training centres. The government, NGOs and the private sector have been
running the different training programs. The purpose of all these organizations has been
to build the capacity of the workforce and to alleviate poverty by providing skill trainings
of the poor and improving their livelihood. Unfortunately the scale at which training has
been given was so small that it has not made substantive change on the life of the
majority of the poor
In Ethiopia, some of the known trades given in NFTVET centres include woodwork,
metalwork, tailoring, embroidery, weaving, typing, computer training, driving, etc. These
trades have been given in institutions like Community Skill Training Centres (CSTC),
prisons and other government institutions. However experiences vary across regions in
the country and in other countries regarding the types of trainings given and the modality
under which it is given.
According EECE, Non–Formal TVET is any organized form of training for which the
content and learning aims and targets have been defined. By definition, NF–TVET means
training based on well-defined curricula, either within or without an institution, with or
without guidance from a teacher or trainer.
From the general economic development and the demand for better livelihood point of
view, NF-TVET is considered a broad area of learning that accommodates
learning/training needs of various target groups both in content, scope and depth and goal
orientations. It also includes informal training, e.g. learning on the job or self-learning.
NF – TVET designate every other form of formal technical and vocational education and
training. This includes:
Training over different periods of time – from short-term courses of a few days to
long-term programs of up to 6 months,
Training through different modalities: (institutional, community based, mobile,
link and apprenticeship)
Life skills or add-on components for ABE / Primary Educations
Training for a wide range of target groups:
o Unemployed, youth and adults,
o School dropouts and those with grade 8 - education or lower including
o People potential /active in the informal economic sector,
o People from urban and rural areas,
o Landless poor, and
o Disadvantaged groups
o People with disabilities
Non-formal TVET differs from formal TVET in the following respects:
The educational background of the target groups is different and very diverse.
Teachers/trainers/instructors are so far usually not certified or examined.
There are no standardized curricula to be used in non-formal TVET provision.
The duration of training is usually shorter and varies widely.
Non-formal TVET is more cost effective than formal TVET.
The recent Non- Formal TVET mapping survey report showed that Non- formal TVET is
provided in over 400 government, Private, community and non-governmental
organizations. The number could be much more than this as there is one FTC at every
Kebele (peasant association) level.
The recent Non- Formal TVET mapping survey report showed that Non- formal TVET is
provided in over 400 government, Private, community and non-governmental
organizations. The number is expected to be much more than this as there is one FTC at
Kebele (peasant association) level. The highlights of the findings of mapping survey
study could be observed from the following paragraphs.
Profile of data sources/respondents
NF_TVET training provision is characterized by lack of uniformity in profile of human
power. Differences in qualification and experience of trainers and managers within
government NGO, private and CBO considerably vary.
The majority (18 out of 19) of the NF-TVET coordinators, managers and trainers
Trainers working in the private institutions have better qualification compared to
those working in the government institutions although trainers in government
institutions have long years of experience.
In Addis Ababa, trainers working in NGO and the private institutions have better
qualification compared to Amhara region and Oromia
Profile of training Providers:
The sample training institutions in the three regions mainly consisted of government,
NGO, private and community owned. Of the known different modalities of training i.e.
institutional, community based, mobile, link and apprentice the mobile modality is
observed only in one case. The Save the Children UK is the sole provider of mobile
training to the rural people on woodwork, tailoring, weaving and embroidery. Although it
is known that apprenticeship is being exercised almost in all vocations, there is very little
documentation on how it works, how many are trained and what the benefits are in terms
of self-employment and improving the livelihood of trainees.
Objectives of the training institutions:
There are lots of similarities between the objectives of government and NGO training
institutions across the three regions. Most government and NGO institutions provide
training that will enable poor youth and adults engage in self-employment with the
ultimate goal of improved livelihood of trainees. Disabled persons, people with
HIV/AIDS and poor women are among those who are given training opportunities\by
NGOs and CBOs.
Types of trades provided
Compared to the experiences of other countries, the types of trainings provided in
Ethiopia are very few (only 26 types) in numbers although there is distinct variation in
terms of types of trainings given in government, NGO and private institutions. The major
types of trainings provided in government institutions are basic metal work, tailoring,
knitting and embroidery.
Non- government organizations are giving training on leather craft, heavy machine
operation, metal work, secretarial science and photographing, and private institutions
provide training on wood work, embroidery, hair dressing, food preparation leather work,
car décor, massage, driving, basic computer skills, computer maintenance, and beauty
skills training. The training areas given by community-based institutions are few in
number i.e. trading and family planning.
The target groups of government organizations, NGOs and the private institutions are
diversified. NGOs provide training to different groups. The government institutions in
Addis Ababa provide training for students who drop out from grades 4-8. This includes
HIVAIDS orphans, people living with HIV/AIDS and destitute women who meet the
academic requirement. For women, the academic requirement ranges completion of
In the Amhara region, the target groups are unemployed literate youths and adults and,
land less rural women, HIV/AIDS orphans and victims and poor rural youths and adults
depending on the training center.
All types of training are not given to all the poorest of the poor. Some kinds of trainings
are open to all and some others only to literate youth and adults. For example trainings on
metalwork, woodwork etc. is given mainly for literate youth and adults.
NF-TVET trainees are selected among the following groups. Actually, the training
centers have their own criteria for selecting their trainees.
Dropout youths and adults from grades 4-8.
Unemployed youth and adults
Poor and marginalized adults who could produce supporting letters from Kebeles.
Disciplined and free form socially disvalued habits
Interested to get training.
Completion of grade 8 education
Youth and adults with disabilities
No one criterion is sufficient for recruiting trainees. Most training institutions employ a
combination of criteria to recruit their trainees. What is common to all institutions except
the private ones is being poor and having the interest and potential to be self-employed
after completion of the training programs? Since the private institutions are profit makers
they enroll all those who could afford to register.
Availability of training manuals
All the government, NGO and private NF-TVET providers develop or adapt the available
TVET curriculum. The training institutions have reported that the available curricular
materials i.e. modules and manuals respond to contemporary market needs. However, it
has to be noted that market oriented training provisions require continually developing
and renovating the curriculum. In this regard very little is known.
Accordingly, the curriculum materials used by most training institutions are adapted from
those developed by the MOE, Education Bureaus or TVET Commissions. It is up to the
training institutions to take the whole or part of training modules and adapt and prepare
their training manuals. For example: training on welding could take more than six months
whereas arch welding could take only three months. Thus a training institution that is
interested to give training on arch welding could take that part from the module and
provide the training.
Market assessment and training needs:
All the government, NGO and private training institutions claim that what they have
provided so far is need based training. However, none of them were able to produce
evidences of need assessments they have made.
Trade preference of trainees:
Trades given in government institutions are few in number and fixed. Trainees may apply
for the available trades. Most of the time, the number of applicants exceeds the available
space. In such instances training institutions are obliged to assign trainees using a lottery
system and these forces trainees to accept what is available. The situation is quite
different in the private institutions since trainees pay tuition fee. They have the freedom
of choosing the trade they want. The private institutions also provide training based on
current market demands. The situation in NGO institution is also somewhat different
from government institutions. Trainees join trades they prefer. The problem in this regard
is availability of limited space. This makes NGO and private institutions preferable and
attractive compared to government institutions.
In Addis Ababa, facilities in the training centers are not adequately available. Most
institutions lack ventilation and safety features, workshops, and in some cases latrine for
trainers and trainees. There are problems in relation to maintenance and security of
equipment. In contrast water and training manuals are available in all institutions.
In Oromia workshops, latrine, water, ventilation, training manuals, tools and equipment
are available in the most of the training institutions. In contrast, the state of the conditions
of classrooms, stores and safety features are categorized as poor.
In Amhara, most training institutions are poorly facilitated in terms of workshops,
ventilation, training manuals, tools and equipment and safety features. 25% of the
training institutions have poor water and latrine services.
Condition of Buildings
The state of the condition of buildings of the training institutions fall under two
categories. There are buildings that are in good condition and useful. There are also old
and dilapidated ones that require maintenance though still being used. In some cases
compounds are very narrow.
In most cases the available equipment are reported to be in good condition and are still
useful. However, government institutions are known for using too old equipment that has
been used for decades. The present situation requires the use of up to date and adequate
equipment. In a fast changing technological world, it is important to bring in new
equipment and make trainees familiar with and use them.
The main sources of fund for the training institutions are government allocations,
donation, tuition and income generating activities. However, it was very difficult to get
exact information on sources of budget and amount obtained.
Adequacy of the budget:
Most government institutions have reported that they don't get adequate budget that
enables them to give training all year round. They need adequate fund for the purchase of
raw materials, payment of external trainers, follow up of x-trainees require adequate
budget. The same thing is true with CBOs.
The available data didn’t enable to calculate the unit cost in the training institutions. The
unit cost and the length of training depends on the nature of the training. Generally, the
issue of unit cost requires conducting a special an in-depth study.
Enrolment in training centers/institutions:
There is no documented statistical data on enrolment, drop out and retention on NF-
TVET institutions at Federal, Regional as well as institutional level. Very little is known
about how many trainees have completed their training, self and wage employed and
unemployed. The lack of statistical information is even more serious in private and NGO
run training institutions.
Generally class-size varies from institution to institution. In some cases the number of
trainees is as low as 7 and 8. There are class-sizes in the ranges of less than 10; 10- 20;
21-30; 31-40; 41-50 and in a few cases 51-70.
The class size varies with the type of training given in general, the availability of spaces
and training materials and equipment. It could be said in most cases teaching loads are
very low. For example in Oromia class-size ranged from 10-20 in 11 institutions, 21-30
in eight and was found above 30 only in a very few institutions.
On the job training given to trainers:
In most cases trainers were given only 3-5 days on the job training. In Addis Ababa, all
training institutions had on the job training for trainers that lasted not more than three
days. The trainers of trainers were employees of government, NGOs and private
institutions. The training given covered the range of issues indicated in the above table.
It could be said that on the job training was not given to trainers in the Amhara and
Oromia regions. The only exception was the Serbo CSTC that has reported of getting on
the job training on welding and beekeeping. The training was given by Jima Teacher
There is an acute shortage of skill trainers, coordinators and supervisors in the country.
The only college which has been giving training to NF-TVET personnel is the Jima
Teachers Training College. Trainees successfully completing the training program
become trainers and coordinators of CSTCs. The other college that is preparing itself to
produce NFTVET trainers is the Debere Marcos Teacher Education College. The
maximum number of TVET personnel that the two colleges could produce every year
will not exceed more than 100. If all become trainers and train 20 persons every year, the
total number of trained persons will become 2000 in one year and 20,000 in ten years. On
the other hand the untrained labor force is currently estimated to be 26% of the 35 million
work forces. Let alone the national need, the training personnel of the sample training
institutions are not yet met.
Duration of training and proportion of theory and practice
The proportion of time investment on theory and practice is 20% and 80% respectively. It
ranged from 30% to 70% in a few cases too. This demonstrates that more time is invested
on practice rather than on theory as expected. Except the beauty skills and decoration
training, the training period for the other trades range between 5 months to 8 months.
What is common to all is the weekly contact hour, which is 20 hours.
Trainees’ centeredness of training:
Most trainers claim that the training they give is based on market demand, training needs,
institutional and trainers' capacity. The actual delivery of the training given is trainees
centered. This is also acknowledged by most of the trainees. The very fact that most of
the training is practical makes the training trainees centered since trainees are the main
actors in the exercise.
Continuity of trainings given:
Institution based NF-TVET providers are reported to have been under serving and
resources are poorly utilized due to unclear local level policy directions and
implementation strategy. Private and NGO based training providers are relatively
working better due to their interest to make profit.
Trainees' performance on technical trades is assessed based on their practical
performance. Trainees taking metal work, woodwork, embroidery, etc are evaluated
based on their competence. The performance of trainees is continually assessed using
checklists and other techniques to evaluate their practical performance. In contrast
trainees taking non-technical trades are assessed based on their theoretical knowledge and
practical skills. However, training institutions that give computer, training, business
training relies on continuous assessment. Assessment of trainees' performance could an
issue for follow up study. There are some training centers like the Nazareth prison where
assessment of trainees' performance is made on both theory and practice. In prisons like
Nekemte and Jima, it is based on purely practical performance.
Quality of the training
The quality of training provided was evaluated using four criteria on a three point rating
scale i.e. high (H), medium (M) and low (L) and it was found that both trainees and
trainers are satisfied with the training given. However many raise the question why are x-
trainees not productive or making use of their training? Some argue that X-trainees didn't
develop positive attitude during their training and others feel that there are no job
opportunities. This appears a serious issue for all training centers to consider.
In all the regions, Government, NGO and private institutions don't get any support in the
form of cash, labor or material from the community with exception of Serbo CSTC in
Oromia. This may not be due to lack of cooperation from the community. It appears that
the institutions have not made attempts to get support from the community.
There are a number of success stories. In many cases, NF-TVET x-trainees are organized
in cooperatives and provided loans to start their own income generating activities. This
has helped many to become successful entrepreneurs. For example the unemployed youth
trained in Wonka CSTC got a loan of Birr 49, 283 to be paid in three years time through
government collateral. The group bought their machineries and started its business. There
are also many individuals who made fortunes by starting their own business.
Ownership: There are NF-TVET centers/institutions that are owned by the government,
NGOs, private organizations and the community. The modality of delivery in some cases
is institutional, community based, and apprenticeship. One of the training modalities was
found also to be to be mobile.
Informal TVET training:
Informal (on-the-job) training is widespread, but due to the absence of a systematic
assessment and certification system there are currently no mechanisms to recognize
informal occupational learning. Traditional apprenticeships in the small and micro
enterprise sector constitute another presumably important, yet entirely un-researched,
2b. Policies: A number of policy documents related to TVET trainings are available.
Some of these are the PASDEP, the TVET strategy and the Education and Training
Policy. The main aspects of the documents are highlighted in the following paragraphs.
The PASDEP’s main thrust is to fight poverty through accelerated economic growth, to
be achieved mainly through commercialization of agriculture as well as economic growth
and employment creation through private sector development. To this end, TVET is
expected to play a key role in building the required motivated and competent workforce.
PASDEP envisages TVET to provide the necessary “relevant and demand-driven
education and training that corresponds to the needs of economic and social sectors for
employment and self-employment”. The Strategy stresses the need for an increasing role
and involvement of the private sector and non-governmental organisations, as well as
community based organizations in the delivery of desired educational services.
The TVET revised strategy: The overall objective of the National TVET Strategy is
stated as “to create a competent, motivated, adaptable and innovative workforce in
Ethiopia contributing to poverty reduction and social and economic development through
facilitating demand-driven, high quality technical and vocational education and training,
relevant to all sectors of the economy, at all levels and to all people.” This is more
specifically stated as the National TVET Strategy aims to:
Create and further develop a comprehensive, integrated, outcome-based and
decentralized TVET system for Ethiopia
Strengthen TVET institutions in view of making them Centres for Technology
Capability, Accumulation & Transfer
Create a coherent framework for all actors and stakeholders in the TVET system
Establish and capacitate the necessary institutional set-up to manage and implement
TVET in ensuring quality management system (QMS)
Improve the quality of TVET (formal and non-formal) at all levels and make it
responsive to the needs of the labour market
Facilitate the expansion of relevant TVET offers which are crucial to national
Strengthen the private training provision and encourage enterprises to participate in the
Empower women and rural people through skills development
Ensure equal access of women and people with special needs to TVET
Strengthen the culture of self-employment and support job creation in the economy, in
particular in the emerging regions
Develop a sustainable financing system for TVET with efficient and cost-effective
delivery systems and management structures
Build the necessary human capacities to effectively manage and implement TVET
For guiding the development and implementation of the TVET system, the following
guiding principles are also stated in the TVET strategy.
a) Demand orientation i.e. consideration of responding to the competence need s and
qualification requirements in the labour market.
b) Quality relevance: Striving for the highest quality and relevance of TVET
c) Equal access and equal opportunity: Increasing access to learning opportunities for
all target groups while ensuring quality.
d) Pathways: Creating the possibilities of career progression and continuation of
e) Flexibility responding to the changing occupational requirement and
accommodating different demands of various groups.
f) Life long learning: Extending opportunities for all time learning.
g) Gender sensitivity: Providing access to females to all TVET programs.
h) Contributing to fight against HIV/AIDS: Awareness creation and training about
preventive measures in all programs.
i) Contributing to environmental protection.
The Industrial Development Strategy of 2003 highlights the tremendous human
resource deficits in Ethiopia being a major reason for the low state of industrial
development. It calls for efforts to raise the quality of the Ethiopian workforce to
international standards, to reverse the previous marginalization of industrial professions
in the TVET system, and to put a substantial focus on building a culture of
entrepreneurship and preparing people for self-employment.
2c. Education Sector Plan
The Education Sector Strategy Programme (ESDP) III outlines a comprehensive
development vision for the TVET sector. It makes it clear that the TVET graduates were
not meeting the expectations and demands of economic sectors at the time the document
was developed and issued out.
ESDP III has allocated a total of 3,000 million ETB to TVET over a five-year period in
order to further increase enrolment rates, strengthen quality assurance, improve teaching
methods, invest in physical infrastructure, equipment, training materials, libraries and
ICT facilities, build centres of excellence and assessment centres, curricula and training
material improvements, and other investments.
The quantitative growth attained in terms of the number of TVET institutions and
enrolment in the sector has been considerable.
2d. Main Actors
TVET operates at the interface of different sectors of society notably the education
sector, the labour market, industry, MSE sectors, agriculture and rural development and
public administration. Various actors are needed to play a major role in the following
functions of TVET system.
Policy development and policy drafting and reviewing through participation in
different bodies and panels.
Financing through contributing resources to the TVET system.
Quality assurance through active involvement in the setting or occupational
standards and conducting occupational assessment.
TVET delivery through the provision of training to their own staff, offering
internships to trainees and providing apprentice training.
Monitoring and evaluation
The most important actors identified by the MOE include:
Employers, both private and public
The business sector
Representatives from the MSE sectors
Workers and employees represented by trade unions and professional associations
Public and private TVET providers
Civil society and NGOs
People living and working in rural areas by relevant associations
Teachers and instructors in the TVET system
Trainees and their families.
2e. Key donors and interventions
The GTZ is the major donor in providing technical and financial assistance for the formal
TVET program. It has been facilitating local and abroad training for TVET training.
Locally it organizes short term training by bringing trainers form Germany and other
countries. German experts are involved in planning the TVET program and are
considered as major support providers.
The Chinese government also provides technical and other forms of assistance for the
formal TVET program. It has provided trainers that are assigned in various training
institutions. The Chinese government has built and furnished the center of TVET
excellence in Addis Ababa.
The government of Ireland has also been assisting the TVET program financially. The
Korean and Italian governments have also been providing support in training trainers.
Others like UNESCO have also shown some interest to support the TVET in terms of
curriculum development although they didn’t pursue further their involvement.
Nevertheless there appears a need for more support for the TVET program.
IIZ/DVV has also been supporting the Non-Formal TVET program. It has been
capacitating colleges that provide training for CSTC coordinators and Women
Associations facilitating trainings for livelihood earning. It has also been providing short
term trainings and running workshop for different groups engaged in non formal
The TVET system encourages private investment in TVET institutions. Many private
TVET centers have been created. Still the government is promoting the involvement of
the private sector through the involvement of companies by:
Stimulating private investment in TVET
Cost saving through increased efficiency in the delivery of training.
Government budgetary allocations and funds provided by foreign donors
f. Demand and supply
The Available formal TVET institutions provide training only for less than 3% of the
appropriate age group. As well known, only a small proportion of those who complete
grade join colleges and universities. The rest enter the world of work unprepared after
completing grade ten.
It has been pointed out that the youth unemployment in urban areas is considerably high.
Similarly rural youth unemployment is also growing due to shrinking land holding. If the
youth has to be self employed or engaged in microeconomic activities at family level and
in cooperatives demand driven and market based Non Formal TVET programs needs to
be extended for it.
The development of training materials is left for trainers in both formal and non
formal TVET centers. The study has high lighted that the majority lack skills for
developing their own training materials. They need to be guided and be given
training on training materials development. Otherwise the current trend of
relying old materials will continue affecting the quality of training provided.
Training of trainers is another issue that needs the attention of policy makers and
planners. As it has been indicated earlier most trainers lack proficiency in
planning and providing training to their trainees. This may require organizing
more short term and long term trainings.
Facilities and equipments are lacking for providing diversified skill trainings at
non-formal TVET centers. There is a need for the diversification of the
vocational trades given at NF-TVET centers.
The need for Non formal TVET is enormous. It could take ages to meets the
needs of the rural youth through institutional training. The modalities of Mobile
and link trainings need to be explored. This could be facilitated by making CBO
centers of training.
Unemployment is a serious problem. Those who got TVET training don’t find
jobs or are self employed. It is obvious that the job market is not yet well
developed and can’t absorb all. It appears that there is and need for more job
creation. Those who would like to become self employed also need support in
different forms i.e. financial, material, moral etc.
The number of NGOs supporting the TVET program is few. Advocay and
lobbying work is required for soliciting more fund. The few local NGOs have
serious budget constraints to support TVET programs.
3. Labour market in Ethiopia
This labor market study summarizes the status of the labor market in the main sectors of
the economy including the share of the informal sector in employment and income
creation in urban areas. The assessment summarizes the points outlined in the TOR using
available data and official documents. Therefore, the picture provided here might not be
full and complete with regard to depth of coverage and analysis, but it highlights what
potential it has for the present and future development of the labor market.
3.1 Facts and Figures
According to the 2007 Central Statistics Report, the total population is estimated at
79,221,000 of which 50.1 % male and 49.9 % female1. About 17 % of the total
population is urban and the remaining 83 % is rural. About 50 % of the population is
between the ages of 15 and 54 and 4 % of the population is over the age of 60.
Twenty three percent of the urban population resides in the capital, Addis Ababa; the
remaining urban population is distributed in 10 regions and administrative centers.
The economy is characterized by its dualistic nature: the traditional small holding
subsistence agriculture and the modern sector which consists of public employment,
manufacturing and service sectors.
Statistical Abstract, CSA, 2007
The agricultural sector economic activities are dominated by subsistence crop and
livestock productions. Exportable agricultural commodities including sesame, coffee,
cotton, vegetable and spices are also cultivated in many parts of the country. In
2006/2007, the agricultural sector contributed 45 % to GDP and accounted for 80 percent
of all exports, mainly coffee, oilseeds and processed and semi-processed hides and skins.
The modern economic activity is concentrated in urban areas. The sector includes all
sizes of manufacturing agro processing industries, such as textile, beverage and food
processing, construction, quarrying and service sector. The service sector activities are
dominated by distributive and non production services including retail, hotel, health,
education, banking and finance. In 2006/2007, manufacturing, mining, trade, tourism,
construction, services and others made up 55 percent of GDP.
Over 36 percent of the urban population lives below absolute poverty line and urban
unemployment rate is estimated at 16 percent. Unemployment is the highest in the age
group 15 – 19 years and age group 20-24. About 80 percent of employed youth work in
the informal sector, many of whom are unpaid family workers. Unemployment rate for
women is higher than men both in urban and rural areas.
Self employment represents about 42 % of the total employment in the country, followed
by government or public sector employment (18 %). Private business employment
accounts for about 15.7 % of the total formal sector employment. The informal sector
contribution to the GNP was estimated up to 40 % and its share of total employment is
estimated at 70 %.
Generally, the capacity of the Ethiopian economy is small to absorb the growing labor
force entering the market at various levels of the system. Over the past ten years, the
urban economy grew at an annual rate of approximately 2 percent per capita, significantly
lower than the average urban population growth. The highest growth was registered
within the service sector, banking and insurance (9 percent), health and education (8 and
7 percent respectively), transport and communication (7 percent). Within industry sub
sector, construction grew at 8 percent while manufacturing growth was limited to 3
3.2 Formal/Informal Economy and Employment
Like elsewhere in developing countries, the labour market is highly segmented between
the informal and formal sector employment. The official definition of informal sector
economy and employment is household establishments not officially registered as
business and do not have business licenses or fixed place of business. The informal sector
economic activity generally overlaps with the small cottage industries and micro and
small enterprises and absorbed the largest segment of the labour force. About half of the
operators are in the age group of 25 to 44 years of age. A significant percentage of urban
youth and women generate earning and employment from this sector economic activities.
Informal sector employment comprises the self employed mechanics, domestic workers,
real estate and other financial intermediaries, daily labor, small food and beverage,
clothing enterprises, street vendors of all types including neighborhood outdoor food
markets, small scale bar and restaurant services and seasonal farm labor. Because of the
heterogeneous nature of the sector, many of the operators engage in one or more line of
businesses. The informal sector contribution to the GNP of Ethiopia is estimated up to 40
% and its share of total employment was estimated at 70 % (1999).
The formal sector urban employment and economic activities are comprised of self
employment, public sector employment and private business employment. Self-employed
people draw income from trade and service business activities they operate personally.
Public sector employment play major role in job creation and in facilitating economic
growth. The private business employment constitutes employment in industrial and
manufacturing, service and trade and transport sub sectors.
3.3 Employment and Unemployment
Ethiopia is confronted with rapid population growth and high rate of unemployment.
Currently, the size of the population is estimated at 79,221,000. The average population
growth is estimated at 2.9 % and urban population growth is projected at 4.9 % percent
a) Rural Employment
About 83 % of the population is agrarian, where close to 80 % generate employment and
income. Although it is difficult to assess the unemployment rate of the farming
population due to the traditional and family-based nature of the sector, unemployment is
likely to be high and productivity low as a result of outdated farming techniques,
dependency on rainfall and limited development of farming infrastructure.
Table 1 – Rural Employment by Sex and Production Type (2005/2006 production year)
Production Type % of Women % of Men Total
Crop production 15.2 8.6 9.9
Livestock 9.5 2.8 4.2
Mixed 75.3 88.6 85.9
Total 100.0 100.0 100.0
Source: Statistical Abstract, CSA (2007)
Of the total rural farming households, 9.9% are engaged in crop production, 4.2 % in
livestock and 85.9 % in mixed agriculture (i.e. crop and livestock production).
Percentages of women participating in crop and livestock production exceed percentage
of men in both activities and slightly lower than men in mixed agriculture.
b) Urban Unemployment
The growth in population and higher unemployment rate puts constant pressure on urban
economies for creation of new and additional employment opportunities and for effective
service delivery systems to accommodate the growing urban needs.
Currently, over 36 percent of the urban population lives below absolute poverty line.
According to the latest CSA report on Urban Employment Unemployment Survey, urban
unemployment rate has declined from 20.6 % in 2005 to 16 % in 2006. The decline in
unemployment rate could be due to increased employment created by Micro and Small
Enterprises promotion and due to increase in number of persons attending school.
Unemployment is the highest in the age group 15 – 19 years and age group 20-24. From
the total unemployment, these two age groups together account for 45 % of the
unemployment. Unemployment rate for women is higher than men both in urban and
rural areas. The average employment rate is 56 percent. Underemployment is also the
other major feature of the urban labor market.
Table 2 - Distribution of unemployment as percentage of total by educational level
Education level %
Literate Non formal 10.6
Grade 1 -8 10.5
General education 16.9
General education 17.1
Above diploma 7.2
Source: Employment Unemployment Survey (2006), CSA
c) Urban Employment
In 2006, employment to population ratio was estimated at 48.8 %, of which 59 % for
male and 40.7 % for female. The total employed urban population is estimated at
3,836,812, of which 54 % male and 46 % female. The dominant form of urban
employment and economic activities are comprised of self employment, public sector
employment and private business employment. Self-employed people are referred to as a
person who works for himself/herself instead of an employer, drawing income from a
trade or a variety of business activities they operate personally. In urban areas, a large
portion of self employed businesses are engaged in service and trade related activities and
occupations. As indicated below in table -2, self employed economic activities represent
about 42 % of the total employment in the country, followed by government or public
sector employment (18.3 %). The private business employment constitutes employment
in industrial and manufacturing, service and transport sub sectors. Over the past ten
years, the urban economy grew at an annual rate of approximately 2 percent per capita.
The highest growth was registered within the service sector, banking and insurance (9
percent), health and education (8 and 7 percent respectively), transport and
communication (7 percent). Within industry sub sector, construction grew at 8 percent
while manufacturing growth was limited to 3 percent. The following table depicts the
formal sector employment structure and composition by employer (sector) type.
Table –3 Structures / Composition of Employment by Type of Employer and Sex
Employer % of Total Male % Female
Government 18.3 21.2 13.2
Parastatal 2.1 2.5 1.3
Formal Private Sector 15.6 19.4 13.8
NGOs 1.9 1.8 1.4
Domestic 9.9 2.5 12.4
Self Employment 42 40.2 43.4
Un paid Family 8.6 8.7 12.7
Total 100 100 100
Source: Employment Unemployment Survey (2006), CSA
Table 4 – Education Level by Employment Type
Employment Illiterate Non Grade Grade Non General Beyond Some Total
F0rmal 1-4 4-8 Compt Complt general higher
Govt 5.4 0.7 3.7 13.6 6.1 28.6 18.3 23.6 100
Para 13.7 2 6.7 20.3 6.8 26.13 10.6 14 100
Pvt 17.8 1.8 11.3 29.8 7.4 21 4.5 6.6 100
NGO 7 3.1 5 17.3 5.9 25.1 12.1 24.5 100
Domestic 51.5 3.1 20.5 17.6 2.2 4.3 0.6 0.2 100
Others 22.5 12.2 14 26 3.6 14.3 2.7 4.7 100
Coop 18.6 4.8 14.7 36.6 4.3 16.4 2.4 2.2 100
Self emp 40.4 4.1 12.6 26.9 4.4 9.5 0.9 1.1 100
Source: Urban labor Market in Ethiopia: Challenges and Prospects, the World Bank (2007)
d) Public sector employment
The public sector employment has expanded significantly after the introduction of the
decentralization system of government. The expansion was concentrated at regional and
local levels. As a result, the overall share of the public sector in total wage employment
is relatively higher compared to regional level private sector wage and employment. At a
national level, the sector’s employment represents about 17.5 % of the total urban
employment, accounting for almost one in five of urban formal workers. The sector is a
major market for skilled workforce, absorbing about 68 percent of employment among
those with higher education. For positions below professional level, job security is a key
advantage in public sector employment.
e) Private Business Employment
According to 2008 CSA Report on Large and Medium Scale Manufacturing Industries
Survey, In FY 2006/2007 there were 1443 industries engaged in manufacturing activities
including food products, beverage, textiles, wood products and basic steel and equipment.
In the same report, summary of operations of manufacturing industries by ownership
indicated that about 10 percent of the large and medium industries are owned and
operated by government.
Table 5 – Number of Establishment by Industry and Share of Employment, 2005/2006
Industry Type # of establishments % No. of % share
Share Empl. of
Food and 381 0.26 46,443 0.34
Textile and 145 0.10 37,740 0.27
Paper & Printing 117 0.08 8161 0.05
Wood & Furniture 270 0.18 7,979 0.005
Chemicals & 64 0.04 7055 0.005
Rubber & Plastic 64 0.04 7639 0.005
Non Metallic 284 0.19 11,386 0.08
Basic iron & Metal 70 0.04 5471 0.04
Machinery, 47 0.03 3360 0.02
Others (tobacco) 1 - 755 -
Total 1443 1.0 136,043 1.00
Source: Report on Large & Medium Manufacturing Industries, CSA (2008)
More than 26 % of the industries are concerned either with primary or processed food
and beverage production, 19 % in non metallic mineral production, 18 % in wood and
furniture products, 10 % in textile, leather and clothing and the remaining 27 % are
engaged in plastic, chemicals and manufacturing of tools and equipments including
vehicle assembly. Overall, establishments in the sub sector offered employment
opportunity for about 136,043 persons. Women constitute 26 % of the total employment
of the sector. From the total establishments, only 469 companies employ over 50
workforces, 390 between 20 and 49 employees and 584 companies between 10 and 20
Food processing is one of the dominant production activities in the manufacturing sub-
sector. It includes 9 industrial groups consisting of 381 factories (26%) and 46,443
employees (34%) of the total share of the manufacturing sector. Sugar processing
industries are the largest in food processing industries, the establishments jointly
generates 35% of employment in the sub-sector.
Eighteen percent of food processing establishments are owned by government. They
contribute 71% of employment in the sub sector. Foreign investment in the sub-sector
constitutes only 5.3% of the total. The technologies employed in the sub sector are very
old and productivity is rather very low.
The small scale manufacturing industries are broadly defined as establishments having
less than 10 employees and use power driven equipment to their operation. According to
the CSA report of small scale manufacturing industries survey of 2006, in FY 2005/2006
there were 39,027 manufacturing and processing industries including grain mills
providing employment for a total of 129,592 persons2. The table below illustrates persons
engaged in small scale manufacturing activities by employment type and sex.
Table 6 – Employment in small scale manufacturing by type and sex (2005/2006)
Type of Employee Total # % of % of % of
Total Male Female
Unpaid family 51,476 37.0 37.99 52.43
Unpaid apprenticeship 4,420 3.41 3.10 5.68
Paid apprenticeship 2,965 2.29 2.47 0.09
Permanent employee 62,193 47.99 48.95 40.93
Seasonal & temporary 8,538 6.59 7.49 -
Total 129,592 100.0 100.0 100.0
Source: Report on Small Scale Manufacturing Survey, CSA (2006)
Of the total employees, about 76 % had training of various types including on the job
training. Of the total trained workforce, those who have formal training including
university level education constitute 93.2 % of the workforce.
Overall the manufacturing and agro processing sector is very small and weak to provide
wide and open employment opportunities to the growing urban population.
Report on Small Scale Manufacturing Industries Survey, CSA, 2006
F) Service Sector Employment
Economic activities concentrate on private health services, insurance and banking, whole
sale and retail trade, hotels and restaurants, communications and information technology
services as well as freight and public transportation services. Expansion in banking and
insurance services as well as hotel and restaurant businesses provided employment and
income to significant number of urban population and businesses. In 2005, the service
sector employment represented about 20.7 % of the total urban employment.
g) Construction Sub-sector
Construction and infrastructure development projects account for substantial portion of
public investment in the local economy. Since the launching of Road Sector
Development Program (1990), expenditure on road construction has significantly
increased both in absolute and relative terms. Projects undertaken by the Federal and
Regional Roads Authorities created employment and income for daily labor, micro and
small businesses engaged in metal and woodworks, masons, drafts man, small and
medium size building contractors and construction machinery and equipment rental
service businesses. In 2005, employment in the construction sub sector represented about
5.7 % of the total employment.
h) Micro and Small business (MSE)
The national urban development strategy treats MSEs as one of the main instruments for
fostering urban economic development and creation of jobs. The MSE Offices under the
Bureau of Trade, Industry attempt to broaden employment opportunities in the urban
centers by encouraging and supporting self-employment through labor intensive
workshops and businesses requiring low amounts of start-up capital. Examples are wood
and metal workshops making furniture and low-tech agricultural implements.
Although official national documents are not used to measure actual performance of the
MSE sector in creating jobs and employment, from news reports and region based survey
results, there is a general understanding and consensus that the sector has helped in
increasing employment and improving household incomes in many parts of the urban
areas. For example, according to the November, 2004 survey conducted by the Micro
and Small Enterprise Office of Tigray National Regional State (TNRS), of the total
number of micro & small enterprises operating in the region, 71 % were engaged in
wholesale and service activities and the remaining 39% were involved in a variety of
handcraft and retail businesses. Of the total of 18,547 surveyed in 10 major cities of the
region, excluding Mekelle, 5% of the businesses have a capital of over Birr 10,000, 4 %
have a capital between Birr 5,000 and 10,000, 24 % between Birr 1,000 and 5,000 and
the remaining have less than Birr 1,000 in capital. In terms of job and employment
creation, based on the rough data collected in 23 surveyed cities, 85 percent of the
businesses employ family members and 15 % are recruited from outside their families 3.
TNRS Urban Development Strategy, the Urban Institute, 2006
i) AGE and Gender Specific Employment
Only about half of Ethiopia’s 2.4 million urban youth were employed in 20054. Many
youth seem to enter the labor market via low quality jobs or unemployment. About 80
percent of employed youth work in the informal sector, many of whom are unpaid family
workers. Youth with better skills have better access to employment: in 2005, only 27
percent of illiterate youth were in paid employment against 61 percent of the high skilled.
Skills mismatch is another problem facing youth. In 2005, 36 percent of highly skilled
15-24 year olds were in non-professional jobs.
Women represent almost half of the total population and employment. Like elsewhere in
other developing countries, rural women in Ethiopia are active in both domestic and farm
activities. The share of women in non agriculture employment stands at 40.6 %. They are
underrepresented among white collar workers – while they represent almost half of total
population and employment, their combined share in “technicians and associate
professionals”, “professionals” and “legislator senior officials and managers” does not
exceed 30 percent. Women earn less than men: given the same observable characteristics,
women are likely to be paid 22 percent less. At the same time, decompositions of
inequality of earnings across gender and educational levels show greater heterogeneity
among women, which means that some women do better, others do much worse5.
3.4 The Main Actors in Labour Market
The Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs (MoLSA) is responsible for planning and
coordinating employment promotion activities and play significant role in matching
labor demand and supply.
The Labor Advisory Board composed of representatives of the labor union and
concerned ministries, such as Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs, Ministry of Justice
and Ministry of Trade and Industry is concerned in matters related to labor law, labor
condition, employment and occupational safety.
The Confederation of Ethiopian Trade Unions is the only institute representing
workers interest in the country. It consists of 9 federations organized under 445 basic
The Employers Association is composed 64 enterprises and 4 employers associations.
Urban labor Market in Ethiopia: Challenges and Prospects, the World Bank (2007)
Urban labor Market in Ethiopia: Challenges and Prospects, the World Bank (2007)
3.5 School to Work Transitional Services and Practices
Public employment services are provided by Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs
(MoLSA) and its regional branches. Through these offices suitable candidates are placed
in available public sector positions in urban areas.
Graduates of government operated TVET programs focused on agriculture and health
extension services are deployed as extension workers or Development Agents / experts in
the rural areas with the respective government bureaus and offices of the ministries (MoH
and MoRDA) upon graduation.
Through Micro and Small Business Development Offices, TVET graduates trained on
construction areas are assisted to engage in self employment ventures, such as building
construction material supply, sub contracting for installation of electrical and plumbing
systems in government initiated condominium housing development projects in major
For non agriculture non health TVET graduates and other regular schoolling fields,
private sector employment recruitment is made through news paper ads, vacancy notices
on bulletin boards and word-of-mouth referrals from family and friends. Employment
seeking candidates also go door to door to inquire about employment opportunity or to
submit their CV’s to potential employers for future considerations.
School to work transitional services, such as employment, orirnetation, counseling,
training on job search skills, referrals and job placement are not available in many parts
of the urban areas. Job fairs and career workshops are not regularly held to promote and
facilitate adequately the labor market demand and supply information. Lacking adequate
labor market trend information limits Job seeker’s ability to discover and learn about the
labor market demand and skill requirements.
Currently, both private and public regular education and training institutions show less
interest in linking education and training to labor market trends and directions. They have
little or no information on the type and quality of skills demanded by the labor market.
They have no mechanism to monitor and track their student transition to the labor market
or they seem to care less for what happens to their graduates after leaving school.
Absence of formal employment services and lack of basic labor market information
resulted in mismatch of employment in the labor market; which also puts into question
the quality of education and trainings as significant number of both TVET and regular
school graduates become under employed or unemployed.
3.6 Demand and supply for the labour Market
Presently Ethiopia has not developed a good periodic Labor Market Information System
for tracking the labor market activities and needs. Lack of this vital instrument makes it
difficulty to produce a reliable projection of the labor market demand and supply as it
exists now. However, general factors such as public and private spending on investment,
introduction of new technology, population growth and distribution, education and
training and availability and access to labor market information have significant impact
on the demand and supply of labor. Mismatch on Labor demand and supply usually occur
as a result of imbalances among the factors listed above.
CSA defines economically active population as all persons aged ten years and over who
were employed or unemployed in a given period of time. Based on this definition, in
2006, the size of economically active population is estimated at 4,603,862 million, a 3
percentage point increase from 2004. Similarly, the urban population growth rate is
estimated at 4.9 % per annum. This fact indicates that there are a large number of new
entrants into the labor force.
The size and quality of urban labor supply is also reportedly increasing. In particular the
skills profile of the urban workforce has been rising. In 2005 three quarters of youth had
at least four years of schooling. Generally, the composition of employment and labor
force is changing in line with the overall decline in illiteracy and increase in supply of
Despite improvement in supply of quality and quantity of the workforce, the supply of
labor seems to exceed the demand in formal labor market. The reason behind this
disequilibrium is slow growth of formal private sector economy, particularlly the
manufacturing sub sector development, to accomodate and absorb the fast growing urban
population employment needs.
The 2005 National Labor Force Survey conducted by CSA indicate that although wages
and benefits are lower, self employment appears to be the major source of employment
to siginificant portion of the skilled labor force in urban areas. Therefore, given the nature
and structure of the economy, currently demand for labor is majorly made up of the self
employment and informal sector employment. Furthermore, absence of established
insititutions to provide employment information and employment related services also
constrained smooth flow of information on existing labor market.
3.5 Issues Related to Labor Market
Diversification and development of the manufacturing sector of the economy to
play a very important role in creating and expanding employment opportunities
for the growng population.
As it stands now, the informal sector is one of the major providers of jobs and
income for the urban and rural population. Efforts should be made to gradually
and voluntarily bring informal-sector businesses into the formal sector, and use
its potential to generate formal employment and increase household income.
Inability to link education and traing to labor market demand reults in mismatch
of employment or underemployment. Thus, Improvement in the quality of
TVET trainings and structiral linkages to industries will increase chaces of
employment for graduates.
To improve school to work transition;
Concerned authorities should develop, insititutionalize and publish periodc
labor market information and trends
Formal education and TVET institutions should make an effort to learn and
follow current labor market demand and trends to reflect and act according to
industry needs and requirements
Regular schools and vocational training instiutions producing candidates for the
labor market should consider establishing career couselling and placement
departments to assist graduates in finding employment and to monitor and track
transition of students from school to work.
To address youth unemployment and to facilitate easy entry into the labor
maarket, well planned and monitired apprenticeship program shuld be
developed and implemented.
4. Lessons learned from previous interventions/approaches and good practices
The government has issued useful policy documents necessary for development
and implementation of both formal and non-formal TVET programs. This
leadership role has to continue in consultation with stakeholders.
The vocational areas and the specific trades of training have been identified
learning from the experiences of other countries that have rich experience and
consulting representatives of stakeholders. This collaborative action is bases for
linking training to the world of work
The decentralization of the development of training materials at training center
level is a necessary introduction for producing skilled workers based on local
demand. As has been stated in this document, better job opportunities available
appears to be self employment, engagement in family business and small micro
enterprises. Thus trainings provided need to be linked to these sub sectors of
A considerable number of the skilled labor force is facing problems of
unemployment. Although the major reason for this is lack of employment
opportunity, the efforts to provide need based and demand driven training has to
Apprentice ship is said to be not as effective as desired. Industries, production
units and offices are not committed in providing apprentice services to trainees.
This may require introducing incentive mechanisms to apprenticeship providers
and employers. Financial and other ways of providing incentives based on the
experiences of other countries need to be introduced.
School to work transition is smooth only in situations where the government
trains student for specific job opportunities. In other cases it is left for the student
to find employment in the market. However most students lack knowledge f
where to go and apply. In this regard, the problem could be alleviated by
providing counseling services.
Studies made on the TVET program are almost inexistent. Documentation,
research and evaluation outputs appear to be neglected. This needs to be the
concern of all stakeholders.
Conducting tracer studies and providing counseling services could give learning
opportunities for trainers to give run effective TVET programs.
5. Practical and policy challenges
The major challenges facing the TVET program have been well documented in the TVET
strategy. With some little modifications the major ones are the following.
5.1 In a population of more than 79 million, it is unknown how many Ethiopians in total
have access to relevant TVET in particular non- formal and informal TVET. It is
assumed, however, that demand by far exceeds the current supply and that the majority of
the population is not reached by TVET offers at the moment. In particular, TVET
accessible to school-drop outs, unemployed, workers in industry and the MSE sector,
prospective entrepreneurs, people living in rural areas and women is in very short supply.
5.2 Most TVET provisions in Formal and Non Formal TVET institutions is said to be still
of low quality and theory-driven due to resource constraints and lack of skilled TVET
teachers. A systematic integration of TVET with the world of work has not yet been
achieved. Most curricula used in formal TVET were not developed based on occupational
5.3 The plan for attaching the TVET programmes to industrial plants has not fully
materialized. The cause problem is mainly lack of cooperation of the employers as they
were not consulted during the planning process. Solving this problem requires further
5.4 Studies have shown that many TVET graduates remain unemployed even in those
occupational fields that show a high demand for skilled manpower.
5.5 Most TVET teachers/instructors have relatively low formal qualifications, severely
affecting TVET delivery at higher qualification levels. Besides, existing TVET
teachers/instructors are (mostly) inappropriately practically skilled, i.e. not competent to
provide TVET in accordance with the occupational standards..
5.6 Under-funding is a structural problem in the TVET sector, particularly in the public
system. Costs of TVET will remain high, if it is to be provided as centre-based training,
which is still the predominant mode of TVET delivery in Ethiopia. As a consequence of
budgetary constraints, most urban public TVET programmes are under-funded while
rural public TVET programmes suffered from poor facilities and shortages of training
5.7 The Non Formal TVET system has not been able to fully meet the training needs of
the increasing number of youths and adults, Primary and Secondary school leavers, drop
outs illiterate adults. This is further threatened by the deep rooted traditional attitudinal
outlook towards crafts and craftsmanship. The latter is known as the main cause
underutilization of Non TVET in particular CSTCs.
5.8 There have not been documented evaluative studies ever since the new occupational
standards have been implemented. The lack of adequate and appropriate quantitative and
qualitative information on labour market needs and other areas has created a gap in the
generation of information that could have been used for improving practice and policy.
5.9 Resource shortage is a critical issue in the Non- Formal TVET centres run by the
government. Lack of adequate place of work and running costs are the major challenges.
6. SWOT of key actors of TVET and labor market
It is an obvious fact that training institutions have strengths, weaknesses, opportunities
and threats for being more effective and efficient in delivering their services. These are
summarized in the table below.
ssue Strength Weakness Opportunities Threats Proposed
Policy Available - Government commitment Lack of Conducting studies
conducive on policy
Curriculum Availability of Lack of Readiness to improve the Lack of skill in Providing training
occupational standards competency for occupational standards developing to trainers on
preparing training with the involvement of training material training materials
materials at the stakeholders development
Facilities and Gvt formal institutions Up to date facilities Government willingness Budget limitation Mobilize the
equipment are better of compared and equipment are support of
to others required stakeholders
Training of Availability of training Competency of Recognition of trainers in Lack of Provide continuous
trainers institutions trainers competencies competent on job TOT.
trainers of trainers organize local and
Main actors Government Limited There is plenty of room Lack of Create more and
organizations Private involvement of the for involvement of transparency more opportunities
sector, NGOs, and private sector and different actors for involvement of
Community are NGOs different
involved in the stakeholders
provision of TVET whenever necessary
Transition Some trainees have job Not providing Self employment, micro A considerable Provide training
from school guarantee training on based enterprises and family number of based on market
to work on demand and business graduates of the demand
supply principle different training Facilitate
centers lack opportunities for
employment self employment.
opportunities Transform the
informal sector to
formal sector by
creating trust and
Demand and There are efforts to In adequate job The effort being made to The slow Create more job
Supply produce skilled labor opportunities attract local and external development of opportunities
force based on market investors the economic
Information Availability of Lack of information Availability of - Generate up to date
Educational Annual consultants informations by
Abstract, CSA conducting
publications different types of
7. Opportunities for future improved harmonization of different actors (TVET)
The availability of clear policy direction is a good opportunity for extending both formal
and non-formal TVET programs for all those who would like to run the business.
Measures taken by the government indicate that there is willingness to meet all policy
The Ministry of Education has been creating plenty of opportunities for involving
different stakeholders in the planning and implementation of the TVET program. It has
been closely working with other Ministries, Regional Education Bureaus, Universities,
Colleges, and production units. It has also the support of a few NGOs and bi lateral and
multilateral organizations. There is a strong need for the involvement of NGOs and
The need for training trainers serving in the formal and non-formal TVET institutions is
high. Facilitating and equipping the institutions with up to date training gadgets is also
essential. These are areas in which stakeholders could give support.
One of the weaknesses of training institutions is linking training to market needs. NGOs
and donors could play key role in providing technical and financial support to the training
organization by entering collaborative agreements. Generally there is plenty of room for
stakeholders’ involvement at regional TVET commission and training institutions levels.
As it has been explained earlier, the government, NGOs, private organizations and the
community are running formal and non formal TVET programs. What they all have in
common are the occupational standards. Otherwise, they all appear to be following
different directions. There appears to be a need for good coordination so that quality
services could be provided. This requires creating a forum (consortium) in which the
different actors participate. In this regard the Amhara regional ATKLT for could be taken
as the best example. The creation of the forum will help to share experiences, minimize
resource wastage, conduct coordinated monitoring and evaluation activities, etc.
8. The way forward
The majority of the Ethiopian labor force is not skilled. However high level, middle level
and low level skilled human power is needed so that poverty could be alleviated,
economic and technological development could be enhanced in the country. To this end,
the various policy documents emphasize the need for expanding both the formal and non
formal TVET programs so that the country could emerge as one of the countries where its
people enjoy economic prosperity and improve their life conditions. However, this is
confronted with a number of challenges that seek solution. The following
recommendations are hoped to curve some of the problems being faced.
There is a big demand for TVET training as only one percent of age group is
currently getting some form of TVET training. This makes it necessary to
establish, facilitate and equip more and more TVET centers. In this regard, NGOs
and the private sector need to play more role as the government has budget
The increasing number of girls participating in the TVET program is encouraging.
However, it is important to examine the gender gap in terms of trades and take
measures that could bridge the gap. It is also important to ensure that girls are
participating in all types of vocational training
There is variation in the number of trades across regions. A wide range of trades
need to be available at training institutions so that students could get the
opportunity to choose the area of their interest.
Trainers available at both formal and non-formal TVET centers are lacking
practical competency. Alleviating the situation requires serious practical training
for existing trainers. Care has also to be taken in the recruitment and deployment
Well developed training manuals are lacking in both Formal and Non-Formal
TVET centers. This is due to trainers’ inability to prepare their own training
materials. Trainers need training and coaching in the development of training
materials. In this regard the MOE should take the leading role and other
stakeholders should provide supporting the form finance, availing trainers, etc.
Budget shortage is a cause for not providing training all year round at non formal
TVET centers. It is also affecting the quality of training provided. In addition to
government and NGO support, training centers themselves have togenerate their
The proportion of time spent for theory and practice seems sounding. However,
one doubts its practicality since most of the trainers tend to make the training
more theoretical since they lack practical skills. This could be amended by the
apprenticeship program provided it is coordinated and made effective.
Apprenticeship is affected by lack of cooperation from factories and other
production units. Winning their support requires more creating awareness,
conducting advocacy work and introducing incentives.
Trainees are frustrated by the lack of employment opportunities. The economic
development and the expansion of formal TVET centers need to be closely
monitored. The idea of self employment sounds good but there are many practical
problems that affect its realization like lack of land and shelter, lack of seed
money and low level of community’s purchasing power. All these issues need to
be carefully studied and solved.
Linking TVET provision to local development could also solve the problems of
seed money, revolving fund, provision of land, etc.
The non government organizations, bi lateral and multi lateral organizations
supporting the TVET programs are few in number. In this regard, the MOE needs
to carry out intensive advocacy work and win their support.
Foreign investment in the sub-sector constitutes only 5.3% of the total. Winning
foreign investment could create more job opportunities. Thus, the government
needs to strengthen existing efforts to attract more and more foreign investment
by introducing motivational mechanisms and loosening all bottlenecks.
Expanding the job opportunities require diversifying and developing the
manufacturing sector of the economy. In this regard, the government needs to
encourage private investment by loosening all bottlenecksand paving the way for
its rapid growth.
The human power engaged in the informal sector has to be capacittated through
short term tailor made training programs. For this the opportunities needss to be
created, extended and advocated. The ultimate goal being gradually and
voluntarily bringing the informal-sector to the forefront. The informal sector
could provide plenty of opportunity for formal employment provided the
government encourages the sector in terms of tax trust in becoming legal entities.
Linking TVET to the labor market demand is of prime importance for both
employment and growth in the conomic sector. The two should feed with one
another in harmony.
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