What is Technical and vocational education?

"Technical and vocational education is used as a comprehensive term referring to those aspects of the educational process involving, in addition to general education, the study of technologies and related sciences, and the acquisition of practical skills, attitudes, understanding and knowledge relating to occupations in various sectors of economic and social life."

In this broad definition, TVET refers to a range of learning experiences which are relevant to the world of work. The learning experiences may occur in a variety of learning contexts, including educational institutions and work places. There are vast differences between the different systems of TVET and their social contexts.

In addition, the increasingly complex demands of globalization, the social and economical changes have significant implications for TVET.

Note: TVET, VET, and Career and Technical education (CTE) are almost identical in meaning. What is most prominently used depends on what part of the world you are talking about. The USA used Vocational and Technical Education until a few years ago when it was changed to Career and Technical Education because it was believed to convey a better image, so these terms can be used interchangeably.

TVET also refers to "deliberate interventions to bring about learning which would make people more productive (or simply adequately productive) in designated areas of economic activity (e.g., economic sectors, occupations, specific work tasks). This is the distinctive purpose of TVET. However, TVET will also have other purposes which are not unique to TVET, and which also apply to other forms of education, e.g., knowledge, skills, insights and mindsets which are deemed to be generally valuable for the learners, not only in designated areas of economic activity. Such “other” aims will be especially pertinent for longer and full time courses for youth — in contrast to short and episodic training events (e.g., for persons already at work in the occupations concerned). TVET also needs to be conducted according to general social norms about how learners and people in general are to be treated by institutions, e.g., that persons be treated with respect. Thus “work productivity” is not the only aim and concern of TVET, but it is its distinctive objective which sets it apart from other forms of education and training.")

“Education” as all forms of deliberate interventions designed to bring about learning, and “training” as interventions specifically aimed to achieve mastery of performance in specified roles or tasks. There is however also in the Western tradition of educational philosophy an original concept of “education” which refers to enabling persons to “realize their potential” across a wide range of valued “human development” (e.g., ideas of “well rounded education”).

Source: UNESCO