Steps towards digitalizing skills system in Lebanon

Article | 26 May 2022
Digital technologies create opportunities for technical and vocational education and training (TVET) and skills development’s efficiency, efficacy and impact across all key aspects of the system and services, and not just on teaching and learning, as presented in ILO recent report on Digitalization of national TVET and skills systems: Harnessing technology to support Life Long Learning. The use of digital technologies is also driving change in the tools and modalities of learning, assessment and certification along with the provision of career guidance, job matching and labour market services.

With the ILO support, Lebanon has been making continuous progress in integrating digital technologies in skills provision and services to modernise and achieve more accessible and high quality TVET and skills development that is also more resilient to current disruptions as well as future shocks.

The ILO-led interventions in Lebanon focus on:

· Strengthening career guidance and employability

The ILO, in collaboration with three partners that implement skills development projects in Lebanon – AVSI, Safadi Foundation and Lee Experience – is piloting SkillLab, a mobile app that strengthens employability and paves ways to labour market through skills profiling, career orientation, and job application support. The SkillLab supports trainees to identify and bring out their skills gained through various professional, educational and informal learning and work experiences (e.g. volunteering activities, hobbies, household duties). This enables them to understand their personal skill sets and how they relate to various careers, including identifying skills gaps towards jobs they aspire to, in addition to facilitating job application process by automatically generating detailed CVs and other materials (in various languages). At the same time, SkillLab also supports partners involved in post-training and employment services by providing better insights into beneficiaries’ skills profiles for more effective and personalized career and employment support. The pilot has proved to be successful with 370 beneficiaries (men and women) of skills and entrepreneurship training delivered under Norway government supported Skill-Up (Phase II) and Dutch government funded PROSPECTS projects. The beneficiaries emphasized the value of the app in terms of helping them capture their skills they were not aware of and/or didn’t know how to articulate, in addition to increasing their chances for employment through generating professional and well-designed CV in line with international standards.

· Facilitating and enhancing online learning experience

Under Skill-Up Lebanon (Phase I), 100 Syrian and Lebanese youth received vocational training in five occupations in the construction sector, designed in line with ILO guidelines on non-formal market-based skills training. As a response to COVID-19 and introduced lockdown measures as well as to integrate technology in TVET delivery and improve the effectiveness of learning processes, ILO piloted one of the training programmes – foreman for road maintenance – as online course. 24 youth graduated and received certification from the course. The training included 100 hours of online learning, 50 hours of on-the-job training as well as online assessment. To facilitate the online delivery of training and ensure trainees participation in and completion of training programmes, young people were provided with tablets and internet bundles in addition to ongoing follow-up support from trainers and technical advisors through WhatsApp group. The pilot served to collect lessons learned on workplace adaptability, inclusiveness, coping measures to technological change, quality, and limitations and opportunities. It confirmed the need for integrated and coherent national digitalization strategies, developed through social dialogue, that address both the demand and supply sides of skills systems.

· Tracking training’s impact and digitalizing TVET Management Information System

Building on ILO’s Service Tracker system successfully deployed in other countries, the ILO in Lebanon is implementing a digital tracking system to capture views of trainees and graduates on their skills training programmes and to collect data on their employment outcomes after completing a training programme. The Skills Tracker system, which offers a mobile (SMS) or web-based chat option to allow users to complete surveys on different aspects of skills development, aims to reach over 230 graduates from skills training programme implemented by ILO under Skill-Up (Phase I and II) project. This will provide evidence on the effectiveness of training programmes and, therefore, help to improve the quality and market relevance of skills development, in addition to providing labour market information on occupations that are in demand.

To strengthen TVET system’s planning and reporting, and ultimately improve its quality, ILO, jointly with UNICEF, is supporting the Directorate General of Technical and Vocational Education (DGTVE) in developing and implementing a digital Education Management Information System (EMIS). EMIS will collect information on TVET institutes and schools (including infrastructure), students, teachers, and other staff, including tracking the provision of lessons and students’ attendance, in addition to issuing various certificates as well as educational statistics and reports. As such, EMIS will ensure availability of reliable, timely educational data and information to better monitor the performance of the education and training system and to manage the distribution and allocation of educational resources and services. The EMIS has been piloted in 35 public technical schools under the MEHE; the next step will be a national rollout of the EMIS in all TVET institutes, schools and training centres under the MEHE.

· Creating awareness on workers’ rights through mobile apps to promote decent work

In partnership with the Ministry of Labour, Association of Lebanese Industrialists (ALI) and National Federation of Employees’ and Workers’ Union (FENASOL), the ILO is also developing an interactive, web-based App on the Lebanese labour law and key employment-related regulations. The App, which will be launched soon, aims to ensure better employment outcomes and access to decent jobs for training graduates. Supported by the joint ILO-UNICEF project “Towards improved formal and non-formal Technical and Vocational Education and Training in Lebanon” and by the Italian Agency for Cooperation Development as part of “Improved access to employment opportunities for Lebanese and refugee graduates from skills training”, the App includes: i) an online interactive training programme and awareness raising sessions on the Lebanese labour law; ii) a mobile application with Q&A related to key aspects of the labour law and other employment related issues addressed to employers, workers and to the public at large; and iii) a user-friendly guide/publication that can be downloaded and printed. It will raise awareness of trainees, training graduates and new entrants to the labour market on their rights and responsibilities as workers, addressing important protection issues, as well as other relevant provisions of the Lebanese labour law, such as occupations or jobs available to non-Lebanese. At the same time, it will support training and employment service providers in the provision of training and post training services, ensuring that vocational training programmes or placement in jobs are aligned to the labour market legal requirements.