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22 de June de 2015The challenge of technical education is to generate competencies and skills

Public-private alliances, coordination schemes for the public sector, and the development of soft skills are three of the keys for technical education and professional training in the region 

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In Peru, the inadequately trained labor force reaches 37.5%, so the challenge for technical education institutions is to face informality and create capacities to promote formalization processes both at the level of workers as well as companies. 

This is stated in the report "Educación técnica y formación profesional en América Latina: El reto de la productividad" (Technical education and professional training in Latin America: The challenge of productivity), presented by Diana Mejia, senior specialist in Public Policies and Competitiveness at CAF, Development Bank of Latin America, in the framework of her participation in the CADE Conference for Education, an event organized by IPAE to promote reflection and a generation of proposals so that the educational sector may ensure the alignment of the training provided with the needs of the labor market, in order to guarantee the country's sustained growth. 

CAF's regional study shows that the share of the population with inadequate training in Costa Rica reaches 48.7%, Colombia  47.7%, Dominican Republic 45.8%, Paraguay 43.5%, Ecuador 43.2%, Argentina 42.5%, El Salvador 39.9%, Peru 37.5%, Bolivia a 37.1%, Brazil 34.6% and Mexico 32%.

According to World Bank figures, cited in CAF's study, almost 37 percent of Latin American companies believe that finding a work force with adequate training is one of the main obstacles. 

CAF's specialist states that educational coverage has evolved positively in Latin America in the past 30 years. However, there is still a lag in terms of quality of education and generation of capacities and skills of the labor force with respect to the requirements of companies. 

She stated, "Technical Education and Professional Training (TEPT) has been traditionally analyzed from the point of view of education and labor policies. However, they are currently being evaluated from the perspective of the companies' productivity policies and the competitiveness of the economies, as an essential aspect of growth. In Latin America, it seems that Chile, Brazil, Peru, Colombia, Panama, Costa Rica and Mexico are leading the way". 

However, Diana Mejia states that the labor training systems are still unsatisfactory because they have not adapted to the needs of companies as, on the one hand, they face difficulties to contract personnel and improve their operations and productivity as a result of the lack of a working force with adequate capacities and experience, and on the other hand, companies provide little or no training. 

She stressed, "It is necessary to promote training for work and technical education as a State policy, with the objective of improving competitiveness and the country's development. There is a positive relationship between investment in human capital and economic growth. New capacities and competencies in the labor force lead to an improvement of productivity, thus increasing the competitiveness of companies until they have an impact at a macroeconomic level". 

In addition, she emphasized that to promote this initiative, resources have to be provided for educational institutions and the maintenance of infrastructure. This favors the training of a human capital that responds to the competitiveness demands of the region, for example, for the creation of innovative products, with more value added, or that contribute to more complex processes for the transformation of these products.   

Mejia mentioned that the study recommends the integration of the educational and training systems, that is, integrate curricular designs that interrelate the initial training, continuous training, adult training, and non-formal training, as well as coordinate the training of the teaching staff of both system, among others. 

The specialist explained, "It is important to generate coordination schemes within the public sector entities related to technical education and professional training", while  recommending the establishment of  public-private alliances that may generate incentives for an active participation of the private sector. 

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