Episode 4: Explorations on Vocational Education: The search for a theory on the Capabilities Approach

There’s more to a people than their poverty;
There’s their work, wisdom, and creativity

Ben Okri

This quote by Nigerian/British poet Ben Okri encapsulates the idea of bodies being more than their economic value and economic purpose – there is wisdom and creativity and work wrapped in the human identity. In this episode of Africa in Conversation, Professor Azeem Badroodien talks with renowned scholars in the field of Vocational Education, Associate Professor Lesley Powell and Professor Simon McGrath. In this conversation they explore TVET education in the context of the Capabilities Approach which foregrounds the values of individuals and institutions in the context of an unequal socio-economy.

Lesley Powell is an Associate Professor in the Adult Community Education and Training stream at the UCT School of Education. Her scholarship has largely focused on Vocational Education and Training (VET), with her theoretical interest being the ways in which learning and skills can intervene in poverty to advance the conditions for meaningful and sustainable livelihoods. For more on her work visit here

Prof. Simon McGrath holds the established Chair in Education. Before moving to this role in 2022, I was UNESCO Chair in International Education and Development at the University of Nottingham. He is also visiting professor at Nelson Mandela University, South Africa. He works on a range of aspects of the education-development relationship, particularly on vocational learning and diverse forms of work. For more on his work visit here

Prof. Azeem Badroodien is the Director of the School of Education at UCT. His research interests are in education policy sociology and the enactment of education policy within education and training practice, institutional provision, and in the workplace. His main intellectual interest is in youth, race and criminalisation in South Africa, looking specifically at youth socialisation in residential settings and the links between race and vocational education provision. For more on his work visit here  

Africa in Conversation is a programme of the PEER Network and is produced by Helga Jansen-Daugbjerg and Isha Dilraj.

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Lead Presenter: Helga Jansen-Daugbjerg

Broadcast Date: October 9, 2023