ERIC Number: ED362455
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1993-Apr-14
Reference Count: N/A
Research Perspectives on African Education and the Informal Sector.
This paper is concerned with the human capital theory of education as it is employed in designing, justifying, and funding African educational programs. According to this theory, where the most measurable and direct relationships between the world of work and that of school are purported to exist, those individuals who invest in education are thought to become more productive workers and earn higher incomes. Opportunities for employment in the "formal sector" are shrinking; self-employment provides the largest share of jobs. The "informal sector" is a loosely defined term that encompasses an ubiquitous heterogeneous phenomenon: it refers to the labor of small firms and individuals, often with minimal resources. It crosses gender and class backgrounds, and engages a wide variety of individuals with a highly diverse set of educational properties. Educational characteristics include (1) entrepreneurs, usually the best educated; (2) wage earning firm workers who undergo an informal apprenticeship; (3) independent workers engaged in areas like shoe, bicycle, and watch repair, who are difficult to train, often illiterate, and too poor to afford opportunity costs and transportation; and (4) casual workers such as domestics, gardeners, and construction laborers, most of whom are illiterate and learn skills only incidentally on the job. This fourth group is often the entry point, socializing young people into the working world. This document surveys the empirical data available and concludes that there is a considerable demand on the part of microentrepreneurs to learn specific aspects of their business and technical skills. The increasing levels of literacy in Africa may not aid in creating more efficient vocational education. Lack of monitoring and evaluation criteria has been a major weakness of vocational education in Africa. (DK)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (Atlanta, GA, April 12-16, 1993).