This paper was presented at the 13th 'UKFIET International Conference on Education and Development' that took place in Oxford September 2015. The central theme of this conference was: 'Learning for Sustainable Futures – Making the Connections'.
Written from the practitioners’ perspective, this paper examines the reform of Secondary Technical Education in Ecuador – a reform that is embedded in the broader political agenda of Buen Vivir, the Ecuadorian government’s answer to mainstream sustainable development discourse. As a touchstone to “test” the Secondary Technical Education reform, the paper uses the conceptual framework that emerged from the 2012 Third International Congress on Technical and Vocational Education and Training, and specifically the metaphor of the three lenses for analysing and guiding the transformation of TVET systems recently developed in Unleashing the Potential: Transforming Technical and Vocational Education and Training (Marope et al., 2015).
The authors agree with Marope et al. (2015) that in the long term the governance of TVET transformation towards sustainable human development may be even more important than the content of the reforms. Hence, particular attention is paid to the recent process of Secondary Technical Education policy formulation and implementation as a means to understand how TVET governance is changing in Ecuador. The paper notes concerted efforts to improve the evidence base, involve stakeholders in policy development and expand partnerships for implementation as noteworthy features of the policy process. However, it also shows that from the early stages onwards, there has been a tendency to narrow down the Buen Vivir agenda to a predominantly economic narrative. To ensure this is balanced with equity and environmental sustainability concerns, the paper calls for a further broadening of stakeholder participation and the creation of new types of partnerships.