R57 Recommendation concerning Vocational Training
Geneva, 27 giugno 1939
The General Conference of the International Labour Organisation,
Having been convened at Geneva by the Governing Body of the International Labour Office, and having met in its Twenty-fifth Session on 8 June 1939, and
Having decided upon the adoption of certain proposals with regard to vocational training, which is included in the first item on the agenda of the Session, and
Having determined that these proposals shall take the form of a Recommendation,
adopts this twenty-seventh day of June of the year one thousand nine hundred thirty-nine, the following Recommendation, which may be cited as the Vocational Training Recommendation, 1939:
Considering that the Preamble to the Constitution of the International Labour Organisation mentions the organisation of vocational and technical education among the reforms necessary for improving the conditions of labour;
Considering that the International Labour Conference has already to a certain extent dealt with this problem, particularly by adopting at its Third Session (1921) a Recommendation concerning the development of technical agricultural education and at its Twenty-third Session the Vocational Education (Building) Recommendation, 1937;
Considering that at its Nineteenth Session the Conference, by adopting the Unemployment (Young Persons) Recommendation, 1935, favoured the generalisation of measures for vocational training, and that it was as a result of a resolution adopted during that session that it was decided to include in the agenda of the Conference the question of the vocational training of workers in all its aspects;
Considering that the effective organisation of vocational training is desirable in the interests of workers and employers alike as well as those of the community as a whole;
Considering that the rapid transformation of the economic structure of, and conditions in, various countries, the constant changes in the methods of production, and the widening of the conception of vocational training as a factor in social progress and in the general culture of the workers, have in a number of countries led to a fresh examination of the whole of this question and have given rise to a general desire to reorganise vocational training on the basis of principles better adapted to present requirements;
Considering that, in these circumstances, it is particularly desirable at the present time to state the principles and methods which each Member should apply on its territory, with due regard to the special requirements of the different branches of its national economy and of the different occupations, as well as the customs and traditions of the country, and subject to further special measures that might be required in respect of vocational training for certain branches of activity such as agriculture or maritime transport;
The Conference makes the following recommendations:
Part I. Definitions
1. For the purpose of this Recommendation:
(a) the expression vocational training means any form of training by means of which technical or trade knowledge can be acquired or developed, whether the training is given at school or at the place of work;
(b) the expression technical and vocational education means theoretical and practical instruction, of whatever grade, given at school for purposes of vocational training;
(c) the expression apprenticeship means any system by which an employer undertakes by contract to employ a young person and to train him or have him trained systematically for a trade for a period the duration of which has been fixed in advance and in the course of which the apprentice is bound to work in the employer's service.
Part II. General Organisation
(1) The work of the various official and private institutions in each country which deal with vocational training should, while ensuring free play to initiative and adaptability to the requirements of the different industries, regions and localities, be co-ordinated and developed on the basis of a general programme.
(2) This programme should be based on:
(a) the occupational interests and cultural and moral requirements of the worker;
(b) the labour requirements of employers;
(c) the economic and social interests of the community.
(3) In drawing up this programme due account should also be taken of the following factors:
(a) the stage of development reached in general education and in vocational guidance and selection;
(b) changes in technique and methods of organisation of work;
(c) the structure of, and trend of development in, the labour market;
(d) national economic policy.
(4) The co-ordination and development referred to in subparagraph (1) should be undertaken on a national scale with the organised collaboration of the authorities concerned with the different aspects of the problem mentioned in subparagraphs (2) and (3), and of the interested parties, including more particularly the occupational organisations of employers and workers.
Part III. Prevocational Preparation
(1) Compulsory education, which should be entirely general in character, should provide for all children a preparation developing an idea of, taste for, and esteem for, manual work, these being an indispensable part of a general education and likely to facilitate future vocational guidance.
(2) The proposed preparation should aim, in particular, at training the eye and hand of the child by means of practical work, but the importance and character of this work should be consistent with the general purposes of compulsory education. In drawing up the programme of practical work, the nature of the principal industries in the locality or district might be taken into account, but any attempt at vocational training should be avoided.
(3) This preparation, which should extend over a period of at least one year, should begin at the latest at the age of thirteen years and continue until the end of the period of compulsory education.
(1) In order to determine the occupational aptitudes of the child and to facilitate the selection of the future labour supply, there should be available to children who intend to enter an occupation requiring vocational training of long duration, and in particular to those who propose to become apprentices, a preliminary preparation constituting a transition from general education to vocational training.
(2) This preparation should take place after the completion of the period of compulsory education: Provided that where the laws or regulations in force in the country concerned fix the school-leaving age at not less than fourteen years, this preparation may be undertaken during the last year of compulsory education.
(3) The duration of this preparation should be determined with due regard to the occupation concerned and to the age and educational qualifications of the young person.
(4) In the curricula for this preparation, particular importance should be attached to practical work, but such work should not be given precedence over the theoretical courses or courses in general education. Practical and theoretical instruction should be so arranged as to be mutually complementary. The preparation should, by aiming at the general development of the pupil's intellectual and manual capacities and avoiding undue specialisation, make it possible to determine for which of a group of occupations he is best suited to undergo full training. Practical and theoretical instruction should be so arranged as to secure continuity between this preliminary preparation and subsequent vocational training.
Part IV. Technical and Vocational Education
(1) A network of schools should be established in each country, adjusted as regards number, location and curricula to the economic requirements of each region or locality and affording the workers adequate opportunities for developing their technical or trade knowledge.
(2) Measures should be adopted to ensure that, in the event of economic depression or financial difficulty, the supply of trained workers necessary to meet future requirements is not imperilled by a reduction in the facilities for technical and vocational education. For this purpose, consideration should be given particularly to the grant of subsidies to existing schools and to the provision of special courses to make good the loss of opportunities for training caused by unemployment.
(3) In countries in which a sufficient number of vocational and technical schools has not yet been established, it would be desirable that undertakings of such a size as to make such arrangements practicable should meet the cost of training a certain number of young workers determined according to the number of workers employed by the undertaking.
(1) Admission to technical and vocational schools should be free.
(2) Attendance at such schools should be facilitated, as circumstances require, by the grant of economic assistance in such forms as free meals, provision of working clothes and implements, free transport or reduction in the cost of transport, or maintenance allowances.
(1) Courses should be organised in several grades, adjusted for each branch of economic activity to the training requirements of (a) journeymen and similar grades, (b) staff in intermediate grades, (c) managerial staff.
(2) The curricula for the courses in the different schools and for the different grades should be so co-ordinated as to facilitate transfer from one school to another and to enable promising pupils with the requisite knowledge to pass from a lower to a higher grade and to obtain admission to higher technical education at a university or equivalent institution.
8. The curricula for technical and vocational schools should be so drawn up as to protect the future vocational adaptability of the workers and for this purpose it is particularly desirable:
(a) that the primary object of the courses in the earlier years should be to give the pupil a sound basis of theoretical and practical knowledge, avoiding excessive or premature specialisation; and
(b) that care should be taken to enable the pupil to acquire a wide grasp of the theoretical principles underlying the practice of his occupation.
(1) In technical and vocational education of all grades, subjects of general educational value and subjects relating to social questions should be included in the curricula for full-time courses and, so far as the time available permits, for part-time courses, other than special short courses for adults.
(2) The curricula should include courses in domestic subjects, attendance at which might be either compulsory or optional for young workers according to circumstances.
(1) Workers of both sexes should have equal rights of admission to all technical and vocational schools, provided that women and girls are not required to engage continuously on work which on grounds of health they are legally prohibited from performing, a short period on such work for the purpose of training being, however, permissible.
(2) Appropriate facilities for technical and vocational training should be provided for occupations in which women and girls are mainly employed, including domestic employments and activities.
Part V. Vocational Training before and during Employment
(1) Where the nature of the occupation, the methods of operation of the undertaking, the absence of an adequate system of apprenticeship and traditions of craftsmanship, or other local circumstances, make it impossible for young persons to secure satisfactory vocational training while in employment, such training should be given in full-time schools before they enter employment.
(2) Where young persons are given vocational training in the conditions referred to in the preceding subparagraph, the practical training should be given in surroundings as similar as possible to those of an actual undertaking and, where circumstances permit, should be completed by periods of practical work at the place of work.
(3) Where vocational training is given during employment, it is desirable that separate workshops specially adapted for the purpose of giving training should be set up within the undertaking wherever the size and organisation of the undertaking make such an arrangement practicable.
(1) Opportunities for extending their technical and trade knowledge by attending part-time supplementary courses should be provided for all workers, whether or not they had received vocational training before entering employment.
(2) These courses should, as far as possible, be held in establishments near to the place of employment or the workers' homes.
(3) The curricula for these courses should be adjusted to the special requirements of (a) apprentices; (b) young workers for whom facilities should be provided to enable them to obtain better posts; (c) adult workers who wish to acquire a technical qualification or to extend or improve their technical or trade knowledge.
(4) The time spent in attending supplementary courses by apprentices and other young workers who are under an obligation to attend such courses should be included in normal working hours.
Part VI. Measures concerning Co-ordination and the Supply of Information
13. Close collaboration should be maintained between technical and vocational schools and the industries or other branches of activity concerned, particularly by the inclusion of employers and workers in the governing bodies of the schools or in advisory bodies to the schools.
(1) Local or regional advisory committees should be established to ensure collaboration between the competent administrative authorities and the technical and vocational educational institutions, public employment exchanges and organisations concerned, in particular the occupational organisations of employers and workers.
(2) The duties of these committees should be to advise the competent authorities:
(a) on the promotion and co-ordination of official and private action in regard to vocational training, guidance and selection in the locality or region;
(b) on the drawing up of curricula and the adjustment of such curricula to changes in practical requirements;
(c) on the conditions of work of young persons who are receiving vocational training, whether in a technical or vocational school or in an undertaking, and, more particularly, on measures for ensuring:
(i) that the work done by them is suitably restricted and is essentially of an educative character; and
(ii) that the work of pupils in technical and vocational schools is not intended for commercial profit.
(1) Measures should be taken to supply information to interested persons, by means of brochures, articles, talks, films, posters, visits to undertakings, exhibitions, etc., on the occupations for which young persons can obtain training corresponding with their inclinations and aptitudes, on the conditions upon which such training can be obtained and the facilities that are accorded, and on the advantages offered by each type of training in relation to the prospects of employment and a future career.
(2) The primary and secondary schools, vocational guidance offices, public employment exchanges and technical and vocational educational institutions should collaborate in furnishing such information.
Part VII. Certificates and Exchanges
(1) The qualifications required in the examination on termination of technical and vocational training for any given occupation should be uniformly fixed, and the certificates issued as a result of these examinations should be recognised throughout the country.
(2) It would be desirable for the occupational organisations of employers and workers to assist the competent authorities in the control of these examinations.
(3) Persons of both sexes should have equal rights to obtain the same certificates and diplomas on completion of the same studies.
(1) Regional, national and international exchanges of students who have completed their training would be desirable so as to enable them to acquire wider knowledge and experience.
(2) The occupational organisations of employers and workers should, as far as possible, collaborate in organising these exchanges.
Part VIII. Teaching Staff
(1) Teachers responsible for theoretical courses should be recruited from among persons with a university degree or a diploma awarded after training in a technical school or teachers' training college and should possess or acquire practical knowledge of the branch of activity for which they prepare pupils.
(2) Teachers responsible for practical courses should be recruited from among persons qualified by practical experience, should have extensive experience of the subject they teach, and should be fully qualified as regards both theoretical knowledge of their subject and general culture.
(3) Teachers recruited from industry and commerce should as far as possible receive special training for the purpose of developing their teaching ability and where necessary their theoretical knowledge and general culture.
19. The following methods should be taken into consideration with a view to improving the qualifications of teachers and keeping their knowledge up to date:
(a) the establishment of contacts between undertakings and the teachers responsible for giving practical training as, for instance, by the organisation of regular "refresher" periods of work;
(b) the organisation by educational institutions of special courses which teachers may follow individually and short holiday courses for groups of teachers;
(c) the granting, in special cases, of travelling or research scholarships or special leave with or without pay.
20. Arrangements should be made between employers and educational authorities for the appointment of persons employed in industry and commerce as part-time teachers of special subjects.
R15 Recommendation concerning the Development of Technical Agricultural Education, 12 novembre 1921
R45 Recommendation concerning Unemployment among Young Persons, 25 giugno 1935
R56 Recommendation concerning Vocational Education for the Building Industry, 23 giugno 1937