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The Technical, Entrepreneurial and Vocational Education and Training Authority (TEVETA) is a regulatory body that was established in July 1999 by an Act of Parliament to direct sustainable acquisition of internationally competitive and recognizable technical, entrepreneurial and vocational skills by the Malawian workforce.

To ensure that this duty is fulfilled, through TEVETA, the government adopted the Competence-Based Education and Training (CBET) in 2006 for all registered technical education institutions in the country to follow.

CBET is a training approach where emphasis is placed on ability of apprentices in TEVET training colleges to perform tasks to the standards set by the industry.

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The main aim is to ensure that a trainee performs practical tasks and fulfils workplace roles on top of theoretical knowledge gained in class.
CBET requires that a student gets hands-on experience of what he/she is studying towards. For example someone studying bricklaying is supposed to successfully perform bricklaying tasks, eg. concreting, plastering and pointing as part of his assessment.
CBET is credit based modular and follows a continuous assessment

Apprentices under CBET also go on industrial attachments where assessment before certification is done. This ensures that the apprentice gets practical experience before graduating.

The system is used all over the world. It may have been introduced under different names in Scotland, Canada, Australia and New Zealand just to mention a few.

• By completing the CBET module a trainee will have gained practical experience apart from theory and is ready for work in the industry.
• By completing the CBET programme a trainee will have gained confidence as he or she prepares to join industry having gone through attachments.
• The CBET system allows a student to work at own pace as he/she works through the modules. If the student is a fast learner he/she can finish the levels as fast as possible, be examined as fast as possible and ready to work in the industry.

• Through CBET the country can be assured of a competent workforce with skills that are currently in short supply in the industry because no student is certified until full completion of all modules.
• The industry is likely to get qualified and experienced recruits from technical colleges because stakeholders from the industry take part in development of CBET curriculum. This means all the materials the students learn under CBET have an input from the industry.
• This has advantages to companies who may want their employees to specialise in a specific skill relevant to them.
• A teacher who is an expert in the field trains, assesses and declares a student successful or failure.
• The decision made by the teacher is further verified by an internal verifier who is an expert in the field and is based at the institution.

• An external verifier who is a practising expert in the field verifies decisions made by both the teacher and internal verifier.
• The external verifier's decision culminates into final certification.
• If this external verifier is satisfied he/she advises TEVETA (awarding body) to release the certificates.

Since CBET is flexible, it allows life long learning. A fast learner in a good environment can obtain a certificate very fast. A slow learner can obtain a certificate after a long time.

CBET is a flexible modular based system where one can attain one or two modules as he or she wishes. Upon completion a student has to attain 120 credits to be certified.

While others may consider the CBET system too involving, TEVETA maintains that the approach is the best since besides its many benefits it gives colleges enough discretion in assessing students.

CBET lets colleges develop and administer their own examinations instead of waiting for an external body to formulate, administer and assess students.

To ensure success of CBET programmes in Malawi, TEVETA is calling for concerted efforts among stakeholders including Colleges, players in the industry as well as students themselves to do their part.

TEVETA is also urging the industry to open up to interns from technical colleges. This will result in the industry getting well trained workforce that has already gone through practical experience gained through attachments during their study.