IGM research on school-to-work transition of university and TVET graduates in Mozambique presented at second LDC Future Forum

The second LDC Future Forum — organized by the United Nations Office of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States (UN-OHRLLS) and the Government of Finland — took place on 5-6 March in Helsinki, Finland. The event was entitled ‘Innovation for structural transformation in Least Developed Countries’ and its objective was to brings together researchers, partners, and policymakers to explore how to harness innovation, digitalization and technology to foster structural transformation and sustainable development in LDCs. 

Ricardo Santos, UNU-WIDER Research Fellow and Resident Advisor in the Inclusive growth in Mozambique programme (IGM), participated in a panel discussion entitled ‘Building innovation capacity through investments in education and skills development’ on 5 March by presenting on the capacity of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) education to enhance productivity and structural transformation in Mozambique.

In his presentation, Dr Santos referred to the findings of recent IGM studies on the school-to-work transition of university and Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) graduates in Mozambique which show that the labour market absorbs STEM students quicker and with a higher wage than others. However, there is less access to STEM education outside of Maputo, and women are less likely to be employed in these sectors. According to Dr Santos, both issues need to be addressed as they increase inequality and reduce opportunities for innovation-induced productivity. 

The presentation was followed by a discussion on the importance of the quality of education and learning in increasing secondary and higher education completion and providing future generations with the skills that will enable them to take full advantage of and contribute to the ongoing digital transition. This was considered crucial in view of reducing the technology divide between richer and poorer countries and accelerating structural transformation in the LDCs. 

The event gathered a wide audience which included policymakers, researchers, development partners, permanent representatives to the UN, as well as civil society and the private sector from around the world.