Experts root for technical education at TVET expo

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Embracing Technical and Vocational Education Training (TVET) to bridge the unemployment gap is the way to go for developing economies, experts at a symposium in Kigali have said.

The TVET symposium is part of a week-long TVET expo as part of the country’s campaign to promote technical training among youth.

It attracted local and international experts to discuss various aspects regarding the promotion of technical and vocational education. It was held yesterday at Gikondo expo grounds.

Maria Bernadette M. Ramos, from Philippines, said: “Technical and vocational training has been a major factor in the economic transformation of my country. I encourage developing economies like Rwanda that are trying to bridge unemployment gap to embrace TVET system for a better and sustainable skilled labour.”

She said technical education used to be despised as a career for young people with poor academic records and the perception has led to lack of skilled labour and limited foreign and local investments in developing world.

Ilahi Mansoor, the assistant commissioner for technical education in Uganda’s ministry of education and sports, said closing unemployment challenge requires heavy investment in skilled labour.

“In this era, we should put emphasis in providing skills to young population through vocational and technical education to advance our economies. We are not supposed to import skilled labour from developed countries, we should groom our youth to fill jobs that require skilled labour,” he said.

Valerie Carpenter, from the US said, TVET is the way to go for Rwanda and other economies in the region to address the rising level of job loss.

“Technical and vocational training gives students life skills that can enable them create their businesses and also compete favourably for the international labour market. I really encourage young people to go for vocational training for a better future,” she said.

Serge Blaise Zoniaba, the minister for TVET in Congo Brazzaville, said despisers of technical and vocational education have no idea what they are missing in this era of globalisation.

“We need to join hands as Africans and promote a strong and viable technical and vocational training system for the bright future of our youth,” Zoniaba said.

Albert Nsengiyumva, the State minister in charge of TVET, said both the forum and the expo are aiming at raising awareness about the hidden treasure behind TVET system.

“It’s an opportunity for Rwanda to interact and share experiences and knowledge with other economies that have embraced great technical and vocational education. We are using the platform to strengthen partnership with private sector to promote TVET for skilled labour among Rwandan youth,” Nsengiyumva said.

The meeting also attracted education ministers from Uganda, Burundi, and Congo Brazzaville among other delegates from Burkina Faso, Tanzania, Kenya, and Singapore.

Success story

Germany, Switzerland, Korea, Australia and Japan have registered success in the promotion of technical and vocational education system, which has enhanced labour skills among the nationals.

In 2008, Rwanda embarked on building a viable and strong TVET to promote skills development among the youth and reduce import of skilled labour from other countries.

The move is also aimed at curbing unemployment which is presently estimated at eight per cent.

“The current global trend requires young people looking for jobs to have skills that are relevant to the labour market. We want to see young people equipped with skills that will enable them create their own jobs instead of spending much time looking for employment,” Nsengiyumva said.