Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) schools have been challenged to ensure they produce graduates who are capable of providing innovative solutions to the country’s socio-economic challenges, including energy gaps.
The call was made Thursday by the State Minister in charge of TVET, Olivier Rwamukwaya, while presiding over a graduation ceremony at Tumba College of Technology (also known as Integrated Polytechnic Regional College (IPRC-North) in Rulindo District.
The graduation, the fourth at the institution, saw 358 students graduate in different domains, including alternative energy, information technology, electronics and communication.
The minister said skills such as fabricating solar–powered water heaters and installing biogas plants should be prioritised to help the country address socio-economic challenges such as reducing on biomass energy use and tackling unemployment.
“Vision 2020 aims at building a knowledge-based economy and vocational skills are key to achieving this. Local skills will also help promote locally made products. We need locally made energy alternatives to reduce the rate at which we cut trees for firewood,” he said.
The minister reiterated the government’s target of having 60 per cent of high school graduates join TVET to scale up job creation in the country.
However, he said, the demand created by this target does not mean that schools should compromise on quality, by taking on more students than they can cater for.
Rwamukwaya said that there is need to increase TVET schools and other professional colleges, adding that to achieve this, there’s need for closer collaboration with the industry.
“For instance, there are 18 polytechnic centres across the country of which 10 are privately owned. The more students we’ve in this area the more innovations we get to local challenges,” he said.
He emphasised that the graduates’ role in boosting the Made-in-Rwanda campaign through helping to add value to and scale up locally made products.
Emmanuel Kamanzi, the Managing Director of Energy Development Corporation Limited (EDCL), said the energy sector is committed to invest in skills development to improve energy production in the country.
EDCL announced a grant worth Rwf45m to IPRC-North to develop skills in alternative energy.
John Bosco Nkuranga, the deputy principal in charge of academics and training at IPRC-North, said their students have so far made about 15 solar heaters, adding the grant will boost their efforts.