EDITORIAL: Manufacturing is the key to reducing unemployment

This year, the University of Rwanda unleashed about 10,000 graduates on the job market. This does not take into consideration the others churned out every year from private institutions of higher learning.

This year, the University of Rwanda unleashed about 10,000 graduates on the job market. This does not take into consideration the others churned out every year from private institutions of higher learning.

What has been proven in the past is that many fresh graduates are not ready for the job market, maybe apart from TVETs who get practical training along the way. In fact many young students are beginning to prefer hands-on training than the traditional education that only prepares them for office jobs.

In 2016 alone, TVETs graduated about 9,000, a great improvement from the 6,000 the previous year. Currently, 46.4 per cent of O’Level leavers are enrolled in TVETs but the government – in its action plan for the next seven years it unveiled this week – seeks to increase this to 60 per cent.

It is going to be tightly-packed agenda among which the government wants to create 1.5 million off-farm jobs, not really that far off its target of creating 200,000 jobs annually.

But questions still linger; will the current measures be able to deliver on the job creation pledge? Maybe be it is time we borrowed a leaf from tested and trusted remedies from other countries.

In industrialised countries, especially in the western world, the practice of apprenticeship has helped them build a pool of qualified manpower for their industries. Children who feel they have no calling in academics chart their course early; be it in manufacturing, the arts or learning to make tasty pastries. They learn hands-on from masters of the particular trade.

That is how those ancient skills that are not taught in any academic institution are passed down to the younger generation and are still with us today. It can also be done here, but first, we will have to strengthen our manufacturing industry.

 

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