Stakeholders call for more research on Rwanda’s skills base

Partners in skills development have advised the government’s capacity building agency to research on the country’s under utilised skills and demands of the labour market.
Charles Karake and Wachira Maina, one of the experts who prepared the Skills Audit Report at the workshop yesterday. (Photo / J. Mbanda).
Charles Karake and Wachira Maina, one of the experts who prepared the Skills Audit Report at the workshop yesterday. (Photo / J. Mbanda).

Partners in skills development have advised the government’s capacity building agency to research on the country’s under utilised skills and demands of the labour market.

The recommendation was made after the presentation of the recently conducted audit on national skills documented a 40 percent gap in the country’s human capital.

The Human Resources and Institutional Capacity Development Agency (HIDA), yesterday presented its findings on a ‘National Skills Audit’ conducted mid last year to assess the existing human resource situation in the country.

“The skills audit validates the observation that Rwanda has an acute shortage of human capital…there is a staff capacity of 60 percent of their short-term requirement –a gap of 40 percent (deficit),” HIDA’s audit report concludes.

It revealed that Rwanda critically lacks professionals and technicians, especially in the education, hospitality industry and construction sectors after assessing employees in the institutions.

Both educators and employers at the meeting insisted that more research is needed to find out about unemployed skills on the street, the quality of available skills, and the real nature of market demand for skills in the country.

“Institutions of higher learning seem not to be connected to labour markets…the way forward should be a comprehensive study of the labour market,” said Prof. Silas Lwakabamba, the Rector of the National University of Rwanda during the presentation of the report at Kigali Serena Hotel.

Lwakabamba and other managers of institutions of higher learning, especially the Kigali Institute of Education (KIE) and the School of Finance and Banking (SFB), were somehow surprised to hear that the country lacks professionals while their centres have been releasing graduates for years.

While the methodology used in the audit was employer-centred and mostly targeted formal institutions in the public, private, and civil society sectors, stakeholders recommended that unused skills also be recorded.

“Why didn’t you look at the skills on the street? Certainly they are outside not because they are incompetent,” said Angelina Muganza, the Executive Secretary for the Public Service Commission.

The study revealed that the Private Sector has the most acute deficit, equivalent to 60 percent of short-term needs while the public sector deficit is estimated at 30 percent and civil society at 5 percent.

The Director of Multi-Sector Capacity Building Programme, Charles Karake, said that more research will be carried out to identify the real quality of the country’s available human resources.

He however stressed the need for ‘short-term measures and long term strategies’ to curb skills gaps in the country especially through training.

“We need to look at those skills that cannot be produced in the country in the short-run so that we import them and those we can urgently produce to accelerate training programmes,” he said.

HIDA said the findings of the ‘National Skills Audit’ will be used together with further studies and consultations to develop Rwanda’s ten-year ‘Human Capital Development Master Plan’.

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