Five Rwandans have won gold medals in the first Africa Skills Competition that was recently held in Kigali.
The competition, that lasted for three days took place, from 21-23 November at Integrated Polytechnic Regional Center (IPRC)-Kigali campus and attracted 33 youths from six countries, of which 16 were from Rwanda.
The competition saw invigilators from around the world supervise and award points along performance in seven trades namely Mechatronics, Electrical Wiring, Cooking, Welding, Plumbing, Brick Laying, and Hairdressing. These trades are both important and common in the society and important for industry.
Among the Rwandans awarded Friday include Ngabo Victor, who won gold in welding, Mukabalisa Channela (hairdressing), Turinayo Janvier (brick laying), Abayo Himbaza Enock (electrical wiring), and Bigirimfura Shero (in plumbing).
Morocco’s Azzedine Samadi and Houssana Dakhla doun, won gold medals in Mechatronics while another of their counterpart, Fouad Abdoun, won gold in cooking
During the awarding ceremony, the Minister for Education, Eugène Mutimura, said that such African regional competitions have helped Rwanda establish how it fairs in regards to the quality of education under TVET.
“It’s a pleasure to see these young Rwandan students win in different trades and this is a sign that our students are capable and skilled.” said Dr Mutimura.
He added that though Rwanda won many gold medals in different trades, it is not reason for the country to relax.
“We are going to put in more effort in that after two years, Rwanda will take part in global competitions,” he said.
While visiting the competitors, the minister said that Rwanda has benefited in these competition in that many different companies from over the world including from Germany and Switzerland, are willing to sponsor trainings for Rwandan students in different industries.
Ngabo Victor, who won in the welding category, says he is completing his course in a month’s time and told The New Timesthat he intends to start up a welding workshop that will be offering different unique designs on the Rwandan market
“I love doing unique designs and that is what makes me study hard. People always want something that is good and uncommon. I believe I will be able to offer them what they want” he added
Azzedine Samadi, from Morocco, who won gold in Mechatronics, said the event helped him realise that he had potential and that it helps students when determining strategy for skills development.
“I now believe that industry has huge potential for skills development, and linkage between industry and TVET students will help us find jobs easily when we graduate”
There is a strong recognition within Rwanda of the importance of Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) to the nation’s development and economic growth, officials said.
Over the last decade, Rwanda has invested significant efforts in putting in place governance and physical infrastructures as enablers for a sustainable development of Technical and Vocational Education and Training system.