Govt seeks Rwf100bn for TVET

Students train in hairdressing at Share Academy. Photos by Michel Nkurunziza.

Over the next five years, between 2019 and  2024, the Government needs over Rwf100 billion to streamline Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) in order to release qualified graduates into both national and international labour markets with competent skills to even create their own jobs, Business Times has learnt.

Dr James Gashumba, the Vice Chancellor of Rwanda Polytechnic, said that under  the five years strategic plan, employers’ satisfaction level  currently  at 78 per cent is expected to reach 85 per cent by 2024.

The plan looks at ensuring a sound policy framework, strong governance mechanism to ensure smooth operations in colleges and TVET schools, develop and update quality TVET competency-based curricula that responds to labour market needs as well as improve access to quality teaching and learning in TVET institutions.

Construction sector is one of the sectors to drive up job creation. 

“We want to establish effective student support systems that ensure adequate career guidance and prepare students to enter the labour market,” he said.

The Government aims at creating at least 1.5 million off-farm jobs by 2024, which requires creating over 200,000 off-farm jobs annually.

The production sectors that will enable such job creation include construction sector, agro-processing, manufacturing, value addition to minerals, creative arts, knowledge-based services, tourism and the hospitality sector, transport sector most of which require increasing skilled the workforce from TVET schools.

Gashumba said that the funds are needed to develop and maintain infrastructure and resources for effective training, establish professional and development systems for teaching to strive for excellence in service delivery.

The five-year plan seeks to promote the culture of research and innovation in the TVET sector to ensure TVET programs are responsive to and address community and national challenges and also develop partnerships that strengthen synergies to enhance trainees and graduates’ opportunities for local and international labor market access among others.

“We have ideas of how we could improve our financing model so that we can get more money for everything we need. As an estimation over the next five years, definitely the budget for making all those things happen would to running  well over Rwf100 billion,” he told Business Times in an exclusive interview.

Government targets that 60 per cent of total students from basic education will be enrolled in TVET schools by 2024 from 39 per cent today.

But Dr. Gashumba explained that in order to reach that 60 per cent there are major budgetary implications.

“Like if now most of our youngsters are going to general education and we want to turn that around it means we have to build more TVET schools than general education schools so that most of who complete ordinary level join TVET schools,” he said.

He added that the costs to achieve the objectives are further driven up by consumables such as cement, sand and others used in TVET schools.

“Technology in terms of ICT is also very costly to build than infrastructure” he said.

TVET curricula have increased from 38 to 146 in 2019 while TVET trainers have increased from 912 to 4,499 trainers in 2019.

The five year strategic plan also envisages that 60 per cent of TVET trainers will be officially certified in line with Rwanda TVET Trainer Qualification Framework from 5 per cent today.

It also targets 100 per cent of TVET schools and polytechnics to have access to internet connectivity for teaching and learning from the current 55 per cent  while student-computer ratio in TVET will ensure each uses their own computer from the ratio of one computer per ten students.

At least 60 per cent of TVET curricula will have supporting teaching and learning materials available in digital format from 5 per cent currently enabling 40 per cent of schools to use digital content in teaching and learning in the next five years.

Encouraging girls

to join TVETs

Currently, key TVET statistics show that there are 342 TVET schools in Rwanda which is an increase from 63 schools in 2010 and there are 97,144 students which is an increase from 51,773 students in 2010.

However, the female ratio remains low.

“If we use the data or the percentages among the recent graduates, only 20 per cent were female which is unacceptable. When you look at specific trades like mechanical engineering, those numbers are even worse,” commented Dr. Gashumba stressing that more girls will be attracted to follow TVET courses.

Gender parity in TVET enrollment by trade will increase from 0.74 to 0.95 by 2024 by using Education Management Information System (EMIS) report

“We will use  the females we have as role models, demonstrate it and show that girls can do what is traditionally seen as male-dominated courses like engineering-mechanical engineering or automotive engineering. We want that almost 50 per cent of eight colleges of Rwanda Polytechnic departments to be headed by female and make sure some of the programs are gender friendly,” he noted.