Senators push for quality TVET delivery

TVET students during a mechanical practical session at Musanze Polytechnic. Sam Ngendahimana.

Members of the senatorial Standing Committee on Social Affairs, Human Rights, and Petitions, yesterday, urged officials at the Workforce Development Authority (WDA) to closely monitor TVET schools for quality training.

Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) is seen as very crucial in helping many Rwandans, especially the youth, acquire employable skills and create their own jobs.

The senators made the call for WDA to follow up more closely on the schools’ activities while meeting the director general of authority, Pascal Gatabazi.

He reassured them that efforts are being made to ensure that students in TVET schools get the right kind of training and professional internships in order to gain employable skills.

The official said that WDA is working to ensure that TVET schools are well managed and that students get the right kind of training expected from the schools.

“We need to follow up on what happens in our schools,” he said, explaining that leadership is key to delivering quality graduates.

He said that once the management of TVET schools is improved, it will boost quality of training.

Among the strategies in place to ensure that quality training is offered, the official said, include starting business incubation centres in schools to nurture business ideas as well as working with the private sector to avail industrial attachments for TVET students.

Officials at the WDA also said that barriers to quality training include lack of enough companies to receive students for internship and expensive TVET schools that students can’t afford.

Gallican Niyongana, chairperson of the committee, told The New Times that the senators will also meet board members of WDA to assess how the authority is run.

A survey published in March 2019 and commissioned by the Ministry of Education, the National Tracer Survey for TVET and Higher Education Graduates and Employer Satisfaction, indicated that the main challenges that TVET graduates faced was insufficient training equipment, machinery and materials for practical training.

The survey highlighted the need to strongly improve the equipment situation in TVET schools, polytechnics and higher learning institutions.

It recommended strict accreditation or re-accreditation standards of the schools and urged the Ministry of Education, the Higher Education Council (HEC), and WDA to follow up closely on standardised equipment, machinery and materials used in schools.

The survey also recommended that other challenges such as poor infrastructure, classrooms, safety conditions, accommodation, meals, and hygiene and sanitation facilities should also be standardised and enforced through accreditation or re-accreditation processes.

The report indicated that the current student-centred learning approach of training has the potential to provide students with employable skills if well monitored for implementation.

Gatabazi shares that view, indicating that effective implementation of the competency-based curriculum is key to delivery of quality training in TVET centres.

“In order to increase their competitiveness, we need to implement the competency-based curriculum in its real sense,” he said, adding that “students have to learn by doing”.

The official said that WDA will continue working closely with the private sector in both planning and monitoring of students’ training and placement in industries and workshops for internships.