TVET expediting Rwanda’s job creation efforts

From November 28 to December 3 thousands visited the 3rd Annual TVET Expo held at the Gikondo Expo Ground to view the diversity of current capacity building and modernisation in everything from agriculture, food processing, textiles, crafts, mechanics, carpentry, electrical, solar power, plumbing, manufacturing, engineering and so much more.

From November 28 to December 3 thousands visited the 3rd Annual TVET Expo held at the Gikondo Expo Ground to view the diversity of current capacity building and modernisation in everything from agriculture, food processing, textiles, crafts, mechanics, carpentry, electrical, solar power, plumbing, manufacturing, engineering and so much more.

TVET is serving the community nationwide in building skills which enhance employability or more importantly, entrepreneurship.

Whilst secondary education has entrepreneurship as a compulsory examinable subject from S1 to S6, does the subject in fact create entrepreneurial thinking in the minds of our youth? Does secondary education alone meet the needs of the nation in terms of job creation and skills?

In fact Rwanda’s workplace initiatives have missed so much opportunity in its own development due to the unskilled labour market of trade based skills. Never again however will Rwandans miss employment opportunities in this ‘blue collar’ labour market due to the TVET infrastructure under the Workplace Development Agency (WDA).

Schools Entrepreneurship Network (SEN) promotes entrepreneurship in secondary education through collaboration with schools such as Riviera High School (RHS). Stated by Mr Apollo Munamura of RDB during the recent Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) “one of the greatest challenges facing Rwanda at present is a mind shift of the youth”.

Through the TVET Expo SEN and RHS set about supporting this mind shift by conducting a ‘my business idea’ competition. Such competitions encourage youth to articulate their ideas, mostly for the first time. “What if my idea is dumb” many ponder. There is no such thing as a dumb idea; the only dumb part is to never speak it out.

A very interesting outcome from the Expo however is the competition TVET is mounting in the education sector. A market survey conducted by students of RHS of visitors to the Expo revealed that eighty percent considered TVET education more relevant in national economic development than secondary education.

Could Secondary education become extinct in Rwanda? Perhaps not a balanced qualitative survey but nonetheless it is interesting to observe the rapid expansion and acceptance of vocational skills-based education as significant in the development of Rwanda.

The obvious answer to secondary education’s extinction is ‘NO’ however at present there is a realisation that ‘a knowledge based society’ is tiered and that the fountain of knowledge isn’t a Masters Degree. The farmer, who can read the land from an ant trail which predicts the rains are coming, has traditional knowledge and as equally important to a knowledge based society.

The common analogy ‘don’t just give them a fish but teach them how to fish’ has been superseded by ‘teach them how to respect an ocean’. Life is not just about survival, rich or poor, developed or undeveloped; it is now about sustainability. 

What is globalisation, where nation-states wake up and realise we are all dependent on each other, yet in the West, individualisation, self actualisation (Maslow’s theory) or self-created, is at the centre.

In Africa will it no longer take a community to raise a child? What is more important, survival of the nation-state or survival of the individual? Whose right is it to decide? I present a symphony of ideas because entrepreneurship is about what Sir Ken Robinson describes as ‘divergent thinking’, where creativity is stimulated; a think tank of endless harmony.

The uneducated don’t know what they don’t know; therefore risk-taking is a part of life. When you know what you know, risks are calculated, analytically measured, structured, planned and forecasted. Who are the most knowledgeable?

The writer is Deputy Principal of Riviera High School and divergent thinker

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