The Minister of Education, Dr Charles Murigande, has called on the Workforce Development Authority (WDA) to build on their early achievements and empower the country’s workforce with the much-needed hands-on skills.
Murigande was addressing the WDA management and staff on Friday during a visit to the Remera-based institution.
“For an economy to grow and prosper, there’s need for a critical mass of skilled people which is what Rwanda needs most today,” the minister said.
He said that the establishment of WDA was caused by the evident lack of skilled workforce, which is a threat to efforts to sell Rwanda to the rest of the world as an ideal investment destination.
“For the past 10 years, the Government has been campaigning around the world telling people how Rwanda is the best investment destination. And indeed when investors come, they find us with good weather and enviable security.
“However, due to lack of skilled local workers, they resort to importing skilled labour, which is costly and ultimately affects their returns”.
He added that this is one of the main reasons behind the establishment of WDA.
WDA is charged with regulating, coordinating and promoting technical and vocational skills through an integrated Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) system which allows TVET graduates to upgrade to university level, while at the same time provides a window of opportunity to university graduates to enrol in TVET centres.
Minister Murigande was particularly impressed that WDA managed to dispatch 90 Rwandan instructors to train in Singapore and 10 in Philippines, and that some of the instructors are already providing skills to their fellow citizens.
“As Trainers of Trainers, you must endeavour to be as perfect as possible in whatever you do and help inculcate the culture of perfectionism and excellence among those you train.”
“If you can change the thinking and the attitude of the Rwandan workforce, you will have done a great deal to the development of our country,” he added.
The minister had earlier held a meeting with WDA Director General, Dr Jean Damascene Gatabazi, Acting Deputy Director General Fatina Mukarubibi, among others.
Murigande also conducted a tour around WDA premises during which he chatted with administrative and technical staff members.
Speaking to The New Times later, Murigande emphasized that skills development was the centrepiece of Rwanda’s development programmes, adding that his ministry and the entire Government will continue to throw their weight behind WDA to achieve its mission.
“You cannot develop a country if you don’t have a skilled workforce, and we fully expect WDA to fill the current skills gap,” he observed.
The minister explained that TVET and education in general were a top priority for the Government.
“For us in Rwanda, everything seems to be a priority, but there are those things that make others happen,” he said.
Gatabazi informed the minister that WDA was in the process of procuring training materials with the first consignments expected in the country soon.