I recently had the opportunity to talk with a Rwanda Development Board official, working in the Department of Human Capital and Institutional development. I asked him to reveal his organizations stand on human capital vis-à-vis the targets the country is aiming for.
This question, I felt, were important because the country has the ambitious goals of realizing a knowledge-based economy, as mentioned in the Vision 2020 framework, with the people being the major national resource.
As the driver of the national economy, the public sector has to be prioritized in terms of capacity building.
The government has begun to do that through its institutions such as the universities and through its partnership with private skills-promotion agencies.
However there still seems to be a huge gap between the institutions that are giving the skills i.e. the universities and the private sector, which consume these skills.
This has created a situation where the created skills have not been compatible with the needs in the private sector.
It is not an issue of the trained manpower having substandard skills but rather an issue of the skills they have not been well-aligned with the existing skills needs in the private sector. That is why I believe that the new skills engine instituted by government is going to solve this problem.
The newly established Human Capital and Skills Development Strategy for Rwanda will, among the many things, align the universities curriculum, especially in the practical fields, with the skills needed to make human resources trimmed appropriate.
This strategy is expected to cause a number of reforms in the educational sector which will serve to streamline and help it produce graduates with the required skills for development.
This calls for the creation of operational rapport and synergy between the educators and the private sector as opposed to operating in total isolation.
This strategy will also make the private sector assume the position it should hold, which is being at the centre of the curriculum making process.
The created rapport will enable, for example, MTN-Rwanda to be on the curriculum designing team of KIST’s department of electronics.
This will be a win-win situation. KIST students will get relevant training and MTN-Rwanda will get a pool of potential employees.
This kind of coordination has worked successfully in Singapore. I think it will work for us as well.
Moses Gahigi is a staff writer with The New Times