Legislators have urged the government to keep Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) schools more hands-on and market-oriented if young people are to get jobs.
They say a hands-on training approach should be the hallmark of Rwanda’s technical and vocational education system, as this would respond to the needs of the labour market.
Formal education has consistently been criticised for failing to produce skilled graduates since more emphasis is put on theory rather than practical training.
The lawmakers, both senators and deputies, were speaking, yesterday, following a briefing by Prime Minister Anastase Murekezi on the national TVET policy and the growing investments in the sector -- for the last five years.
Between 2010 and 2014, the number of TVET schools across the country increased to 365 up from 60, with thousands of young Rwandans, both female and male, pursuing training in fields deemed marketable in the country, the premier said.
They study construction, engineering, carpentry, Information and Communication Technology, as well as mining, among other courses.
“We need a brand that says ‘Trained in Rwanda’ in order to sell our people’s skills to everyone in Rwanda and abroad once they have earned trust,” Murekezi told the MPs.
TVET is expected to contribute toward creating 200,000 off-farm jobs annually by 2018 as projected in the second Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy (EDPRS II).
But for that to happen, legislators suggested that the government needs to ensure that quality education is consistently delivered in TVET schools.
The legislators also advised the government to keep sensitising Rwandans about the benefits of TVET because a big number of them still consider it as a last resort for school drop-outs.
Some Rwandans and government officials are also reluctant to hire TVET graduates because they still have high regard for university degrees.
“We need to ensure that TVET graduates are more skilled compared to university graduates,” said MP Saleh Habimana.
MP Théogène Munyangeyo suggested that Rwanda needs to target markets outside the country and beyond the East African Community (EAC) if graduates from TVET schools are to get jobs
The national target is to have 60 per cent of students graduating from nine-year basic education enrolled into
TVET schools by 2017, up from the current 40 per cent level of enrolment.