The Workforce Development Authority (WDA) yesterday offered certificates to Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) students who qualified over the last three years.
A total of 51,851 students who completed in the academic years 2011, 2012 and 2013 had never got their certificates. A total of 25,941 of them were females, representing 50.03 per cent.
The Director General of WDA, Jerome Gasana, said the issuing of certificates was delayed to allow making of standard certificates with latest technology to minimise forgery.
Gasana handed over certificates to the top students over the last three years.
Maurice Gasana Sibomana , a graduate of Electronics and Telecommunication at IPRC Kigali, emerged the best in the year 2011 while Sumaya Ikirezi, a student of General Mechanics, emerged the best in 2012 from the same school.
In 2013, Josiane Nyiramana, a construction student at IPRC South, emerged the best countrywide.
In an interview, Nyiramana attributed her success to hard work.
“We were only five girls in a class of 50 students. I was not afraid of taking TVET because I had overcome the common belief that technical education was a preserve of boys. This is the right time to change that mindset because among the three top performers in the country, two were girls. I advise other girls not to fear because where there is a will there is a way,” she said.
Gasana told students to pick their certificates from their respective former schools while those who studied as private candidates were advised to get their certificates from the WDA office.
He promised that in the future students will be getting their certificates within six months after completing their national examinations.
Employers of graduates from technical and vocational schools are very appreciative about their skills, and most students get employed soon after their studies, he said.
WDA said it had introduced new technology in mechanics in some of the TVET institutions like IPRC Kigali to integrate latest technology where students use computers to detect faults more especially on new brand cars, new brand engines and spare parts.
Though there is remarkable progress, he said, technical schools still face challenges, including getting well qualified instructors.
General poor attitude of Rwandans toward TVET, low use of English as the language of instruction and teachers with low level of training have been cited among the challenges facing TVET schools.
However, Gasana said government is employing foreign tutors to train local instructors and sending Rwandans abroad to acquire more skills to help address the challenge.
The number of technical and vocational schools in the country has increased over time. There are currently 365 TVET schools with a total student population of 93,000 countrywide.
The development of TVET in the country is expected to contribute toward the creation of 200,000 TVET jobs annually by 2018 as envisaged under the second Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy (EDPRS II).
The national target is to have 60 per cent of students graduating from nine-year basic education (9YBE) enrolled into TVET schools by 2017, up from the current 40 per cent.