The weighing Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy (EDPRS) ambition has pushed the Government to change the Technical and Vocational Educational Training (TVET) policy with view to engaging the private sector more.
It is hoped that the move will bridge the gap between public and private sectors in policy framework formulation by having in place structures that will ease the private sector’s contribution towards the TVET agenda. The new policy was adopted by Cabinet on Wednesday
According to Albert Nsengiyumva, the State Minister in charge of TVET, the current policy will allow research partnership in assessing skills gap and suggest plausible ways of tackling related challenges.
The new policy, according to Nsengiyumva, seeks to make Rwanda’s private sector inclusive in generating competitive graduates across the region, at the same time maintaining the national goal of creating at least 200,000 jobs annually.
“The new policy objectives in relation to the current programme are to engage the private sector in infrastructure, agriculture, mining, tourism and hospitality,” he told a news briefing in Kigali yesterday.
“The same policy equally seeks to find means by which women can be part of the programme since we have only three years to achieve EDPRS targets.”
The current challenges, according to officials, compelled the Ministry of Education to engage Ministry of Public Service and Labour in reviewing the labour market information and analysis systems.
“We are now working to establish sector skills councils, where private institutions will be engaged to identify critical gaps in each sector. Agriculture, for example, will be supplemented with mechanisation, irrigation, agro-processing and any other technical servicing as it has been informed by the reality on the ground,” he added.
Some employers in the private sector have been complaining of the lack of adequate skills on the labour market, a phenomenon that has denied many employment opportunities.
According to Jean Zimulinda, an agricultural expert, employers have no time to train new workers in the technical know-how in an environment that is competition-driven.
“We are all in business, all employers would wish to hire ready-to-work employees instead of investing time and resources to build the capacity of some fresh workers. However, our engagement with the public sector will help us ease such constraints,” he said.
Government officials have also stressed the new policy will support the ongoing working model, borrowed from Germany, to have all trainings conducted in the workplace.
“As a growing economy, sometimes it is necessary to activate demand, especially where the private sector is growing. We will need to create a workforce that is suitable for all markets, including regional and global ones,” said Stella Ford Mugabo, the Minister for Cabinet Affairs.
The 2015/2016 education budget is close to Rwf100 billion, of which more than Rwf30 billion is dedicated to TVET.
However, challenges such as a negative mindset among the population towards TVET, insufficient training equipment and shortage of qualified teachers, haunt the sector which is key to delivering the country to middle-income status.
The country has 384 TVET schools with 99 per cent of them equipped with Internet and electricity. Sixty-five per cent of the institutions are privately-run.