A recent Cabinet meeting came out with new education policies that could prove to be a game changer as far as industrial training is concerned.
The new effort will attempt to shift focus from traditional theory-based education to more hands-on job training. Apart from the basics acquired in mainstream educational institutions, the government will now rope in the private sector to play its part.
Drawing from successful modules from industrialized nations such a Germany, priority will now be given to apprenticeship (on-the-job training) to impart more practical skills.
Employers have over time complained of institutions of higher learning churning out graduates not ready for the job market. This adversely impacts on competitiveness, especially when pitted against more industrialized nations in the region such as Kenya.
Rwanda has a lot to catch up in the skills domain and that is why the government has invested a lot in technical and vocational training.
But in a society that traditionally equates success with academic achievements, selling the idea that practical skills are just as good – if not more advantageous – will take some convincing. Mindset change will be the biggest challenge to the government’s new thrust.
Another area that policymakers will have to grapple with is convincing the private sector, especially manufacturers, to invest in apprenticeships of green employees. But that hurdle can be surmounted if the government and the potential trainee entered into a cost-sharing agreement with the private sector.
The road ahead might be bumpy, but in the long run, the outcome will vindicate the architects of the new educational course.