EDITORIAL: Closing down under-performing TVETs not the solution

The Workforce Development Authority (WDA) has threatened to close down seven Technical and Vocational Education Training (TVET) schools in the Southern Province for what it terms “poor performance”.

The Workforce Development Authority (WDA) has threatened to close down seven Technical and Vocational Education Training (TVET) schools in the Southern Province for what it terms “poor performance”.

With the government’s plans to create at least 200,000 off-farm jobs annually, TVETs were seen as the vehicle to achieve the target. The government has invested a lot in the sector and even invited the private sector on board.

Many private colleges jumped on the TVET bandwagon because the government was giving them attractive incentives such as tax exemptions on imported training equipment. It was inevitable that some unscrupulous people would take advantage of the government’s urgency to get the TVET ball rolling.

However, closing the schools because of poor results would serve no immediate purpose; it would only prolong the disease within. What if more schools underperformed, would WDA rush to close their doors?

The best approach is to dig deep and find out why they underperform in the first place. It could be an issue of poor internal administration or lack of oversight by relevant authorities. Those are issues that can easily be overcome.

The government aims to increase the number of TVET students to over 130,000, up from the current 90,000 or so. So it would defeat the government’s logic if every poor performing school was closed.

The issue of poor results should be handled with utmost care and urgency because it would make no sense if TVETs churned out half-baked technicians.

 

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