The Swiss government has extended $7.5 million (about Rwf5.9bn) towards Rwanda’s Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) programme.
The support is earmarked for the second phase of the programme to Promote Market Oriented Skills Training and Employment Creation in the Great Lakes Region (PROMOST).
The Swiss project started in 2012 and is currently being implemented in the Western Province by Swiss Contact, a Swiss non-government organisation specialised in vocational training.
The launch of the new phase was formalised with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Swiss embassy and the Ministry of Education in Kigali, yesterday.
The 12-year project is aimed at developing quality training programmes in line with labour market needs.
These include training teachers and trainers, developing institutional and organisational capacity of the public and private training centres, and harmonising the curricular, examination and certification to promote citizens’ mobility within and between regional countries and to facilitate their lifelong learning.
The project’s first three-year phase, worth $9.5 million, ended in 2015 having registered, among other achievements, the construction of five vocational training centres in Karongi, Rutsiro, Ngororero, Rusizi and Nyamasheke districts of the Western Province.
It helped 2,749 girls and boys from the countryside receive market-oriented skills. The new phase, among other things, is expected to facilitate the construction of a major vocational centre in Nyabihu District.
During the signing of an MoU to that effect, Dr Papias Musafiri, the minister for Education, said the project will boost Rwanda’s efforts to achieve the goal of becoming a middle income economy bu 2020.
“This is a very important project for us. It is perfectly aligned to the government’s mission and aspirations of becoming a middle income economy by the year 2020. The anchor for our socio-economic development is in building a knowledge society. And, I think skills development is a key in this,” he said.
He added that the government has a target of making sure that at least 50 per cent of the students graduating from lower secondary education follow the education track of vocational training.
Musafiri noted that vocational training helps to create more jobs by equipping students with skills that enable them to start up their own jobs.
The minister also thanked the Swiss government referring to it as a “consistent and faithful partner in this journey.”
On his part, Ralf Heckner, the ambassador of Switzerland to Rwanda said the project aims at making Rwanda a hub for vocational training in the region.
“I think, through this project, Rwanda is positioning itself as a regional hub for vocational training. The best plumbers, masons, electricians in the region will be Rwandans,” he said, adding that it will also help to transform the Rwandan youth who constitute the biggest part of the population, into a great asset to the economy.
He further lauded the system’s inclusion of females since 42 per cent of the beneficiaries were female
“Vocational training is also for girls, and not for boys alone. I am happy to see that the girls are part of the vocational training focus as well.”