Construction of Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) facilities will be implemented by districts as it is with other schools such as Nine and 12-Year Basic Education, the Minister of State in Charge of TVET has said.
Olivier Rwamukwaya said this on Tuesday while appearing in Parliament to respond to TVET issues that were identified in a report by the parliamentary Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Cooperation and Security.
“The budgets will be given to districts and Workforce Development Authority (WDA) will be monitoring and inspecting to ensure that the projects meet minimum standards,” the minister said, pointing out that, currently, each district has an engineer in charge of school construction.
The committee identified the issues as it made tours in various districts of the country from October 20 to November 3 last year to see whether the grants and loans that the Government receives in line with public interest activities are put to proper use, identify challenges as well the way forward.
The Skills Development Project (SDP) was one of the focus areas for the lawmakers’ assessment.
The $34.5 million (about Rwf28 billion) three-year project was a partnership between the World Bank and the Government of Rwanda. The funds consisted of a $30-million loan from the World Bank and $4.5 million provided by the Government.
The infrastructure that were to be built under the project includes blocks at IPRC-West, IPRC-East, Busogo Technical Tertiary Institutions (TSS), Kabarondo Vocational Training Centers (VTC), Kirehe VTC, and Kinihira VTC.
Under the project, the World Bank would buy equipment and build some school infrastructure. The Bank would also install the equipment. And it did all these.
However, on the side of the Government, two TVET facilities (VTC Kabarondo and Busogo TSS) were not ready. This delay resulted in the facilities having their equipment stored instead of being installed because the buildings to accommodate them were not yet complete.
The minister said Busogo TSS and VTC Kabarondo construction works stalled because the ministry signed a contract with a construction company, but made an error as it did not sign a contract with a supervising company.
He said there was also a gap in many VTCs because they did not have leadership and could not understand on time the nature of the projects.
This, Rwamukwaya added, called for the halting of works for the two facilities in the interest of proper public funds use.
Rwamukwaya explained that there was lack of good collaboration between the local government (district) leaders and the ministry, while the contractors also abandoned works.
Ensuring project efficiency
Rwamukwaya said WDA, partners and local leaders have put in place measures to ensure that these projects get properly implemented.
In addition, he said, a Special Project Implementation Unit (SPU) was established at the ministry level to monitor projects and ensure their success.
“The ministry will continue to supervise construction works for TVET projects and build capacity of WDA workers,” he said, noting that proper management of public funds will also be ensured.
Major TVET infrastructure projects will be implemented by the Ministry of Infrastructure, which will ensure efficiency and rapidity of construction works, Rwamukwaya said.
Also, IPRCs will implement projects which are not above Rwf100 million in value, which will ease WDA’s work load.
Holding defaulters accountable
MP Théodomir Niyonsenga said the TVET facilities would have been completed in 2014 or 2015, and the delays imply losses for the public.
“This delay means that students who would use the facilities have nowhere to study from. It also means that there is additional cost as entrepreneurs abandoned the works half way, while people who worked for them did not get paid,” he said.
MP Theobald Mporanyi called for placement of a caveat on property of those responsible for the delays in projects implementation and those who abandoned works until they are proved innocent.
Meanwhile, the ministry announced that the TVET infrastructure will be complete in July such that students can start carrying out practical works there, this year. The funds to complete the infrastructure in question is available and the construction works are 90 per cent complete, according to the ministry.
According to the Statistical Yearbook 2016 by the National Institute of Statistics of Rwanda, there were 94,373 students in TVET schools in 2015 from 67,919 students in 2011.
Male students were 54,912 in 2015, increasing from 35,843 in 2011, while female students were 32,076 in 2011, and rose to 39,461 in 2015. There were 383 TVET centres in 2015 from 251 in 2011. Of these centres in 2015, 186 were vocational training centres, 184 technical secondary schools, and 13 technical tertiary institutions.