The Government recognises the role quality education can play in national development and will do its best to provide education that meets the country’s needs, Prime Minister Edouard Ngirente has said.
The premier, who was yesterday addressing a joint session of Parliament, outlined the priorities under the seven-year programme for education sector.
The premier said challenges to provide quality education that address the needs of the country’s development remain despite sustained efforts by the Government to address them.
He said the country still lacks trained workforce in many areas such as agriculture, mining, tourism, transport, garment, milk processing, infrastructure, hence the need for skills training.
The Government, he said, will prioritise Science, Technology and Mathematics, and Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) courses, while promoting learning and use of ICT in education, research and capacity building.
The Government plans to create 1.5 million jobs in the next seven years and there is need to mobilise and facilitate the Private Sector Federation (PSF) to help in training, create and develop small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) as well as big companies for efficiency and developing hands on skills, Ngirente said.
Over the last 14 years, more than 1.7 million jobs were created, he said.
“It is why the Government continues to put in efforts in improving knowledge for many people so that they are the foundation of a knowledge-based economy envisioned in 2020 and in the next seven years government programme,” the premier said.
Sixty-one per cent of labour force has skills that meet labour market.
Citing research by the National Capacity Building Secretariat, the premier said that while a lot has been done, there is still a gap in knowledge and skills needed to transform the economy.
“Our education should therefore focus on bridging this gap to contribute to faster and sustainable development of our country,” he added.
In tea plantation, of the needed of 7,000 trained personnel this year, there are only 2,500 and the country will need 9,000 in 2020 and 12,000-strong workforce in 2024.
This would help increase tea exports from 25,500 tonnes in 2016 to 45,000 tonnes in 2024, according to Ngirente.
In horticulture, only 39 people have the necessary skills while in this year 528 people were needed. The sector also needs 692 trained farmers by 2020 and 939 by 2025.
This would increase horticulture production from 25,000 tonnes in 2016 to 46,000 tonnes in 2024.
There is also need to train more geologists as the mining sector still lacks skilled workforce where there were only 13,000 people in 2016 against the 23,900 needed.
At least 83 per cent of Rwandans involved in mining sector use rudimentary ways, he said.
There is projection that by 2030 the country will need 44,700 trained workers, the premier said.
He said, in tourism sector, Meetings Incentives, Conferences and Events (MICE) also needs a boost, especially in hospitality sector, as the country will need 155,600 trained people in 2025, up from 41,000 currently.
In milk processing and the whole milk value chain, he said 76 per cent of people working in the sector lack required skills, while only 10 per cent of milk produce is processed.
“To increase milk production to at least 60 per cent of processed milk, there is need of at least 730 trained people,” he said.
In leather industry, about 15,000 people are employed, leaving a shortfall of 2,930 employees.
To develop more cities, there is also need to train more engineers in construction sector and the country will be in need of 17,000 engineers compared to 11,500 available now.
In energy sector, the country will need 2,750 people in 2020.
“All the advanced economies have developed thanks to new innovations as a result of quality education that address the needs of the labour market,” he said.
He said the Government will put in place an innovation fund to help graduates become more innovative and create own jobs.
Legislators voiced mixed reactions with some saying the Government should stabilise education sector as it has been undergoing several changes over the years, something they said affects quality of education.
MP Jean Thierry Karemera said: “Education sector is very sensitive and whenever there are gaps it affects quality of education. We need to match our education with our needs.”