RE: “Districts to oversee TVET centres as govt moves to improve quality” (The New Times, November 30). There is no labour market demand in Rwanda. We can’t keep ignoring the facts. The aim of TVET system, or any other branch of our education system for that matter, must not be to meet the labour market demand, because there isn’t simply any. “Meeting labour market” has become like a song in our subconsciousness.
TVET schools are to equip people with technical skills. But being honest with ourselves, do we really need just technical skills? I think not. We may need technical skills, but more than anything, we need entrepreneurial skills.
We need to create that non-existent labour market demand. And that should be the main aim of our education system. Supply and demand, Economics 101. Anyone should be able to understand this.
I beg to disagree. TVET/vocational training graduates are more employable than our university graduates because they receive hands-on training. For instance, mechanics trained at TVET centres are more likely to begin garage business or be employed in garages than, say a graduate with mechanical engineering who wants formal employment in the formal sector.
This appears to be a worldwide trend as the global labour market becomes more and more democratic leading, for example, to the rise of freelancing/online work sites. This means that formal sectors are no longer lucrative sources of employment as unemployment rises.
There is an interesting annual global competition called World Skills that focuses on identifying the best vocational professional from gardeners, welders and electricians to hair and beauty technicians etc. As for entrepreneurship skills, this should be a focus for the whole education system; for example, secondary schools now have an entrepreneurship course examinable at the national exam level.
If this is not within TVET curriculum it needs to be introduced/emphasised. The labour demand is more pronounced in the formal sector of employment but there is still a big demand in the informal sector.
One has only to visit the Gakiriro area in Gisozi, and the markets and the downtown areas of our towns to see the bustling (and the money) economy created by vocational skilled professionals.