KICUKIRO - President Paul Kagame, yesterday, urged students in vocational training to be creative and innovative by employing the skills acquired through education to become job creators.
Speaking after the inauguration of Integrated Polytechnic Regional Centre (IPRC), Kicukiro Campus, the President Kagame called on the students to take advantage of the well equipped facility to develop skills that will enable them to be innovative.
The Head of State, who had earlier toured the state-of-the-art training facilities at the centre, established with the support of the Republic of Korea, said that, what the country needs to steer forward, are people with hands-on skills.
Located in Kicukiro District, IPRC is made up of the Kigali Technical Training Centre, College of Technology and Information Access Centre. The Centre was established in collaboration with Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA).
He observed that the facilities at the college might not be enough, but that does not stop the students from getting the best out of the programme.
“The facilities are not enough but it is how we will utilize them that will matter most. I urge you to be professional in your undertakings but above all, I encourage you to be innovative and entrepreneurial,” President Kagame said
The President said that the government will be working closely with the private sector to ensure that students gain more practical experience, as well as important values such as discipline, smart-thinking and pantuality to enable them meet their commitments.
President Kagame reminded the students that what the institution and the nation expects and demands of them, is to be an innovative people with a purposeful life.
“I want to remind the students and everyone else that life is what you make it. If you want to live a productive life, it will be, if you want to make it meaningful, it will be, if you want to mess it up, it will be,” President Kagame said
“So it’s about the choices you make and who you want to be. It is, therefore, up to the students, but especially the staff and management of this centre to realise its full potential, not only to develop people who will be here but the whole nation,” he added.
The Head of State noted that there is a misconception where by technical and vocational education are considered inferior to mainstream classical education, saying that the belief is a result of “wrong politics and wrong economics”.
“As a result, the necessary investments in this area were not being made. Infact it was always assumed that this area was only for the disadvantaged or marginalised members of the society or those who for some reason had dropped out of school.”
“It has become abundantly clear, however, that the development we aspire to will only be attained if we produce people with marketable technical skills---individuals who are readily employable or who can employ many more Rwandans,” Kagame said.
The President encouraged more women to join technical and vocational training institutions, observing that technical education has been widely considered to be a man’s domain, which is a fallacy.
“I would like to encourage more women to enrol into these programmes. This is not just an area for men, though it is very evident that the stats seem to be dominated by men,”
“It is as if the message is that it is only meant for men, but it is not. So I call upon our women to enrol in these institutions as well,” President Kagame said
He pointed out that it is difficult to find people who have graduated with technical skills, and are unemployed, compared to others who graduate from different mainstream institutions which offer classical education.
President Kagame referred to a research carried out by the Workforce Development Agency (WDA) which shows that 80% of graduates with technical skills find employment within 6 months of completing their education.
The Head of State further noted that developed countries invested heavily in polytechnic education, well aware that technical skills are everything when it comes to empowering people to develop their country.
He referred to South Korea which a few years ago was where Rwanda is today but invested heavily in technical education and human resource development and today is one of the leading economies in the world.
The Vice President of KOICA, Ahn Dong-Won, said that the project was initiated during President Kagame’s official visit to South Korea in 2008 during which the Korean government offered to support technical and vocational education in Rwanda.
He noted that the Republic of Korea managed to develop quickly due to 3 major factors including good leadership with a vision, transparency, effective implementation of programmes and qualitative human resource, noting that Rwanda is taking the same approach.
“Considering this analysis, I have a strong conviction that Rwanda is the country which is equipped with these aspects of socio-economic development,”
“This is especially shown by the leadership of the country which is showing strong commitment to development as Korea did during the past rapid economic growth period,” Dong-Won said
He noted that the Republic of Korea is committed to continuing with the flourishing bilateral cooperation with Rwanda by supporting development programmes such as Vision 2020.