As Rwanda strives to become a middle income economy in the near future, the government is actively promoting Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) programmes.
This strategic decision is based on the realisation that the country can best accelerate its development agenda only if the citizens are turned into a highly productive and competitive workforce.
And to achieve that, the government has laid strategies designed to help develop a critical mass of skilled youths and adults in as many occupational areas.
The creation of such institutions as the Workforce Development Authority (WDA) mandated to promote technical and vocational skills, and indeed, the continued transformation of the country through such initiatives as Umurenge SACCO and Mutuelle de Sante present unprecedented opportunity to millions of Rwandans to uplift themselves from poverty.
Globalisation has changed the world. We are in the era when a university degree is no longer enough. Whereas academic transcripts may still be valuable, the world of work looks for skills that respond to the ever-changing needs of the labour market.
Yet, the reality is that some people have little regard for technical/vocational education, even when it is increasingly becoming clear that such schools produce graduates with better chances for getting a job or even becoming successful entrepreneurs as opposed to their classic education counterparts.
While the negative perception associated with TVET may largely be attributed to the past chaotic situation within which technical and vocational schools operated, times have since changed.
Today, there’s a comprehensive national TVET policy in place, and centres of excellence are being established across the country, complete with qualified trainers and modern equipment.
It is time we changed our attitude towards vocational and technical courses if we are to achieve individual and collective development goals.