The Nelson Mandela Education Centre in Bugesera that President Paul Kagame opened on Tuesday, could be taken as a demonstration vocational institution.
The school, funded by Germans through a non-government organisation known as the Green Helmets, teaches such practical subjects as electrical engineering, making solar equipment, carpentry and joinery, to mention only these few.
These are skills that every Rwandan would aspire to acquire; in local lingua the people who have such technical knowledge are said to hold “jobs of the head” - a literal translation that means acquiring a practical skill only grasped by an apt brain that not only never fails to put food on the table, but also serves to create employment for others.
There are many other skills that fall into this category, like motor vehicle mechanics, shoe repairing and making; brick laying and housing construction; welding and blacksmithing, and many more.
Having the skill to perform these functions is only the beginning of the journey to becoming industrial, and whoever is so advantaged can also be known as an industrious person.
It is very good therefore to have such an institution in our midst, and barring funding, every district could have a replicated Nelson Mandela, owing to its strategic importance in this country.
Many youths would be developed through this avenue; besides, acquisition of a “head job” makes the owner of the skill employable anywhere either in this country or outside it.
This is a model for other Green Helmets to look at as development partners with the government of Rwanda; it is a challenge that Rwandans here and in the Diaspora should look at closely as potential investment opportunities that can be exploited.