Increase investment in technical and vocational training

Editor,Multiplying higher learning institutions every day and night won’t mean any better, unless they shift from producing unproductive students, including PhD holders, who  can’t even produce a needle.

Editor,

Multiplying higher learning institutions every day and night won’t mean any better, unless they shift from producing unproductive students, including PhD holders, who  can’t even produce a needle.

Please help end this African syndrome of producing unskilled graduates by promoting hands-on skills rather than theory.

AbdulRahman Ntaganda, Kigali

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Practical and theoretical training are not mutually exclusive. What is needed is not to constrain investment in our higher education sector, whether public or private (we need more not less), but greater investments in practical technical and vocational education and training.

Our education system that encourages the youth to aspire to university education rather than technical and vocational education and training ends up skewing our national skills portfolio in favour of the theoretical (which is not even very good at that in the first place) rather than immediately usable business and technological skills that a growing economy with ambitious targets needs.

A system that gives value to doing things rather than sitting in offices and pushing paper, and combines that with appropriate apprenticeships (like those you find in Germany and Switzerland) is needed to complement the greater numbers of university graduates that Rwanda seems to be focused on.

You only have to look at the scarcity of a wide range of skilled trades for several rapidly growing sectors such as construction to understand the problem this poses to our economic aspirations.

But let me repeat, the solution isn’t in discouraging higher academic learning, it lies in plowing more resources into technical education and providing incentives to industry to extend remunerated apprenticeships and improved career opportunities to graduates of technical and vocational schools.

Mwene Kalinda, Kigali

Reactions to the story, “Foreign universities streaming in to fill education gap”, (Education Times, September 18)

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