The Government of Rwanda appears to have been privy to one secret that many other countries have not known—the tremendous economic potential embedded in Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET).
By revamping TVET programmes in the country, the goals that are envisaged in vision 2020 are progressive.
As an educationist, I do not believe in the absolute failure of students. The fact that students cannot get good academic grades in standardized tests does not mean that they can neither learn nor be successful in life.
All students possess unique abilities and talents that should be identified and developed for personal and national gain.
TVET institutions will provide entry points for several youth who either drop out of school or fail to join tertiary institutions due to low grades.
Some of the country’s natural resources can be harnessed with the aid of skills developed in vocational training programmes.
Resources such as solar and wind power can be tapped by vocational trainees to supplement electric energy. Losses incurred by occasional power blackouts in different parts of the country can be history given the diversification of energy sources.
Graduates in different trades from vocational colleges will be self reliant, thereby solving the problem of unemployment. Small Scale Enterprises (SMEs) will mushroom through vocational skills inculcated among these youths.
Unemployment among the youth has been cited as one of the major causes of insecurity in many African countries. For example, in Kenya, the growth and mutation of the murderous Munkiki sect has been widely associated with unemployment among the youth. Idle youth who have no source of livelihood resort to criminal activities in order to put food on their tables.
SMEs spur domestic investment and stimulate economic growth. Foreign investors can sometimes withdraw investments and relocate to new destinations, which are more profitable, especially those that offer cheap labour costs.
The expansion of the informal sector through the enhanced capacity of TVET can highly boost economic development.
The country’s export base will rise while home based industries will proliferate. Revenue that will accrue from exports will be used to develop other sectors of the economy like agriculture and further open opportunities for employment.
Investment in TVET is investment in the country’s future global competitiveness.
The author is the Director of Studies at Nu Vision High School, Kabuga.