The Ministry of Education (MINEDUC), in partnership with both private and public institutions, including Rwanda’s development partners, are working on a strategic paper for the implementing of the Technical and Vocational Education Training (TVET) program.
At technical level, a technical team composed of local and international experts is now consulting key institutions, seeking their input into the TVET program before they can craft a comprehensive strategic paper.
TVET refers to a range of learning experiences relevant to the labour market, with the training targeted at the employment of a smart and decent workforce.
TVET was given weight in the African Union’s Plan of Action for 2006-2015 emphasizing the following; establishment of effective partnership with stake holders in the policy and curriculum design, undertake collective labour market research, support work place attachment, undertake gap analysis in the training and respond to skills requirements of emerging local and regional markets.
The overall objective of the TVET policy is to provide the economy with qualified and competitive workers and to train citizens able to participate in sustainable growth and poverty reduction by ensuring training opportunities to all social groups without discrimination.
Rwanda, a country that aims to enhance a private sector led economy by the year 2020, expects this sector, to play a central role in crafting a comprehensive TVET policy and later in its implementation.
And so, in order to create a demand-driven and outcome-based policy, TVET requires a strong partnership between its institutions and enterprises/private institutions/employers’ organizations, because building a competent workforce can only succeed if both sides collaborate.
Apparently, Rwanda has 31 technical schools at secondary level offering 3years courses after 9 years of basic Education. Of these, 8 are public schools and 4 are government aided—which the government funds 100%.
Through private sector initiatives 19 technical schools have so far been established and are fully operational.
The effectiveness of the programs, will largely depend on how efficient TVET institutions and Employers’ organisation; both public and private work together.
For that matter, the TVET technical team on Friday July 11 visited Private Sector Federation Rwanda, the umbrella body of all private businesses in the country.
This was preceded by similar visits to a number of both public institutions and development partner institutions.
Underscoring private sector challenges that TVET should address, the PSF Secretary General, Mr. Emmanuel Hategeka said, the training must be appropriate to private sector development.
He said the Rwandan businesses community is predominantly comprised of SMEs who do business as a last resort, and thus do not do business professionally which affects their competitiveness.
“TVET program should target Rwanda’s large informal sector. We should also aim at imparting appropriate skills and also offer affordable technologies to the business community,” he said, adding, “TVET should breed products who are job creators rather than job seekers”.
The SG said there’s almost no pool of competent local personnel in national critical sectors like ICT, Tourism and Construction, saying that private sector is now reduced to mainly hiring foreign expatriates who are costly.
To make matters worse, there’s apparently no convincing education system in place among all high education institutes that will perhaps breed competitive personnel in the near future.
“It is challenge to TVET to come up with suitable training programs that are in conformity with Rwanda’s socioeconomic development strategies like EDPRS,” he said.
He said TVET should be manned by private sector but just monitored by government, adding that PSF has created a framework. Called Business Development Services (BDS), which has centers going down to the grassroots in all districts. “Through Private Public Partnerships (PPP), TVET products can get integrated in the BDS centers,” he proposed.
He also said PSF has embarked on an internship program where graduates, fresh from schools get linked to private companies for a probation of six months to get abreast with real experiences of the labour market.
But, he warned that all such efforts will be a waste of time and money if Rwandese do not change their attitude towards work .